Dear Babe,

I moved to San Francisco expecting to meet a bunch of open minded, tolerant people but instead I’ve found an incredible amount of bigotry, people who are unable to respect, understand, or even entertain opinions that are different from their own. Oh sure, these people think they are open minded but they’re just bigots who recycle.

I had really high hope for the hippies but they are some of the most judgmental, intolerant people I’ve ever met. What’s going on?

Sincerely sad,
Bombarded by Bigots

Dear BbB,

I think it’s that certain people believe so strongly in themselves as exceptionally good (better than others), that they get lazy and never bother to question their actions. Like religious people who think their goodness is so untouchable that anything they do is good, take Billy Graham and Jim Baker for example.

And as far as hippies go, I’ve met a lot of open minded people here in the Bay Area but none of them go around wearing the hippie regalia, tie die, filthy hair, etc… In fact I’ve found that the hippie “look” is often used as the lazy way to get others to regard the wearer as open minded, tolerant etc., without he/she ever putting the effort into actually behaving in any of those ways. It makes me think of butt implants – the person gets the effect without the work and usually with terribly ugly results.


Nagging questions holding you back? Babe Scanlon’s got your answer. A SF native, she’s been figuring this place out far longer than she cares to admit, and now she’s ready to share. Email her at and let the veil of confusion lift. Please do keep in mind: Babe Scanlon is not presenting herself as an expert in anything that means you can sue her or the Appeal if you take her advice and your life tanks. Her recommendations are just that: recommendations.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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  • mission_reds

    You can thank the dotcom transplants for this. When you have an entire group of people whose ONLY reason to move to a place is to make money, you are not going to find a group of nice people. Greedy self-centered people are usually not tolerant of ANY other person. As a native who was born and raised in NOE VALLEY, I would like to say that most of the people I have either grown up with or have known for a long time do not have an intolerant bone in their body. Perhaps, you are looking in the wrong places for new pals. It sickens me so see what happened to my neighborhood. People moved here because it is close to the freeway!!! My mom has lived in the same house for 50 years and her new (high tech millionaires) neighbors think they are too good to even say hello. Look for people that are either natives or who moved here for the RIGHT reasons (political and artistic freedom) and I bet your impression would change. Yes, I feel your pain. Signed, a San Francisco native.

    • dawdler

      NIMBYism is just another form of intolerance.

  • biggeek

    Sorry, but being a “native,” a status that you seem so eager to wag in people’s faces, does not make one magically bigotry free.

    Actually, from your response to this article, you seem pretty prejudiced yourself.

  • mission_reds

    I said “native” as an example of how things have changed here in the past 10 or 15 years and as an explanation of or likely reasons the people they are meeting are what they call “bigots.” If I am prejudiced against mean, selfish and rude people so be it.

  • J. Beaman

    Hey, can you do a little research before you go throwing the names of folks around disparagingly. Let me tell you, Evangelical Christians make me crazy. The fucking hypocrites want to take away everything I love (sex, drugs and whatnot) but Billy Graham is not one of those guy. He is a genuine leader, thoughtful and tolerant. Maybe out here in SF you weren’t really paying attention to the rest of the world but here’s some bits from his wikipedia page:

    “Graham opposed segregation during the 1960s and refused to speak to segregated auditoriums, once dramatically tearing down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience.[7][15] Graham said, “There is no scriptural basis for segregation…. The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross.” Graham paid bail money to secure the release of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from jail during the 1960s civil rights movement; he invited King to join him in the pulpit at his 16-week revival in New York City in 1957″

    “He did not completely ally himself with the religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party.”

    “He refused to join Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority in 1979, saying: “I’m for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future.””

    So, I’m not exactly sure what you’re referring to…besides your own ignorance.

  • bloomsm

    SF is like every other place. People here are under the impression that we are “special”, somehow untouched by hate, prejudice and bigotry. Of course we are. To quote Wilde: “We are all in the gutter; some of us are looking at the stars.”

  • Eve Batey

    I can’t speak for Babe, but neither the Rev. Graham nor the organization that shares his name has demonstrated anything but bigotry when it comes to same sex marriage.

    When you or the organization that shares your name seeks to change the Constitution to deny someone the ability to marry, well, that’s not what I’d call tolerance.

  • Greg Dewar

    People who are insecure about their place in the world, and who believe strongly in any ideology will always attempt to impose it with a ferocity unlike anything else, just to make themselves feel better.

    A rabid lefty or hippie is no different than a rabid ultra right person, or an extreme Muslim, or an extreme anything. They become everything they were originally against, and obsess with the lives of others to the point where they’ve eclipsed what they once stood for, and now only know what they stand against, and have to make everyone else miserable around them so they feel as crappy as the original (hippie/rightwinger/taliban/whateverthefrak) did.

    Complaining about hippie intolerance is old news. I lived in Santa Cruz in the late 80s/early 90s and lemme tell you, SF by comparison is way more mellow. If you’ve never had someone literally scream at you for picking up a hot dog at the dining hall and telling you you’re going to date-rape Mother Earth if you do so, well you haven’t experienced true craziness.

    Oddly enough I was once screamed at on the street that I was giving God the finger and worse, because I had a copy of “Milk” in my hand as I walked down the street. Hmmph.

  • spamspamspam

    You know I am just going to admit it. I am a bigot. For example those people that pick food out of there teeth when talking to you. In my book there is nothing they can say that makes me think well of them.