With the recent spate of violence against Asian-Americans in places such as Oakland and San Francisco, this essay from New American Media expresses the opinion that Black on Asian violence isn’t about race, it’s about “economic opportunism.” Amanze Emenike grew up in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point area and as a youth, got into crime.
“When I was introduced to the crime scene, I was put on to rob Asians and Latinos on Third Street. We specifically preyed on Asians and Mexicans, and wouldn’t do anything to African Americans.
If young people try to rob an old black person in Hunters Point, they usually don’t know who they are messing with and they can fall into beef with the victim’s family or community. Robbing African Americans, it’s more likely that the family will come back and harm the robber. So young people go after Chinese and Mexicans.”
Emenike was jailed for robbing a Chinese student and charged with a hate crime. He says that he was embarrassed by the charges since he had Chinese friends, and was glad that the hate crime charges were dropped. He has apparently cleaned up his act, working as a content producer for Yo! Youth Outlook Radio.
New America Media also featured a response by Asian-American blogger Reappropriate titled “Inside Black-Asian Tension: Sometimes It Is About Racism.” She points out that if you consider Asian-Americans as ideal prey, “how is this not still racist stereotyping of Asians?
Meanwhile, Black-Asian tensions have attracted the attention of San Francisco City hall, and a number of Asian-American’s spoke at a board meeting about their experiences and fears. Some talked about how they were attacked, such as the woman who was knocked unconscious and shattered some of her teeth when she was thrown off a MUNI platform by a 15 year old African-American boy (see video). Many feel, as Emenike mentions, that they were targeted. San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon has downplayed race as a factor in the Bayview attacks, but as this blog post asserts, a survey on San Francisco strong-arm robberies done in 2008 showed that 85% of physical assaults had an African-American perpetrator and an Asian-American victim. The San Francisco Police Department is boosting foot patrols in the area.