Reflections, 20 Years Out
Views on what’s changed in the past two decades and what hasn’t.
“I think the most important lesson is the system took advantage of the fact that we didn’t have an articulate voice to speak out against the scapegoating going on. Because of that, it seemed like the media was basically allowing the Korean community to take the blame for all the injustice happening to blacks. The message today is: When we’re being targeted or scapegoated for something that isn’t right, we need to speak up for ourselves, band together. You see that happening already. When the Jeremy Lin thing happened, with the “chink in the armor” [headline], the guy who wrote that got fired. You see the power of the Internet really carrying the power of the Asian American voice now. That’s something we didn’t have 20 years ago.
—Sonny Kang, actor and mixed martial arts instructor for inner city youth
Los Angeles’ Korean community, as we know it, started in the mid-1960s. And after about 30 years of that community, they were still living as Koreans in America. [The first generation] didn’t care about America. They thought of themselves as Koreans, not Americans. But after the L.A. riots, after that, people started thinking if they want to survive in America, we can’t just live as Koreans. We have to become Korean Americans. So after the riots, there was a lot of bad, but this was one good thing.
—Richard Choi, vice president of Radio Korea Continue Reading »
Name: Arnold Byun
Occupation: Web Designer
What has given you the most pleasure in the last year?
Probably founding and starting up my web design venture, Think Twice Company (formerly known as AB Corporations). It allowed me to stray away from the traditional route of a high school student and made me realize that age shouldn’t define who I am and what I’m capable of.
What food do you absolutely hate?
I cannot stand seafood. I eat pretty much everything else.
Tell us about the last time you had to ask for help.
Being a teen-entrepreneur, I’m constantly asking for help and advice from the veterans in the game. I realize that starting my career early allows me to experiment my talents, skills, and weaknesses for my future career. I believe that having a head start to my career and making mistakes will eventually benefit me in my future career.
If you could go on a date with any Korean celebrity, who would it be? And why?
Tiger JK, a Korean American hip-hop legend. Yes, he’s a male. I just believe I’d take away more valuable lessons from a respectable man like him than a date with a female celebrity—plus, I’d be out of my comfort zone.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Continue Reading »
Here are some of the videos we are watching this week at KoreAm.
Koreatown hit hard in riots, rebuilds and grows
ABC News Los Angeles put together this interesting piece on Koreatown and the LA Riots.
Ethnic Koreans face mass deportation in Seoul
This Al Jazeera report focuses on Korean Chinese immigrants in Korea who are facing discrimination and deportation.
North Koreans Protest South Korean President Lee Myung-bak
Here’s some disturbing footage of a recent rally against Seoul where citizens and soldiers declare their hate for the leader of South Korea. One of the men who speaks is clearly nervous and doesn’t really appear to be as passionate as the others. His face says, “Am I doing it right?”
Myna Bird Holds Conversation in Japanese
This amazing bird mimics Japanese with uncanny skill. The boys at Rocket News were kind enough to provide a translation.
Abe-chan: Good morning!
Owner: Good morning to you.
Abe-chan: I’m a good boy, aren’t I?
Owner: You sure are. Abe-chan, I’m going out. Can you look after the house?
Owner: Really? You’re amazing. Be good, Abe-chan.
Abe-chan: OK, I will.
Amazing Yo-Yo Trick
Japanese yo-yo master Black uses his amazing skills to perform the classic table cloth trick.
HBO “East of Main Street: Small Talk” Trailer
Here’s some cute Asian American kids saying stuff.
Sadako From The Movie The Ring Does Baseball in JAPAN
The video shows the creepy character from the hit movie “The Ring” throwing the ceremonial first pitch at a Japanese NPB league game as she falls down. Oh, Japan what will you think of next?
Popular YouTuber Timothy DeLaGhetto cruises the hood giving people positive reinforcement.
L.A. Riots: LAPD Tried to Displace its Racism Problem And ‘Put it On a Korean Merchant,’ Says Former Times Reporter John Lee
The riots that were sparked on April 29, 1992 put L.A.’s burgeoning Korean American population in the spotlight.
It seems that for every generation, a group of immigrants gets picked for no-holds-barred hatred, and Koreans in 1992 were it. John Lee covered the community and the riots for the Los Angeles Times back then, and he argues that the LAPD, under fire for the Rodney King beating, wanted the focus to be on his people.
Shortly after the uprisings, Lee, a longtime friend of this reporter, left the paper, bitter about his experience. He looks back:
Rebirth of the Korean American Community
Do young people in Los Angeles still have this perception of Korean-Americans today? How is the narrative different given the experiences of our parents and their peers? What feelings does race trigger in our communities now? Does the anger of the L.A. riots still seethe in the minds and emotions of even those who were merely children on April 29, 1992?
Korean Store Owner On Arming Himself For Riots
The Los Angeles riots stunned the nation in 1992, claiming more than 50 lives in that city. As the unrest approached Koreatown, store owner Kee Whan Ha mobilized his fellow business owners to arm themselves and defend their property. Host Michel Martin talks with him about the riots, and the neighborhood today.
New North Korean Missile Is Called Into Question
New York Times
April has not been a great month for North Korea’s image-makers. First, they invited dozens of journalists to chronicle the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s revered founder, Kim Il-sung, only to see their signature event — the launching of a satellite — go bust.
Now, a pair of German missile experts have gone public with evidence suggesting that new missiles that the North rolled out with much pomp at a parade just days later were mock-ups, and clumsy ones at that.
African American and Korean community leaders try to build hope in South Dallas
North Dallas Gazette
Fortunately, Korean community leaders have reached across the imaginary color line in hopes of eliminating the issues that have kept these two groups bickering. The proverbial peace offering to include and expose African Americans to Korean culture is being planned during the annual Korean Cultural Day on Sunday, May 27 at the Irving Convention Center. The hopes of organizers on both parts are to build stronger relationships between the two communities. The African American community leaders in Irving and Dallas have agreed to begin the journey towards peace, understanding, and open communications.
‘Apprenticeship’ to Chef Meant Only Long Hours and Sub-Minimum Wages, Suit Says
New York Times
Here’s a variant on the depressingly common phenomenon of restaurants underpaying their low-wage workers: a former employee of the Lower East Side gastropub Spitzer’s Corner has charged in a suit that he was hired into a nonexistent “apprenticeship” and required to work upwards of 90 hours a week for as little as $2.91 an hour.
The worker, Edward Kim, said in a statement that the restaurant’s chef, Sung Park, told him would be trained as a skilled chef but instead, the suit charges, required him to perform an “ever-expanding list of duties” that included butchering, receiving heavy shipments and running personal errands for Mr. Park.
A painful beauty – Sexual Harassment in South Korea
East Asia Gazette
“We are always told to go right before we finish work. Our boss never tells us early, so we don’t have time to prepare. If I don’t go, he will probably get mad. He doesn’t like girls to have a boyfriend, so almost all the female employees hide the fact that they have a boyfriend at work. If he finds out, he’ll probably fire them later. When he gets drunk at the hweshik, he always cusses at his coworkers and touches himself, telling the girls who work for him, ‘you should eat more because food makes your breasts bigger!’ and he feeds food to me and other girls by hand. If we comply, he feels happy and gives us about $1,000.”
South Korean Seasickness
Seoul has lost its bid to have the world’s mapmakers allow the Sea of Japan, the body of water between Japan and the Korean peninsula, also to be known as the East Sea. Japan is pleased, according to Stars and Stripes.
Dia Frampton Embarks on Sold Out Tour with The Fray
DIA FRAMPTON has joined The Fray on tour. As a special guest, she’ll be supporting the group on its sold out U.S. run, performing at packed theaters and amphitheatres across the United States from April 24 until May 18.
‘The Voice’: Dia Frampton and Javier Colon return alongside some serious star power
Blake’s season one finalist, Dia Frampton, is set to perform her single ‘Don’t Kick the Chair’ featuring Kid Cudi off her debut album, Red, while Vicci Martinez sings ‘Come Along’ featuring her former coach, CeeLo.
Rappers Recap April 2012: What are your thoughts on Sa I Gu (April 29), the LA Riots?
I grew up in Ktown all my life and I remember the riots. It’s been 20 years and sadly the relationship between black and Asians aren’t that much different. although LA is diverse its really segregated.
Jessica Alba’s whirlwind tour of Seoul
“Sexiest Woman in the World” enjoys five hectic days of sightseeing, late-night shopping and soju-filled nightlife
In 1992, most of the children of Korean riot victims were too young to speak out and explain their family’s situations, though they possessed a skill that eluded their immigrant parents: speaking fluent English. Twenty years later, this generation has grown up. They can speak now, and though 4.29 remains a painful subject, these children of Saigu carry its legacy into the future.
by CAROL PARK
On April 29, 1992, I was walking home from school with my two older brothers, just like any other typical day. We attended a small private Christian school and lived in a nice neighborhood in Los Angeles County. But once we got home and my brothers turned on the TV, news footage of crowds gathering at local businesses dominated the airwaves. Then 12 years old, I worried for my mother, who was still at her gas station in Compton. She and my father had run the station together since the late 1970s. Mom inherited it from my father who died from cancer in 1990.
After he passed away, mom, my brothers and I worked at the family business. We would man the bulletproof cashier’s booth; we sold gas, stocked soda, candy, cigarettes and other items. I’d often help my mom during the graveyard shifts. Sometimes I’d get into fights with customers. Sometimes I’d get yelled at and called “chink,” “jap,” “gook,” “nip” or whatever racist term seemed to be the flavor of the day. Sometimes I yelled back. Most of the time I tried to mind my own business and work. I didn’t want to get robbed or shot like some of the other Korean business owners in the area. Continue Reading »