Online Petition San Diego Mayor Race

A Latino candidate for mayor depicted as a gang member?David Alvarez

Tell Kevin Faulconer to denounce the racist attack!

Dear {{ user.first_name|default:”Friend” }},

With only weeks left until San Diego votes on a new mayor, the contest just took a racist turn — a Republican political group mailed voters a picture of Latino candidate David Alvarez that made him resemble a menacing gang member.1

Cynical tactics like this have no place in electoral politics. But instead of denouncing the attack, Alvarez’s Republican opponent Kevin Faulconer laughed, flippantly dismissing it as just another political attack. But this is way worse than politics as usual. It’s dog-whistle racism — using common racial stereotypes to stir up fear of minorities without using explicitly racist terms.

By failing to denounce the racist attack, Faulconer also fails to denounce its underlying message: that no matter how educated, accomplished, or hardworking Latinos are, we will still be equated with gang members.

Tell Kevin Faulconer to immediately denounce the racist campaign advertisement.

Dog-whistle racism is wrong — but it can be a devastatingly effective tactic. In 1988 the infamous Willie Horton ad helped torpedo Michael Dukakis’s presidential bid. And in 2004 a television commercial suggesting that African American Rep. Harold Ford dated white women caused him to lose his race for US Senate.

Faulconer’s silence reinforces this awful tradition, sending a subtle message that it’s ok to use these tactics because they’re just politics. But it’s not just politics — when Latinos are dehumanized it has real effects on our lives, our families, and our communities.

The truth is that David Alvarez could never be confused for a gang member. In his career he has worked as a social services worker, an after school teacher, a community liaison, and a city council member. Whatever the substance of the attacks on him, depicting him as a gang member simply isn’t fair. Such an attack would never be made on a white candidate.

As the election nears its final days, we must push back on this dog-whistle racism. We must hold the line for decency and respect in politics — because Kevin Faulconer won’t do it on his own.

Join us in asking Kevin Faulconer to denounce the racist attacks on David Alvarez today.

Thanks and ¡adelante!
Arturo, Roberto, Jesús, Erick, Erica, Refugio and the rest of the Team

P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.


1. Mayoral campaign mail ad portrays candidate like gang member. 10News San Diego, Jan. 13, 2014.