At Chicago, a Chinese boy was brutally beaten by seven teens, including a girl who lured him into an alley where the beating took place. An article filed by NYDailyNews.com said, “Cops don’t believe the attack was racially motivated.” I will update this post as I learn more. WARNING: video is violent.
I find it interesting on Youtube re-posting of this video of the Chinese boy labeled as a ‘man.’ It looks like people are more than anxious to shape the fallout or are actively trying to shape the narrative on this story.
5 of the 7 attackers were Chinese, according to this article:
The worst part of the misinformation posted on the web about this case was the names of the attackers. New updates by the Chicago Police have brought on disturbing surprises about the actual attackers and the details surrounding the beating.
Although once thought that this was a racially charged attack of an Asian boy by six Caucasian boys, the actuality was that there were 7 attackers named in the case. Five of the attackers were of Chinese descent, one of the attackers was a 15-year-old girl and only one was actually Caucasian.
The 15-year-old girl, three 15-year-old boys and two 16-year-old boys were all charged as juveniles and the only Caucasian attacker, 17-year-old Raymond Palomino was charged as an adult.
In all honestly, when I first saw the video, my initial reaction was perhaps this was a racially motivated attack on Chinese yet again. Just last year, there were a string of attacks targeting Chinese Americans in Silicon Valley. (See my post, “Opinion: Citizens of Chinese heritage in the West to also bear the brunt of Western media bias.”) I recall a Filipino girl attacked on a New York bus few years ago, and later the arrested assailants defended themselves in saying they thought she was Chinese! Unbelievable.
In reaction to Wayne’s initial comments – actually, more precisely on the point about whether this incident is a worthy topic for this blog – Naqshbandiyya left some very insightful comments below which I quote here in their entirety:
To those saying that this site should not cover the video, another popular English-language website which translates Chinese netizen reactions posted it, so enough influential sites are putting their spin on it. An interesting trend can be seen in those comments: “Descendent of corrupt officials, deserves to be beaten.” (贪官之后，该打。) and “If he’s the child of a civil servant [Chinese government official], then he deserves to be beaten!” (如果是 公仆的孩子，该打！) It’s also clear that many Chinese resent the victim for simply emigrating to America. Let’s appreciate for a minute the irony of this man getting no solidarity from the group in whose membership for which he is attacked.
Judging from the children’s accents, mannerisms, and names [i.e., romanized Cantonese surnames vs. pinyin], a clear cleavage can be seen between the native-born American attackers and the recent Chinese immigrant victim. To say that everybody is just “Chinese” is to elide some very important distinctions. Americanized Chinese, growing up with a strongly internalized anti-Communist, anti-Chinese, and broadly anti-Asian ideology, feel that they have to prove themselves loyal to white Americans. That’s why so many Chinatowns in the United States fly the Taiwanese flag, and why after 1949 Chinese Americans cut off ties to the mainland and repeatedly declared themselves to be“good [American-serving] Chinese”, and not “bad [independent] Chinese”. How much self-loathing must you have to say the things that the attackers do in the video, such as “Chinese nigger”, and “Am I speaking Chinese to you, nigger”?
But while we focus on the house negro aspect of the story, let’s note that the ringleader of this crime; the only person whose face was seen in the video; the only person who because of his age can be charged as an adult, was a white man. Calling this a Chinese-on-Chinese crime is as stupid as saying that because the U.S. ambassador to China’s grandparents were born in that country, that his verbal assaults on China are just intra-Chinese fighting. Some nuance, please!
Besides, the details of the specific case are less important than the trends that this crime represents. And no, Wayne, this is not about crimes committed by Asian Americans, it’s about crimes committed against Asian Americans. Especially in schools, where Asians areby far the most bullied racial group. Part of the reason for this disproportionate bullying is that Asians are stereotyped as being “obsequious and meek”, lacking in English schools, and politically impotent. Asking bloggers and writers not to talk about this issue, is, in a sense, putting Asians back in their place, which is to be seen and not heard; to trade material products but not to exchange ideas. In a case that is not black and white, where the hero is not unmistakably Chinese and the villain not unmistakably European, there is more reason to discuss and not less.
I should add, the assailants in the New York bus were African Americans. So, it is absolutely true – the day in and day out vilification of ‘China’ and ‘Chinese’ in the Western mainstream press will spill over and cause like minded imbeciles to act. The reason they defend their attacks saying because they thought the Filipino girl was Chinese is because they know that’s a ‘popular’ sentiment.
I have heard Harry Belafonte (one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s confidants in the American Civil Rights Movement) on NPR criticizing the ‘yes’ slaves who got to sleep in their masters houses. His point is one in the same – the ‘yes’ slaves ingratiate to gain favor from their master.
This phenomenon is across the board for us humans. It is not unique to any ethnicity. It’s just human nature. The truth is when there is no equality, there is a lot of ugliness. Slavery is unequal. Constant unjust vilification of ‘China’ and ‘Chinese’ is unequal.
Obviously, in this incident in Chicago, every single one of the assailants are at fault. It is important to follow and understand the dynamics within the 7.