Wealthy predominantly white city to issue fliers asking citizens to be less racist

Originally published at: Wealthy predominantly white city to issue fliers asking citizens to be less racist | Boing Boing


“Evidently, Mill Valleans call the police 20x about black people as they do white ones.”

Surely that isn’t statistically relevant? /s


The city’s website has a link to a .pdf of the flyer if you want to check it out.


Probably about as effective as Do Not Litter signs.


Thanks, and for others’ even greater ease, here it is:

There’s a second page/other side with alternative services to call.

Seems fairly innocuous to me, but i can easily imagine a lot of conservative outrage. Tucker the Wig will likely be sneering at it like, tomorrow.


There’s a chance it’ll do something. There was the city that ran a campaign that was basically “don’t rape”, and sexual assaults went down measurably.


Gee…I wonder if they might use some kind of a map with, I dunno…red lines on it or something.


Once upon a time (roughly 35 years ago) I was a lead programmer at a well known software company that was headquartered in Sausalito at the time. I lived in a fairly pricey apartment on a hillside overlooking Marin City, an unincorporated town which is home to the only sizable historic (dating to WWII) black community in Marin along with what was then Marin’s only large public housing project. I, too, happen to be black, which confused the local Marin County sheriffs quite a bit, until they followed me back and forth to work a couple of times, then left me alone. Some of my black friends (we knew each other from college where we all studied computer science) would come by to visit and we’d go out to dinner, typically to Sausalito, San Rafael, or Mill Valley. Eating in Mill Valley almost always involved at least one police stop. As far as I know, there were no black people living in Mill Valley back then. Apparently, not much has changed.


Let’s put this in language you can understand: racism is raising your property taxes. /s


Wow, how racist do you have to be for the cops ask you to dial it back a bit?


Ah, shit. A flyer! That’s sure to fix it. I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before.


A 4th consideration would be nice.

  1. Consider the Behavior: Do I see behavior that makes me think somebody is committing a crime or endangering someone?

  2. Consider your Assumptions: If a friend or neighbor were behaving in that way, would I think someone should call the police?

  3. Consider your Response: Are police the most appropriate service providers for the situation?

  4. Consider Fines that may be Levied: If it is determined that your call for police assistance was unwarranted, 1) you will be fined the cost of the time spent by the dispatcher and by all involved officers; 2) you will be fined the cost of gas used and wear and tear on all police vehicles involved when responding to your call; and 3) a detailed report of the unwarranted police call will be prepared (at your cost) by the Mill Valley Police Department and submitted to the target of your complaint for any legal action they may wish to take.


The entire population of Mill Valley is only about 14,000 people, so there very well may only be somewhere around 6000 homes in the whole city.

Edit to add: per the US Census there are about 5,622 households in the city. So 6000 flyers should cover it.


Unironically wish they’d do something like that here. I quit my “neighborhood prevention” Whatsapp group because when it wasn’t petty drama or irrelevant blabbing it was “suspicious person” “checking out parked cars”. Rashid is just headed out for work, Chantal, chill the hell out.


Grew up in San Anselmo (another white neighborhood in Marin), and my Dad worked in the Richmond Chevron refinery across the bay. I heard later that Marin County didn’t want BART to come in from either SF or the East Bay for fear of the “criminal elements” invading our nice, quiet (white) suburb. I also heard that the reasons for not doing the extensions were entirely cost-related.

But when I asked my 4th-grade teacher why there weren’t any black students in our class, her response was that “black people aren’t allowed in the neighborhood”.

Which, even when I was nine, kind of floored me. But she was probably right. I think the only black person I ever saw in that school was the janitor, and I had one Chinese classmate. Other than that, a large, starchy mass of white folk.


I worked for some years at a large computer center not far from Mill Valley CA. Non-Anglo cow-orkers did not live nearby but commuted in from further afield. I associate Mill Valley with overpricing, scrubbed neighborhoods, and steely-eyed cops.

  1. Consider your Response: Are police the most appropriate service providers for the situation?

  2. (because you didn’t get what we were just saying) Consider the Potentially Death-Inducing or Life-Altering Consequences of Your Response.

  3. Consider Fines that may be Levied:

I recall a scene from the 1980 comedy film Serial (which pokes fun at Marin) in which Sally Kellerman wants her black maid to pretend they are friends, and that she is not working as the maid, when she has her other white friends over.


Ca. 1995 I met a whistleblower at an OCAW thing whose actions (if memory serves) brought a regulatory agency smackdown on (if memory serves) that same refinery. Not that it fixed everything forever. But… Engineer. POC.


It may actually help. Just because there’s still litter doesn’t mean Do Not Litter signs don’t influence behaviour for the better. This study is regarding the wording on the signs, but both versions showed an 18-30% reduction in litter versus the control group of no signage.


That’s good to see. I choose the litter analogy because the litter in my neck of the woods has increased dramatically over the past 5 or ten years despite signage. Perhaps we need flyers too.