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Asian American welcomed to neighborhood with confederate flag

Photo by Jonathan Lee

By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

Jonathan Lee moved into his quiet cul-de-sac in Clayton, east of San Francisco, a week before Thanksgiving. Then a week later, he saw a confederate flag flying outside his next door neighbor’s home.

“That kind of struck me. And I, you know, I had like, a physical reaction to it,” Lee, an Asian American Studies professor at San Francisco State University, said to AsAmNews.

Lee decided to respond by putting up a BLM sign on his front lawn along with other signs such as “White supremacism is terrorism” and “no human being is illegal.”

Relations have been tense since. Lee say he and his now eight-year old son went over to the neighbors to offer them a box of chocolates and to introduce themselves shortly after moving in. He says his neighbor accepted the gesture, but has not reciprocated or even said hi to him since.

The tension boiled to the surface in January when Lee said his neighbor threatened to report him and his husband, Mark Quady, to the police for having too many lawn signs.

“‘How come you can fly a racist flag, but you’re not okay with my anti racism sign,”‘ Lee recalls asking.

By Jonathan Lee

He accused his neighbor of threatening to call “the good old boys on me.”

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office confirms it is reviewing a complaint filed by Lee against his neighbor, Max King.

Neither the Clayton Police Department or the DA’s office would reveal any details of the complaint. AsAmNews attempted to reach King by leaving messages with his wife several times, but were unsuccessful.

Both police and the DA’s office confirm Lee also filed a complaint against David McCracken, who Lee identifies as King’s son-in-law. The complaint is currently under review by the DA’s office.

Lee released a video of McCracken which he says shows McCracken giving him the Nazi symbol and saying “White power.” The incident occurs at the 1 minute mark. The audio is faint and difficult to hear.

Aaron and Rachel Levy, two neighbors were parked in Lee’s driveway during this incident. They collaborated Lee’s story.

“When he (son-in-law) walked up the steps, he put his arm up in a fist and put his arm forward like in a Nazi salute and he said “White power.” I looked at my wife, did he seriously say White power? That was it. It kind of blew me away,” said Aaron to AsAmNews.

“We were there together. We both heard it,” said Rachel.

Earlier this week at a Clayton City Council meeting, Lee’s 8-year-old son testified before the Council.

“Hello, my name is Owen. I am new here. I am 8-years-old. I love dogs. I have two dads. I am adopted. I don’t like racism. I hope you can work together to make our city hate free. Thank you”

This Saturday, Lee is organizing a Stop the Hate rally at noon at Grove Park in Clayton, 6100 Main Street.

Lee identifies as Chinese, Cambodian and Vietnamese American. Owen is Latino. Lee’s husband, Quady, is White.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. This pandemic shows you racism against Asians pops up even in the San Francisco Area, a place where I thought tolerance for everything was the norm. We have racism here in Hawaii too, though maybe not as pronounced. I am Chinese, grew up in North Beach in the 1960s and took Asian Studies classes at S.F. State University. I want to extend my sympathy to Dr. Lee.

  2. I recently started feeling getting different treatment from one particular neighbor who I thought was friendly towards me and my 4 year old daughter. They have 3 children who used to play and said hi to us but last week when my daughter rode over with her bike and sat down on their drive way, the 8 year old neighbor boy asked us to leave their drive way and claiming that we are rude for sitting there without their permission while their dad just sat behind us smoking. I didn’t know what to make of it. Is it racist by a 8 year old? What do I do and what do I tell my daughter? All of this just makes me extremely sad as I love my neighborhood and we have so many great neighbors

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