Dirty Secret of Black-on-Asian Violence Is Out

C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 2010

San Francisco’s hidden truth is out. That’s what community organizer Carol Mo calls the realization that Asian residents are being targeted for robberies, burglaries and intimidation by young black men.

“It is San Francisco’s dirty little secret,” said Mo, a former Safety Network Community organizer in the Sunset District. “It’s not news to us.”

{snip} [The] San Francisco Police Department {snip} seems intent on downplaying the role of race and its impact in the community.

The recent incidents of black violence against Asians is the perfect opportunity to open a dialogue about racism. Instead, they are attempting to close the door.

City officials, including the Police Department, say these assaults are part of a larger crime picture where gangs of kids take advantage of a vulnerable group of small stature. But Mo participated in a 2008 survey by the Police Department in which about 300 strong-arm robberies were analyzed. “In 85 percent of the physical assault crimes, the victims were Asian and the perpetrators were African American,” she said.

{snip}

{snip} There’s a deep divide between the two communities. Edward Chang, who lectures on civil unrest and race relations at UC Riverside, has studied the contentious history of Korean-African American relations in Los Angeles when Korean store owners moved into black neighborhoods.

“There was this sense of being invaded by someone else,” Chang said. “There was a sense of needing to protect and defend their turf.”

{snip} Lee Mun Wah, a Berkeley-based documentary filmmaker and diversity trainer for large corporations, said there is resentment over how Asians are seen as “the favored minority.”

“We are pitted against each other,” Wah said. “African Americans sometimes say, ‘We did all the work in civil rights, and they get all the benefits.’ ”

{snip}

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