Dirty secret of black-on-Asian violence is out
What’s the common denominator? Twenty guesses…
San Francisco’s hidden truth is out. That’s what community organizer Carol Mo calls the realization that Asian residents are being targeted for robberies, burglaries and intimidation by young black men.
“It is San Francisco’s dirty little secret,” said Mo, a former Safety Network Community organizer in the Sunset District. “It’s not news to us.”
Hundreds of people marched into Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting to express their fear, frustration and outrage. But so far the response has been disappointing, particularly from the San Francisco Police Department. It seems intent on downplaying the role of race and its impact in the community.
The recent incidents of black violence against Asians is the perfect opportunity to open a dialogue about racism. Instead, they are attempting to close the door.
City officials, including the Police Department, say these assaults are part of a larger crime picture where gangs of kids take advantage of a vulnerable group of small stature. But Mo participated in a 2008 survey by the Police Department in which about 300 strong-arm robberies were analyzed. “In 85 percent of the physical assault crimes, the victims were Asian and the perpetrators were African American,” she said.
The squeamishness city officials are experiencing about confronting those numbers doesn’t reflect well on anyone. No one is saying the entire African American community is violent. But ignoring the legitimate anger and frustration from Asians is disingenuous and unfair.
“We love San Francisco,” said the Rev. Norman Fong, a Presbyterian minister. “And we don’t want to do anything to divide the communities. But at the same time, our community is hurting and we feel like our voices are not being heard.”
Now that the Asian community has found its voice, city leaders must listen and respond.