Last week, a man was shot and killed because of the colour of his skin.
It was a warm Wednesday evening in Olathe, Kansas. Rather than to work late into the night as was his custom, 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla decided to leave work early and have a drink with his friend and co-worker, 32-year-old Alok Madasani, at their local watering hole, Austin’s Bar & Grill. The two men were both nationals of India who had immigrated to America more than a decade ago to pursue graduate degrees in electrical engineering, and who had stayed in the United States to work as highly-skilled engineers. Madasani and Kuchibhotla had become friends in 2008 when both were employees of Rockwell Collins, an American-owned company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For six months, Kuchibhotla even gave Madasani a ride to-and-from work every day until Madasani could afford to buy a car; he never complained, remembers Madasani. The two remained close friends when both were hired within months of each other to work at Garmin International in Kansas.
Kuchibhotla and Madasani were known as “the Jameson guys” by the employees of Austin’s, where the two would frequently unwind after a day’s work over some whiskey. But, last Wednesday was unseasonably warm, and the two men decided to have a couple of beers, instead. And so, on the evening of February 22, 2017, Kuchibhotla and Madasani found themselves seated on the patio, sipping Miller Lite beers while surrounded by college basketball fans had gathered to cheer on the University of Kansas Jayhawks.
There aren’t many more ostentatiously all-American scenarios than this.
And yet, none of this was enough to protect the two men from racism, xenophobia, nativism and cold-blooded hate. To the man who would destroy this peaceful scene with the pull of his shotgun trigger, Kuchibhotla and Madasani’s Brown-ness had marked the two men as interlopers and Others. To 51-year-old Adam Purinton, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani’s Brown-ness meant that they did not belong — in Austin’s, in Kansas, or in America — and, for that, Purinton decided they should die.
Silicon Valley‘s stars Thomas Middleditch and Kumail Nanjiani tweeted over the weekend that they were targets of harassment Friday night by two Trump supporters who decided to use the occasion of Donald Trump’s presidential election to threaten the actors with sexist insults.
Last week, actor Mark Wahlberg said in an interview at the Toronto Film Festival that he “regrets” filing a request in late 2014 to be pardoned for an assault conviction after he beat an elderly Vietnamese American man in 1988. I first reported about Wahlberg’s request in 2014, and that post quickly became one of the most shared posts in the blog’s history (crashing my server and necessitating a host migration; thanks Marky Mark!).
In that post, I described the details of the assault involving a teenaged Mark Wahlberg:
Initially charged with attempted murder, Wahlberg later plead guilty to assault and served forty-five days in jail stemming from the 1988 assault.
Gothamist reports today that the NYPD are seeking the public’s help in identifying two suspects in an alleged anti-Asian hate crime that occurred last month on the New York City subway.
According to police, a 29 year old Asian American woman was riding the 1 subway with her parents when she reported that two women boarded the car she was in at the 86th street station. The women, who were reportedly wearing multicoloured leis, approached the victim and began beating her while shouting anti-Asian slurs.
The suspect in a triple homicide that claimed the lives of three people of colour was found mentally incompetent to stand trial today, and was transferred to a mental health facility pending treatment.
Last month, Dan Popp was arrested after he allegedly shot to death his neighbour Jesus Manso-Perez and wounding Manso-Perez’s son, before allegedly breaking into the home of Phia and Mai Vue — both Hmong American — and killing them in front of their horrified children and babysitter. Popp reportedly remarked on Manso-Perez’s ethnicity — he was Puerto Rican — saying that “you guys got to go” before Popp embarked on the unprovoked shooting spree.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!