I'm Ming and I'm from New York. Junior at Stuy high. Personal blog I guess. I'm not particularly good at anything but I love the sciences, arts, making people happy, and anime. Hopefully, I learn from mistakes.
New York City
July 12 [16 years old]
Ambiguously into guys and girls
… The constant media imagery of Asians as rapacious intruders, combined with frustration over the economy, had a violent impact on Asian Americans. In a two-week period in December 1989, at least nine Asian Americans were attacked on New York streets and subways. In Queens, a group of thirty to forty youths calling themselves the Master Race went on a hate rampage in a video arcade, sending five Asian American boys—two Korean Americans and three Chinese Americans—to the hospital. Across the Hudson River in New Jersey, the Dotbusters, whose name referred to the decorative bindi many Hindu women wear on their foreheads, waged a reign of terror against South Asians during the late 1980s. The Dotbusters violently assaulted several South Asian Americans, but in 1989 the youths who killed Navroze Mody, a thirty-year-old Citibank manager, were sentenced to probation. In a bizarre incident that took place on a crowded Brooklyn-bound N train, a man shoved an egg roll in the face of Chinese American Henry Lau, then stabbed him to death while shouting, “Hey, egg roll!” The New York and New Jersey police refused to prosecute any of these as hate crimes, on the grounds that no racial slurs were used. When the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, A New York group founded in 1986 by Monona Yin and Mini Liu, complained to the New York Police Department, the head of the bias crimes unit explained that hate speech or slurs had to be uttered before an attack; if slurs were made during an attack, the police didn’t consider it a bias incident. Asian Americans already had difficulties in overcoming notion that they don’t experience racism; the arbitrary time distinction only added to the victims’ burden.
The rash of violence against Asian Americans extended beyond New York. On January 17, 1989, in Stockton, California, a white man named Patrick Purdy donned military fatigues and a semiautomatic rifle, then drove to his old school, Cleveland Elementary, which had become 70 percent Asian American, mainly refugee children from Southeast Asia. Firing a hundred rounds of ammunition into the school yard where second and third graders were playing, he killed five children—one Vietnamese and four Cambodian; thirty others were injured. Purdy then killed himself. The police chief immediately rejected the possibility of a racial motive. That night, ABC’s Nightline covered the shootings, but Ted Koppel didn’t ask the obvious question: whether race might be a motive. After viewing the program, I called a colleague at ABC News and learned that the newsroom that night discussed the race factor, yet decided that Koppel shouldn’t ask the question, in case the answer was no. But complaints by Asian Americans forced an investigation into the racial aspect of the killings. A special state commission discovered that Purdy often expressed his resentment of Asians—and that anti-Asian racism was most likely the motive for the attack.
With the continued antipathy toward Japan, the list of Asian American hate crime victims grew. Later in 1989, Jim Hing Hai Loo, a Chinese American college student in Raleigh, North Carolina, was killed after Loo and some other Asian American students were harassed at a billiards club. Two white brothers, Lloyd and Robert Piche, said that they didn’t like “Orientals” and called the students “stupid gooks.” They claimed that their “brothers” “didn’t make it back from Vietnam”—when neither they nor any of their brothers had served in the war. The students tried to leave the club, but the Piche brothers went after them, killing Jim Loo. The criminal court found the Piches guilty; Robert was sentenced to thirty-seven years, but Lloyd received only six months, even though he had committed most of the racial harassment. This time, Asian American networks created during the Vincent Chin case succeeded in bringing a federal civil rights prosecution against Lloyd Piche. Finally, in 1991, a jury found him guilty of violating Loo’s civil rights—making Piche the first assailant to be convicted in federal court of racially motivated violence against an Asian American. In an Op-Ed piece for The New York Times entitled “Another American Racism,” I wrote, “Almost as distressing as the rise in such racism has been the failure to acknowledge the anti-Asian racial component of such attacks. Whether expressed by business leaders and politicians in their Japan-bashing, or more overtly, by hate groups, anti-Asian sentiment is rampant.”