There has been a spike in random violent attacks against Asian people, and it’s a problem. It’s a problem because people are being harmed. It’s a problem because the fantasy propagated by social justice precludes even the LA Times from telling a factual story.
Last March, 34-year-old Bawi Cung was grocery shopping at a Sam’s Club in Midland, Texas, when a man grabbed a knife from a nearby rack.
Cung was slashed on his face, his 3-year-old was stabbed in the back, and his 6-year-old was stabbed in the face.
A Sam’s Club employee intervened, tackling the suspect, 19-year-old Jose Gomez, who was indicted on hate crime and attempted murder charges and is awaiting trial.
“Gomez admitted, he confessed to trying to kill the family,” said Midland Dist. Atty. Laura Nodolf. “He thought that they brought the virus here and were trying to spread it” and that “all Asians must be from China.”
“Most people think hate crime, white sheets, white hats, going after someone who is of African descent,” she said. “This is a whole new dynamic.
It’s not really new, and it’s hardly a new dynamic. Indeed, conflating all Asians, as if they all look alike to non-Asians and don’t necessarily have a shared ethnicity or culture, remains the norm. But the LA Times blames it on Trump’s demonization of the “China virus” and those people too stupid and malevolent to grasp that every person with Asian eyes isn’t a Chinese communist party disease carrying spy. Even if the slasher has an Hispanic surname, Gomez, it’s acceptable to blame him because of Trump, and, of course, brown people aren’t black people. There is only one mention of black people in the LA Times story:
“Growing up, my mom told me this could happen,” Cobb said. “But I think my white privilege has prevented me from experiencing a lot.”
In an era of growing activism against racism, she said that concern shouldn’t be limited to Black and Latino communities.
So why haven’t there been any marches, and buildings burned to the ground over Asian people? Well, it happened once, but not the way social justice wants the story to be told.
It took the form of Latasha Harlins, the 15-year-old girl who, a year before the Rodney King verdict, was shot in the back of the head by a Korean store owner in an argument over a bottle of orange juice; the more than 2,000 Korean stores that were looted or burned to the ground during the riots that followed the verdict; the Korean men who carried rifles onto the roofs of their businesses in Koreatown and shot at looters who came near.
There was racial strife, but in 1992, it wasn’t the fantasy narrative that’s told today. And it’s still not.
There have also been condemnations of Donald Trump and how his repeated use of the phrase “China virus” to describe the coronavirus and his invocation of white supremacy might be responsible. But how does that explain the attacks by Black people? Were they also acting as Mr. Trump’s white supremacist henchmen? Do we really believe that there is some coordinated plan by Black people to brutalize Asian-Americans?
This is the part of the story that the LA Times, a once-serious newspaper, couldn’t bring itself to admit, to say out loud. Black people are attacking Asian people too.
There are plenty of words to describe discrimination at the hands of white people: white supremacy, microaggressions, the bamboo ceiling, Orientalism. What doesn’t exist now, or for that matter, didn’t exist in 1992, is a language to discuss what happens when the attackers caught on video happen to be Black.
It’s not that a language doesn’t exist. Of course it does, and it’s the same language that exists when anyone is viciously attack for no apparent reason other than racial or ethnic hated. That the perpetrators happen to be black doesn’t change anything, except that the woke have chosen to excise from their permissible language words that were once used to describe facts if they do not excuse and forgive black people. Black people have suffered discrimination, but what the hell does that have to do with attacking Asian people?
Notice anyone mentioning the race of the people engaging in these attacks? At a time when every report that involves a black person as victim pounds on race to push a narrative, its omission now is deafening.
The point isn’t that black people hate Asian people, but that one can’t mention race when black people commit crimes and harm others, and indulge the pretense that while the harm is being done, there’s an abject refusal to acknowledge who is doing it because it violates the orthodoxy that no black person is responsible for his actions.
The relative truth of this tension can be excavated, debated and examined. The usual explanations, invoking the history of this country, the model minority myth, and the need for solidarity against white supremacy, can be forcefully stated. All these are true and necessary, but they do not tell us why nobody seems to care when Asian people get attacked.
Is it that nobody seems to care about Asian people being attacked, or is it that the social justice narrative precludes any discussion of facts where white supremacy can’t be blamed?
Last year, a few weeks before the pandemic shut down San Francisco, a video made the rounds on social media. It captured a 68-year-old Chinese man in the Bayview neighborhood in a confrontation with a handful of Black people. The man, who made his living collecting cans, was being harassed and humiliated. The cart he used to carry the day’s haul had been taken away from him. His grabber had also been snatched and a Black man was swinging at him with it.
In the video, you can hear a woman off-camera ask the person filming the encounter to help the old man. He responds: “Hell, no, I’m not helping this [expletive]. I hate Asians.” As the Chinese man begins to despair and cry, the man filming shoves the camera in his face and mocks him.
This happened before Trump’s “China virus,” so it can’t be dumped on him. Is this a condemnation of blacks for hating Asians, or is this about some people who happen to be black engaging in violent and hateful conduct? If we can’t call it what it is, then we’re perpetuating a lie that some people, because of their race, have no responsibility for their actions.
Sometimes, the bad dude is white. Sometimes the bad dude is black. Sometimes the bad dude is Asian or any other identity. But the bad dude is still bad, and what’s happening is bad, regardless of the race of the person engaged in violence. That the social justice narrative refuses to allow us to say this doesn’t change who engaged in violence or change the suffering of the victim of violence.
And what became of the “handful of Black people” in Bayview?
Asian-Americans in the area demanded justice from San Francisco’s progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin. Mr. Boudin, who is among a new breed of prosecutors who favor restorative justice over jail whenever possible, dropped charges against the 20-year-old man who filmed the attack, citing the wishes of the victim. The decision prompted people to raise the well-worn questions asked by Asian-Americans conservatives like Mr. Zhao: What would have happened if the attackers were Asian and the victim was Black? Do hate crimes count only when they run one way?
Well, yes, they only run one way because there is no language in the woke lexicon that permits blame when the bad dudes are black. The fantasy is that the world is divided into white oppressors and the oppressed people of color, and no other narrative is permitted. That there are people who are violent and hateful to others, regardless of their race, has no place in this narrative. In the world of the woke, this can’t exist.