5.02.2015

UPDATE: Blasian Solidarity in the Aftermath of #Baltimore

As we welcome the beginning of Asian History Month to the Narrative, I want to take a moment to share an email from a reader:
Hi,

I'm seeking help to boost a positive message to the Baltimore Blasian community.

After a number of Korean American owned businesses were destroyed during two days of rioting, there are increased tensions between Korean and African Americans in Baltimore.

A few media outlets have even speculated that African American rioters deliberately targeted Korean American owned businesses.

To combat this negativity, my friend, Angela, a native of Baltimore, plans to distribute boxed Korean lunches to business owners along Pennsylvania Ave and North Ave. Yet she needs help determining how many businesses are still operating and calling Korean restaurants to place orders. Angela needs people who speak Korean to help her place orders and communicate with shop owners.

This is such a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, I don't speak Korean, so I'm not much help to my friend. But I can spread Angela's message and hopefully help her find more people who speak Korean.
First of all, I understand rioting; I understand why people would respond this way in the face of such appalling miscarriages of justice.  I also understand peaceful protesting, marching, chanting, boycotting.  I understand it all.

That being said, I am not here for the torching of businesses owned by our Asian siblings.  If you're going to have the balls to riot, do so with the explicit understanding you will bring no harm to our fellow civilians of color.  Their pain is our pain, their struggle is our struggle, their fight is our fight, and through these recent dark times, so many of them have shown unflinching solidarity with us.

When your burn down their livelihoods, in a socioeconomic system specifically rigged against all people of color on every level and at every turn, you're basically saying Asian Lives Don't Matter.  While so many of them are out here marching, protesting, chanting "Black Lives Matter" and demanding that Peter Liang pay for killing Akai Gurley, you're out there torching their financial means of survival.

I need you to pause and reflect upon the sheer soulless illogic of that scenario.

I don't care if your communities aren't currently in love with each other; that's not what this is about.  We often talk about the harm caused by the Model Minority Myth - this is but one of several manifestations.  If you think they've got it better than you do, I can assure you that you are deeply misguidedAsians in America are on the grind too; don't believe the hype.  That hype was specifically invented to maintain a divide amongst POC, so that we can be murdered and marginalized at whim, with impunity.  By all means, rage against the machine, but remember to keep in mind that throwing other POC under the bus merely feeds the machine and pushes its agenda forward - right on schedule.

For now, readers interested in helping Miss Angela above can contact the Narrative directly, and we'll patch you into Baltimore.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  If anyone wants to start an assistance fund, not only will we donate, but we will promote that cause as well.

Take care of one another, people.  Think forward.

***Update***
Good afternoon, the Narrative!

I'm pleased to report that my friend found enough volunteers and is now handing out Korean lunches from Nam Kang restaurant in Baltimore. Another friend volunteered to make Vietnamese food. Her simple idea has become an awesome pan Asian and African unifying event.

And so far, it is a success. According to Angela, business owners were surprised and pleased to receive encouragement (as well as delicious food) as they restored their businesses.

I sent Angela a link to the Narrative's latest post (again, a thousand thank yous for boosting her message). Although she no longer needs more volunteers, if enough people are interested, she may organize another community event.

Thank you for your help!

3 comments:

  1. Sorry the movie is called wet sand. Here is the link on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2dLI8vOAO0

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  2. Odd something happened to my other comment. I said I would donate a box if that is useful. I also said I had a connection to the director of the movie I linked to above. I connected with her a couple of years ago (loose connection) during an event the Korean American Community foundation held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the LA riots. The documentary talks about the pitting of the two communities against each other. It include the impact the riot had on Korean businesses. The event was all about decreasing the tension in the community. Maybe this would be useful.

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