THE NEW CONTRIVED BEEF BETWEEN BLACKS & ASIANS
by D.T. DAKOTA
In recent news, we have seen attacks against Asians on the rise.Almost overnight it seems, videos of Asians getting beat up and abused have surged online. Most notably, a hate crime on March 16th, where a 21-year-old man Robert Aaron Long entered Asian spas and killed several Asian women, among others. A motivation self-admittedly rooted in racial/sexual fetishization. For some odd reason, this act has not seemed to get as much coverage as the misdemeanors and physical fights where the perpetrators are Black. While all these acts are clearly egregious and condemnable it is imperative to remember that the news (all of media for that matter) only highlights what is most controversial and highest in shock value. ALL news has an angle, whether it be liberal, conservative, or otherwise. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but knowledge of this power to influence the masses paired with bad intentions can be.
So, ask yourself, “Why are they showing me this?” Is it to merely inform me of what is happening in the world? Or to influence me to take on certain poisonous beliefs? Often, it is the latter. This narrative about Asian people being hated and at the bottom of society is so contrived and could not be further from the truth.The overall highest-earning racial group who have earned a reputation as the “model-minority” in American society are oftentimes a source of inspiration and admiration for many.
Obviously, there are outliers and deviations but speaking from personal experience, Blacks and Asian-Americansspecifically have had a strong rapport (albeit transactional) built from a shared experience as racial minorities in the same country. We indulge in one another’s culture with Hip-Hop and our respective cuisines. While we sometimes hear stories about Black women having bad experiences at Asian beauty shops and nail salons or young Black males being followed around in the neighborhood Korean corner store, we must remember that these are deviations from the norm. For the most part, we tend to get along well especially when we are of the same socioeconomic status or have things in common like attending the same school, being neighbors etc.
It is important that this generalization of racism on both ends (merely what it is) does not become overamplified and overrepresented. When this happens, it dangerously manifests itself in the most vicious of self-fulfilling prophecies. In 90’s Black cult classic movies like Menace II Society and the satirical Don’t Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood the race relations between inner-city Blacks and Koreans are lambasted effortlessly. Whether it is being followed around in the store or being eyed suspiciously by the store clerks, the onscreen tension is palpable and all-too familiar. Especially in the latter film where the store clerks stop at nothing to prevent the main character Ashtray and his cousin Loc-Dog from stealing their products. The female store clerk even crawls into an ice cream freezer and commands them to “hurry up and buy!” This back-and-forth ultimately ended in bloodshed where the store clerks were killed.
While this scenario is pulled and caricatured from real-life experiences specifically in Los Angeles where the movie is set(a place at the time which had rampant racial tensions stemming from the Rodney King riots and killing of Latasha Harlins); we must remember not to let these unfound suspicions and stereotyping to become the rule instead of the exception to the rule. These same suspicions and stereotyping which precipitates bigotry, violence, and hatred. Of course, there is sometimes a certain suspicion or curiosity which lends itself to these behaviors due to limited exposure or bad past experiences, buthow will this end in our society unless someone steps up to rise above hate?
Ironically enough, in these COVID-19 times, this very same suspicion and stereotyping has boomeranged onto Asian-Americans. Especially during the height of the Pandemic back in March 2020. Perhaps the most perplexing of this entire debacle is that a White man in Atlanta, GA killing several innocent Korean women sparked this media frenzy, but the narrative remains that there is some widespread beef among Black people and Asians. I can only pull from personal experience and my daily interactions. In my opinion, Asian-Americans are the epitome of “chasing a moneybag” and minding their own business.
Anti-Asian hate crimes have skyrocketed up to 150% during the Pandemic, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. I passionately believe that the mainstream media exploits these preexisting tensions and creates divisions where none existed prior. Divide and conquer right? It is easier to control a society and puppeteer their emotions and beliefs when they are too busy and distracted fighting with one another.
On social media, I have seen many different takes about the recent rise in Asian hate crimes. Some people want Black people to speak up more in defense of Asians, some Black people want that onus to be divided evenly and shared with Whites, and some who believe that no one speaks up when Black people are treated different solely based upon their race. The greatest takeaway is that we must all inhabit this society we are creatingof perpetual racial tension and should consider whether weactually want to inhabit it or stop while we’re ahead.