Inside Black-Asian Violence -- Its Not About Race

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia , Commentary, Amanze Emenike Posted: Apr 21, 2010

Editor's Note: Recent attacks on Asian Americans by Black teenagers in San Francisco have led some to speculate that ethnic tensions in the city are on the rise. But one young black man who was taught by his peers to rob Asians and Latinos in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood says it's not really about race. Amanze Emenike, 22, is a content producer for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.

Its gotten crazy in Hunters Point once again. A 57-year-old woman was attacked last month on a Muni T-line platform by a group of boys between the ages of 14 and 16. In January, an 83-year-old Chinese man was attacked on the same Third Street corridor. He died two months later in what is being investigated as a homicide.

In certain hoods, crime is almost a routine part of life. Crime is like death; its inevitable.

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 wouldnt do anything to African Americans.

If young people try to rob an old black person in Hunters Point, they usually dont know who they are messing with and they can fall into beef with the victims family or community. Robbing African Americans, its more likely that the family will come back and harm the robber. So young people go after Chinese and Mexicans.

This stems from us being too comfortable in our neighborhood and thinking that because we are at home, we cant get caught. It also has something to do with not having what others have and holding some type of deep grudge against them for it. Different people get involved in crime for different reasons. A young boy may have an alright life where he needs for nothing but still just wants to do it because he wants more stuff, or just thinks its cool. This is the reason I did what I did.

Others just don't have it and never did, from nice clothes to electronics and just an alright life. The ones who are from the broken homes where they had no chance from the womb are the ones who do it for everyday necessities. Like money to survive and all.

Five years ago, I was convicted of robbing a Chinese student in Hunters Point. I was charged with a hate crime. I was a little embarrassed because I had Chinese friends I was locked up with and they made it look like I was after Chinese people. I was glad when the charge was dropped because a hate crime shines a whole different light on you.

The reason Asian kids are getting robbed is because there is an assumption that young Chinese kids on Third Street are filthy rich and have an i-Pod or laptop on them. To a young, broke black male, the appeal of nabbing a few hundred dollars from some Asian kids pocket is even greater during this recession. The young homies in Hunters Point need money for shoes and clothes.

There are a lot of Chinese neighbors who are a big part of the community in Hunters Point. They are accepted as Hunters Point residents and treated just fine. A couple of the Chinese food restaurants are just as black as us. Not all Chinese people are targeted, and not all Latinos are targeted.

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User Comments

Leigh on May 20, 2010 at 11:27:24 said:

Hey Amanze,

Just wanted to give you the props you deserve for your candor and your obvious dismay at the recent violence in the Bay area. Your insight into your own behavior is admirable.

But this paragraph troubled me greatly:

"The reason Asian kids are getting robbed is because there is an assumption that young Chinese kids on Third Street are filthy rich and have an i-Pod or laptop on them. To a young, broke black male, the appeal of nabbing a few hundred dollars from some Asian kids pocket is even greater during this recession. The young homies in Hunters Point need money for shoes and clothes."

Most troubling to me is the implication that these "young homies" are somehow victims in a larger sense than those they are victimizing.

I'm hoping you are able to understand how offensive that idea will be to those who have suffered at the hands of these "young homies."

The empowerment of a people comes from a sense of pride, of nobility, of virtue and strength. Your forefathers--Malcom X, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and countless others, understood this.

There is no nobility in being a punk, in preying on those whom you perceive to be weaker than yourselves.

It's time for dialogue, for sure, but it must be real dialogue in which EVERYONE takes responsibility for their parts in this conflict.

colors on May 10, 2010 at 23:36:31 said:

When black dies, it\'s racial, when any other dies, it\'s normal. F*****G stop crying because nobody owes you guys shit, and stop blaming slavery because this is 2010. Their excuse for the bad life they endure or the bad act they commit is simple, \"RACIAL\", whenever they need an excuse, they would use racial and then people are suppose to feel sorry for them and then forgives them. All these beating and robbing of OLD asian and latinos folks are sissy and really shows how man they are.

Jane on May 09, 2010 at 12:36:43 said:

Both groups - asians and african americans are disadvantaged groups in white america due to discrimination and slavery! My parents came here as immigrants with only elementary level education but instead of robbing, stealing and committing vicious crimes against other people, they instead CHOSE to learn english, got jobs, had a family and lived productive lives! If African american parents raised their kids - loving, supporting them, teaching them to respect themselves and others - the results will be VERY different here. Sadly, african american parents have failed to be part of their children's lives. Neglecting and ignoring them have only worstened their lives and hate on others. To the African american parents and community - CHANGE STARTS WITH YOU!!!!!!!!! LOVE, SUPPORT and TEACH your children for the better so they can have a bright future instead of ending up in prison or dying young!!! Your children are counting on you to do so!!!!!

Disgusted on May 06, 2010 at 19:19:04 said:

I am ashamed of the Asian community for acting white and vilifying the Black community. Articles such as this are HATE SPEECH and should be banned because they further stigmatize Black men.

The Asian community needs to learn to make Black people feel welcome in San Francisco. Stop acting afraid towards Black men, hire unemployed Black men for jobs in Chinatown, learn English, allow Blacks to make up the majority of good schools such as Lowell, and stop acting racist towards Black men in interracial relationships!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cc on May 05, 2010 at 22:28:49 said:

And thats why everyone wants to avoid black apes, thats why wherever blacks live the property price will always DROP... blacks love to make up fucking excuses to why their poor etc. etc. LOL GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK... fucking lazy ass black monkeys. Get your ass up and work, make money and get a fucking education so your IQ wouldnt be 50, the last time i check the IQ of an Monkey living in the jungle is 68.

Les Tso on May 03, 2010 at 08:45:04 said:

It may not be a hate crime, but it is DEFINITELY about race. When you single out a certain ethnicity or certain racial group as your victims, that IS about race. For many years in the East Bay, we've had elderly muggings and beatings in Chinatown and near Lake Merritt BART, Asian homeowners have been targeted in China Hill by the lake, and Asian students robbed at UC Berkeley, all primarily by young Black thugs. None of those equate to Hunters Point, Bayview, or areas where "infringement" took place, so no excuses about resentment please. Just a matter of preying on a particular group, a particular racial group.

Weiwen Ng on May 03, 2010 at 07:04:18 said:

I found Amanzi's candor in this essay and in an NYT article ("Attacks on Asians Highlight New Racial Tensions") refreshing. However, it is counterproductive and incorrect to say that race has nothing to do with it. There are historical and understandable tensions between Asians and Blacks. We cannot address them if we deny they exist.

Sara Bi on Apr 26, 2010 at 12:45:53 said:

This commentary is poorly written and feels almost like an excuse for African Americans. I understand you are trying to give reasons behind these attacks, but specifically targeting a race of people, is a hate crime.

You also shed light about why young kids go into a life of crime because they are poor. Many Chinese families come to this nation with nothing. You do not see those kids on the streets robbing people. It's about hard work and integrity. To attack someone, especially elders to buy yourself a pair of shoes is not just morally wrong, but also inhumane.

I give the attackers no sympathy and they should be put away for a long time. As for the writer of this commentary, I would like to say that you are bold to write this and I applaud you for trying but your logic is offensive. You were very lucky that the charges were dropped but I hope the next person who commits these crimes will not be so lucky.

I would like to end on this note: This is becoming to look like the Korean-African American conflict in Los Angeles. Before this spirals out of control. We must find a way to fix this and find understanding between our two cultures. There has to be better security for the T-line and troubled youths need to be taught what's right and wrong. After last week's incident in Oakland, I am very concerned about how our community is turning into. I understand many people are angry right now and want justice. I ask you all to turn that anger into positive actions and help change our community for the better.

Sam on Apr 25, 2010 at 01:18:30 said:

You pick out Asain and Latinos to commit crime and it it not about race? That kind of logic only works for people with IQ of less then 10. Blacks are just as racist as KKK.

Black on Asian hate crime has been going on for many years and extremely common. Very few Asian residents in the area were untouched. It is an open secret. One police insider told me they documents hunreds of incidents in a matter of months. Black on Asian crime is not a myth. It only make news lately due to death and video.

Sam on Apr 25, 2010 at 00:58:44 said:

When are you black people going to be man enough to accept that you problems are your own doing? Don't blame Asians if you refuse to do what it takes to be successful -- hardwork, take care of your family, and get an education.

When I first came to the contry I was dirt poor, making $2 hr, and didn't speak a word of English. I was beated and robbed by blacks just because I was Asian. 10 years later I own my business and had hired dozens of blacks and paid them good wages as laborers, even the lowerest paid was over $20 hr. Most between $30 to $40 and hours. None, not one single black man from the hood (bayview/hunters point) were able to hold on the to job because they rather go back to the life of laziness, drugs, and petty crime. Many quite just to avoid paying child support -- about half owe Child support.

Truly F'd Up on Apr 22, 2010 at 20:04:46 said:

WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE??? PEOPLE PERIOD! Has the world lost its mind along with its humanity?? Does it matter? TO ANYONE?

Things are taught to influence people behavior! People are taught to hate, be racist, steal, just be foul human beings. And the sad part... We accept it.. YES!!! We accept it. Instead of trying to find a way to correct the issue we find a way to make it worst. 2012 isn't getting here fast enough (if it truly is to happen).... Maybe we need a natural disaster in order to realize we are all in this world together and if we don't fix our wrongs now there may not be another chance... I hate you all goodnight

Smoke Monster on Apr 22, 2010 at 15:18:22 said:

\"But one young Black man who was taught by his peers to rob Asians and Latinos in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood says it\'s not really about race.\"

Taught to rob ASIANS & LATINOS....Yeah, of course it isn\'t racial, right, whatever you say Amanze.

Charlie on Apr 22, 2010 at 13:50:16 said:

fair warning, i'm white and strong enough to whip any 3 of you. If i'm on muni or bart and I see you stealing from some asain, mexican or white, i'm stomping some ass. You've been warned.

Kosho Ryu on Apr 22, 2010 at 13:23:06 said:

Don't talk about how black people are robbing for clothes and food. If that were the case, they would be robbing department stores and grocery stores. And if you attack somebody simply because they are Asian and you are under the impression that they have iPods and laptops because of their race (or cash if they're Latin American), then you are profiling. That makes it a hate crime.

Your argument is a transparent attempt to garner sympathy based on your socio-economic conditions. The fact is that there are the exact same number of opportunities for somebody in "the hood" to pull themselves out of there as there is for somebody with all the benefits of being economically advantaged to bugger it all up and end up on the streets.

Your contemporaries rob to fit in. They rob because it is easier than working. They rob because they are a drain on society and have a sense of entitlement coupled with a resentment toward others. Stop making excuses, get off of drugs, ditch the thug stylings, and take control of your life.

John Q on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:28:16 said:

really? this is some first class bs. the author just says what we are all thinking. and the fact that he used words like "homies" and "hood" shows where he lies. they steal and commit these acts because they want too.

CA Tom on Apr 22, 2010 at 09:56:40 said:

Ahhh what an insightful look into the mind of your average North American urban-dwelling ape. Most mentally defective people rationalize their own behaviour, convince themselves there is nothing wrong with their actions.

blah on Apr 22, 2010 at 00:09:10 said:

I find it interesting that the writer is talking about how he selects which race to rob like it make it less of a crime. Classy

SL on Apr 21, 2010 at 14:58:57 said:

Really fascinating. If true, then Asians may not be targeted specifically because they're Asian, but because they're assumed to not be able to retaliate and/or they're affluent enough to have iPods and laptops. It may not be a hate crime, but it's still an attack based on prejudice, so is that really any better? The misconceptions Asians have about blacks are equally ridiculous, but these attacks have further solidified in prejudiced Asian minds that black teenagers = danger.




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