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Pet Sins March 2000

Some incidents of black bias against Asians

Prejudices between African American ("AA") and Asians work both ways. A few years back when I was attending the local community college, a group of Asian girls tried to come in the "exit" door of the cafeteria. The college frowned on this because of security reasons, but people did it all the time and no one said anything. However, that day there was a black security guard stationed at the door and he started screaming and yelling at the girls. I had never saw him talk this way to anybody else. The girls looked shocked and frightened.

On another occasion I was in a large store in the downtown section of my city and a young Asian woman was in line in front of me. She didn't speak English well. The black salesgirl was extremely rude to her. When the Asian woman finally left, the clerk said "they think they can come over here and do anything they want, with their no-speakie-English selves," and made other disparaging remarks.

Yet another time I was walking downtown and I saw an Asian man with a young black woman. The Asian man was carrying one of the black woman's kids (I assumed they were her kids because they didn't look mixed). I admit even I looked twice, even though I am a very tolerant person. But some other black people were muttering and giving them very hostile looks.

I also hear black people say things like "they all look the same" and make nonsense sounds that are supposed to sound like Asian languages. Didn't Shaquille O'Neal recently make fun of one of his Asian teammates in the manner?

I am not excusing this kind of racism, but perhaps these black people involved in these incidents had negative experiences with Asians. That doesn't make it right, of course.

On the other hand, I've seen some examples of Asians and blacks getting along. My daughter tells me that in her school, which is quite mixed, some of the Asian kids hang around the black kids and listen to black music. Also, while I was taking public transportation once, I saw an older Asian woman with two children -- one appeared to be part AA, the other part white. I asked her if they were her grandkids, and she said yes. I was kind of surprised.

Also, the other day I saw a young Asian man with dreadlocks. I'm still trying to figure out he got that dead-straight hair to lock!

M.T.
Jan 2003