Sep 16, 2022 - Politics

Let's call San Francisco "Frisco"

Illustration of the Port of San Francisco neon sign with only the letters spelling Frisco lit up.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The "Can we call it Frisco?" debate has resumed, courtesy of SFGate.

What they're saying: "Frisco comes from Black San Francisco," Gunna Goes Global, a local rapper and actor, said.

  • "To say 'Frisco' is to stand in solidarity with Black, Latino, Samoans [and] Filipinos who are still here," Krea Gomez-Jones told SFGate. "That is why to ignore this as part of our lexicon is erasure. It's another way to make us invisible."

Be smart: Word on the street is Joshua Norton, a self-proclaimed emperor of San Francisco, tried to ban the use of "Frisco" in 1872.

  • There's even a book titled "Don't Call It Frisco," by former SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen.
  • As SFGate's Alan Chazaro writes, the conversation on "Frisco" generally reflects the opinions of the city's white, affluent residents.

Megan's thought bubble: I've rarely called San Francisco "Frisco," but I love its roots in Black culture. And I'm all for reclaiming the word, especially as Frisco's Black population is the only racial group to consistently decline in every census count since 1970.

  • But I will draw the line at "San Fran." Those are fighting words.
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