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Old 07-21-2013, 10:03 PM
3 posts, read 10,876 times
Reputation: 18


We're planning to move to San Francisco or the Bay area from HK early next year, and i'm bit nervous about some of the comments I've read about race relations in San Francisco. I'm black married to a Chinese, and we have a lovely 2-year old boy. We're thinking of buying a house in the expensive part of the city ( Sea Cliff, Russian Hill), and hopefully send our boy to schools around that area. I work in Finance, and my wife in the tech industry.

As a black person, and despite all the stigma of being black in China ( Shanghai, Beijing and HK) I've had such a great time linving in these places. China is unbelievably homogeneous, but you will be amazed of how many interracial couples you will find in the big cities of Shanghai and Beijing, and with more and more foreigners pouring in China, this trend will only go up.

I feel very safe and comfortbale walking the streets in both HK and Shanghai, and I enjoy taking my son out for a walk without any worries of people being unpleasant to me or being overtly racist. I have always received great service in bars, shops, restaurants etc... I have yet to be in a situation where I've been refused any kind service, or served with disdain. Everybody's experience is different of course,but again I'm thick skinned and tend to not be too sensitive about race.

As a father though I have to worry for my son and wife while making the move, and please give it to me straight.

As a mixed couple in San Francisco ( or even bay area), will we be able to have a decent life without having to deal with constant unpleasantness, discrimation, bad service, angry neighbors etc...?

I don't mind dirty looks at all, but I don't know how I will deal with

Being called names while walking my son
Being refused a service ( or given an obviously bad service)
Being constantly stopped by cops

I hope I'm not being too paranoid about San Francisco, but please know that the amount of bad rap I've read about this city when it comes to race relations is stagerring.

Your honest input, or sharing of your personal experience will be highly appreciated.

Last edited by Jaimepairson; 07-21-2013 at 11:03 PM.. Reason: Edited for typo.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:28 PM
Location: State of Transition
102,188 posts, read 107,790,902 times
Reputation: 116087
Really? Bad rap re: SF & race relations? I thought it had the rep of being very cosmopolitan in that regard. But I'll let others answer that part of the question. Another option for you might be various parts of Oakland: Rockridge, Claremont, Oakland Hills. What are you planning to do for schooling for your son? Public? Private?

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 07-21-2013 at 10:37 PM..
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:55 PM
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 13,074,702 times
Reputation: 2958
mod cut

Frankly SF doesn't have a wealthy black upper class. Oakland generally does, mainly in the hills. If you really can afford to live in a wealthy neighborhood in SF, it's up to you to make the most of it. I.e., it depends on what you're like as a neighbor. I don't think anyone would really care about your race there.

Last edited by Sam I Am; 07-22-2013 at 02:06 AM..
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:10 AM
1,374 posts, read 2,433,951 times
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I can assure you that SF is definitely a better place than Hong Kong for Black-Chinese couples.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:19 AM
Location: State of Transition
102,188 posts, read 107,790,902 times
Reputation: 116087
OP, are you the guy who posted a couple of months ago, asking about Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo?
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:43 AM
3 posts, read 10,876 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks all for the replies.

@Ruth4Truth, this is my first time posting here.

Actually I just googled race relations in SF and city-data came up.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:57 AM
Location: Oakland, CA
702 posts, read 953,548 times
Reputation: 1498
Originally Posted by Jaimepairson View Post
please give it to me straight.
To directly answer a couple of your questions: You will never be called names, or refused service. If someone gives you obviously bad service, there's a 99.9% chance that it's not because you're black, it's because you were a jerk (and you don't seem like a jerk at all).

If you speak and dress like an educated person, you'll have absolutely nothing to worry about - you'll be welcomed with open arms. You might even notice some really silly SFness - by that I mean people going out of their way to be your friend because you're an anomaly.

You asked us to give it to you straight though, and the unfortunate truth is that the majority of the black community in SF is in the underclass, and commits a disproportionate percentage of the violent crime. You'll always be received well when you're dressed like a professional, but when you walk down to the corner store in a t-shirt and pajama-bottoms one night you'll be perceived as a member of that underclass by most whites and asians. Don't let unsettled looks from strangers stop you from coming here though, this city could use a lot more educated blacks.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:01 AM
3 posts, read 10,876 times
Reputation: 18
Hi Ketch, thanks for the reply, this is kind of what I was hoping to find while doing a google search about race relations in SF, instead I got inundated by all these negative posts on what clearly seems like a fringe or circumstantial problem, and this contributed to my general skepticism.
I'm glad I've found city-data, reading about people's experiences and opinions about life in SF and the bay area has been really useful.

The moral of the story is, don't google anything related to race ( unless morbid, and depressing comments are what you're looking for).
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:24 AM
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,855,940 times
Reputation: 28563
Interracial couples are pretty common in the Bay Area, but finding upper income black professionals in SF (the city) is pretty hard. I feel pretty "alone" going out in SF. There just aren't many black professionals. Or black people in general. Not that you get stares, but it isn't comfortable all the time in certain areas, I do absolutely feel judged in some areas.

Your son will likely be the only black face in his school (or one of 3). Personally, as I got older, it felt more isolating being one of few.

Oakland has way more diversity in terms of black income levels. And even more mixed kids. Not that mixed kids are the majority, but it is ridiculously common, especially in the higher income areas, in the east bay. Berkeley and Oakland are like interracial couple central. Albany not so much, more like Asian and white couples vs any black/someone else combo.

My building in Oakland has around 25 units, and there are about 4 mixed black/XXX couples (one is black and asian). And a few more mixed couples.

You might like that better if it is something you want. You'll also find that most upper income parents go private in Berkeley and Oakland. Head Royce is super popular. (I have also heard at Head Royce, most of the black kids are biracial, but I don't have kids. The parents I have met with kids there are in interracial couples, but it is likely just random that it worked that way).

Personally, I choose not to live in SF. I like living in Oakland way better. It is more diverse, and what I would call true diversity, where people are friends/going to the same places/hanging out together at the same table. Other places the crowd may be diverse, but the groups aren't mixed. Berkeley is OK too, it does have the similar feel in terms of diversity. But is inconvenient (ahem, congested streets) in other ways.

Last edited by jade408; 07-22-2013 at 10:13 AM..
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:10 AM
3,098 posts, read 3,783,180 times
Reputation: 2580
oakland has a ridiculous amount of interacial ,same sex or both families.
the grand lake farmers market is draw dropping in diverity and tolerance.
the oakland hills is a good commute for people in the finance fields but not for penninsula tech jobs.
san francisco is accepting of diversity but is not easy for families unless you are wealthy.
you comment about sending your kid to school in the sea cliff area indicates you do not understand the san francisco public school system and i suggest you learn about the lotto system and what it means.
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