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Related Categories: San Francisco | Racial Justice
Reflections on Anti-Black Racism Among Asian Americans
by Mui Mui
Friday Feb 26th, 2016 11:51 AM
Exploring current political issues that affect Chinese Americans, including anti-black racism, gentrification, and critical questions for the local group "Asians for Black Lives."
On February 20, 2016, I saw hundreds of mostly Chinese Americans rally in San Francisco in support of an Asian NYPD police officer that killed an innocent, unarmed Black man when he fired his weapon after allegedly being startled during a patrol. Peter Liang is now being called a scapegoat, his supporters claiming with signs "One Tragedy, Two Victims", "One Bullet, Two Victims", "Condolences for Akai Gurley, Justice for Peter Liang." This rhetoric is an insult to the survivors of Akai Gurley, and all others who have been killed by the State. Peter Liang has taken countless breaths, his heart has pounded and circulated blood to his trigger-happy fingertips. He has smiled and cried and experienced all it means to be alive, and his family has seen and heard him many times. This is no tragedy. Akai Gurley's death is a tragedy, like the deaths of Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Mike Brown, Alex Nieto, Mario Woods, Sandra Bland... Too many to name them all. Their families planned funerals while Peter Liang's family plans visits to prison, and frivolous lawsuits.

The only call for justice is for Akai Gurley. Peter Liang is not a scapegoat. He is guilty of wearing that uniform and enforcing the same racism of which his supporters say he is a victim. The myth of the "model minority" can only exist with the maintenance of anti-black racism. This is why I was so surprised not to see any presence from the group "Asians for Black Lives." If there was ever one quintessential moment to fully embody and represent that cross-cultural, Black liberation sentiment, the rally for Peter Liang was it. The silence is deafening and speaks volumes. It has circulated that there was an unofficial agreement among some groups to not counter-protest. What sense does that make? Where are your allegiances? Why should we, as Asians who fight for Black liberation, respect other Asian Americans that organize in favor of a system that executes people of color everyday? These recent events will continue to perpetuate the rampant anti-black racism in Asian communities. How can you claim to be "for Black Lives" when you let other Asians march for the right to get away with the murder of Black and Brown people? This organization is concerned with stepping on the wrong toes. If you won't take action against the racism in your own community, how are you in solidarity with Black lives?

Another disturbing yet popular sentiment I've seen in reaction to this case is the proud exclamation from many that "Chinese people will no longer stay politically silent!" What they don't realize they're saying is they will speak out with fervor to maintain the racial hierarchy that typically benefits them. It shows how deeply anti-Black racism has permeated Asian American communities over time.. How soon many forget things like the radical Black resistance to the Vietnam War and the solidarity they showed. People should become more critical of the over-arching issues that continue to keep us all oppressed. Gentrification and the free market are affecting Chinese people all over the world. Both San Francisco and Oakland Chinatowns are facing the same push for market-rate housing and new bourgeois businesses as historically Black and Brown neighborhoods like the Mission and West Oakland. In Hong Kong, a region where many in Chinatowns are from, radical groups have come out to fight police enforcement of legislation designed to restrict cultural traditions and exploit the island for mainland Chinese interests. Why isn't this threat to our culture and survival the issue bringing Chinese people together to speak out? Capitalism is our common enemy, and the police departments are the local henchmen for the proliferation of all systems that uphold and make it possible: racism, fascism, hetero-patriarchy, misogyny... Allowing people to support any police officer with no opposition is a failure in solidarity with Black liberation.

RIP Akai Gurley.
No justice, no peace.
Fuck the police.
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Pecking OrderTSaturday Feb 27th, 2016 5:44 AM

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