Anti-Asian Assaulters Turned in by Parents

Two of the attackers, caught on a security feed

I posted late last week about a spree of anti-Asian hate crimes in Brooklyn: at least five elderly Asian women have been assaulted in the borough in the last ten days. It turns out that the perpetrators were children, with one of the girls only 12 years old; according to the victims, the girls assaulted the women while two boys of similar age acted as lookouts. After the news about the assaults broke, the parents of three of the children turned them in.

The inescapable fact is that the perpetrators are African-American, and appeared to be targeting Asian women. While it’s not clear what motivated these attacks, I can’t help but think of Spike Lee’s landmark film, Do The Right Thing, which examines the racial strife of a mixed-race neighbourhood in Brooklyn.

I don’t want to project too much onto these kids (not at least until we know more), but I can’t help but see the whole incident as a tragic example of how America is still far, far, far away from being post-racial.

While the original article doesn’t mention the race of the perpetrators, it does include this telling reaction from a (presumably Asian) resident of the neighbourhood:

“I’m horrified, scared,” neighbor Tiffany Tan said. “As long as you don’t go near them, it’s okay.”

What does Ms. Tan mean? Don’t go near the particular kids who attacked the Asian women? The neighbourhood where the attacks took place? Or, all Black people?

The last thing we need is for Asian people to take away from this horrific series of crimes that they need to avoid Black people, because Black people are somehow too scary and violent to interact with. Attitudes like that are only going to exacerbate the tension, miscommunication, and outright hostility that already exists between the Black and Asian communities.

Adam Carolla Apologizes for Being a Racist Asshat

A racist asshat.

“[Manny Pacquiao]’s from the Philippines and because he’s prayin’ to chicken bones and stuff like that, everyone’s kinda like, ‘Well you gotta respect him for his belief system.’ No you don’t. He’s a f****n’ idiot. … [The Phillipines] got this and sex tours, that’s all they have over there. Get your s**t together Philippines. Jesus Christ. I mean, again, it’s fine to be proud of your countrymen. But that’s it? That’s all you got?”

This is what Adam Carolla thinks of Filipinos.

In a breathtaking display of sheer ass-hattery, Carolla called boxer Manny Pacquiao a “fuckin’ idiot” and described the Phillipines as little more than a collection of prostitutes and witch doctors in a recent podcast. In roughly five minutes, Carolla managed to insult an entire country and culture as backwards and barbaric, while completely dismissing the plight of Asian sex slaves who are forced into prostitution by a national economy rampaged by poverty and unemployment.

Meanwhile, Carolla’s podcast was broadcast on CBS, and has made barely a splash in local mainstream media. Whereas Michael Richards was rebuked for days for his racist rant against African Americans, whereas John Mayer was reduced to tears following a blistering storm of criticism over his racist and insensitive remarks he made in Playboy, and whereas Don Imus was publically fired by CBS Radio for his use of a racial slur on his talk radio show, coverage of Adam Carolla’s racist, anti-Filipino rant on his podcast has been minimal at best.

The only folks who seem to have batted an eye over Carolla’s racism are the Asian American community, where calls for an apology have been widespread … and virtually ignored by the mainstream.

Still, it seems that the Asian American community’s outrage is worth something: a mispelled, grammatically-incorrect, generally incoherent, and totally insincere apolo-Tweet. Writes Adam Carolla on his Twitter account:

Read your comments.Sorry if I offended many of u.I don’t preplan my commentary. I try to be provoctive,funny but I crossed the line&im sorry

Sorry if he offended someone for calling the world’s pound-for-pound top boxer an “illiterate” “fuckin’ idiot” who “prays to chicken bones”?

Yeah, you gotta do better than that.

Anti-Asian Hate Crime Spree in Brooklyn

Racial Hate Crimes by Type of Offense in 2008. Statistics originally published by the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics.

Caught this on my Facebook this morning:

Asian women targeted in Lower Manhattan

All of the victims were attacked in lower Manhattan in and around the Baruch Houses. Surveillance video shows five teens entering the scene of one attack that happened on March 31 at the Gompers Houses at 90 Pitt Street. Two of the teens are female; three are male.

In the most recent incident, a 68-year-old woman was assaulted on Tuesday in front of 247 East Broadway at about 11 p.m.

Police say all of the victims have been Asian and between 50-71 years old.

Read more

At first, I thought this was a copycat of the sick rapist in California who was targeting Asian females for sexual assault and rape last year — but, no, this is a completely different kind of fucked up: teenagers beating up elderly Asian mothers and grandmothers. How twisted do you have to be to think that this is a fun Friday evening activity for you and your tween posse?

The tragic fact about hate crimes is that the statistics are probably a woeful under-estimate of the actual number of hate crimes that occur on a day-to-day basis in this country. Victims are often reluctant to report minor crimes, and law enforcement officials also may fail to recognize a violent crime as a hate crime.

Further, Asian Americans may be reluctant to report a hate crime, for a variety of reasons. The Japanese American Citizens League lists these possible reasons for hate crime underreporting in the APIA community in their (phenomenal) guide to hate crimes in the Asian American community, When Hate Hits Home.

Even though many police departments are set up to investigate hate crimes, incidents of hate crime reporting involving Asian Pacific American victims is seriously underreported to the police. Reasons for this include:

  • Immigrant victims may face language and cultural barriers to filing police reports.
  • Immigrant victims are often unfamiliar with American law and fearful of law enforcement.
  • Some victims are afraid that by reporting hate-related attacks, it will draw attention to them and make them vulnerable to further attacks.
  • Some victims believe that their complaints will not be taken seriously by the police, or worse, that the police will persecute them for reporting incidents

While understandable, this response to a hate crime actually disadvantages both the individual victims of a hate crime and the community in general. Silence in the wake of a hate crime can make it appear as if our community isn’t being victimized by hate crime perpetrators — diverting important preventative resources from our community — and it can actually embolden offenders to act again and more violently.

The FBI’s 2008 hate crime statistics show that 3% of race-based hate crimes were enacted against Asian American Pacific Islanders, but I wonder how closely this reflects what’s really happening to our community on the streets?

DDK on Hawaii Five-O

Daniel Dae Kim, of Lost, is the first member of the cast to find work after the show’s much-touted May series finale. (And you’re crazy if you’re not watching this show. Last week was mind-blowingly-oh-my-god-they-did-not-just-do-that awesome.) DDK’s going to play Detective Chin Ho Kelly on CBS’ remake of Hawaii Five-O.

And, hey, maybe he’ll even get to speak English, and not pidgin, in this new show!

More on Anti-Asian Bias

The idea of anti-Asian bias in college admissions is gaining further traction in mainstream media. This article in the Boston Globe perpetuates the rather simplistic idea that equates higher mean SAT scores for Asian applicants with an “Asian Ceiling” that discriminates against Asian American students.

The article draws on Espenshade’s study, which I reviewed last year, and which can lead to an oversimplification (dare I say “white-washing) of the situation. At least my friend Oiyan Poon gets it right:

“When you look at the private Ivy Leagues, some of them are looking at Asian-American applicants with a different eye than they are white applicants,’’ says Oiyan Poon, the 2007 president of the University of California Students Association. “I do strongly believe in diversity, but I don’t agree with increasing white numbers over historically oppressed populations like Asian-Americans, a group that has been denied civil rights and property rights.’’ But Poon, now a research associate at the University of Massachusetts Boston, warns that there are downsides to having huge numbers of Asian-Americans on a campus.

In California, where passage of a 1996 referendum banned government institutions from discriminating on the basis of race, Asians make up about 40 percent of public university students, though they account for only 13 percent of residents. “Some Asian-American students feel that they lost something by going to school at a place where almost half of their classmates look like themselves – a campus like UCLA. The students said they didn’t feel as well prepared in intercultural skills for the real world.’’

Oh yeah, and is anyone else creeped out that there was a seminar at a national college admissions conference that was titled, in all earnestness, “Too Asian?”