"Korean-African American Conflicts and Koreans’ Reactive Solidarity in New York and Los Angeles" by Pyong Gap Min

Historically, Koreans have suffered a great deal of internal conflicts, mostly in the form of power struggles, while they showed a high level of solidarity reacting to external threats. Korean immigrants in the U.S. have gone through similar internal conflicts, combined with intensive solidarity when encountering external threats. Korean immigrants’ business-related conflicts with Black customers, White suppliers, Latino employees, White landlords, and government agencies have all enhanced their ethnic solidarity. However, among all the types of business-related conflicts with outside groups, Korean immigrants’ community-wide solidarity was enhanced the most by Black boycotts of Korean stores and the victimization of many Korean merchants during the 1990s riots. This chapter from Pyong Gap Min’s book Caught in the Middle: Korean Communities in New York and Los Angeles examines in detail how major Black boycotts of Korean stores in New York City and the victimization of many Korean merchants during the 1990s Los Angeles riots have enhanced Koreans’ ethnic solidarity and political consciousness. Memories of minority groups’ major historical sufferings, such as the Holocaust and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, have long become symbols of ethnic identity over generations. The victimization of many innocent Korean merchants during the Los Angeles riots is the most severe historical suffering Korean immigrants in the U.S. have ever experienced. As such, it will serve as an important historical event in the Korean community that will help second-, third- and higher-generation Korean Americans to preserve their ethnic identity.  Reading this chapter on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Sa-I-Gu, when Korean Americans are struggling for community empowerment, will be meaningful.

Read 15083 times Last modified on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:12


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