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Speaking of black-Korean tensions…

February 22, 2012

… right now there’s a Nation of Islam-led boycott attempting to drive Korean merchants out of South Dallas. There’s been unease for a long time:

Tensions between Korean merchants and their black patrons in distressed pockets of major cities are now into their third decade, long enough for sociologists and others to illuminate the racial fault lines. Indeed, Pak is part of the long tradition of minority middleman merchants who set up small businesses in areas abandoned by almost all others. Their very presence, to some degree, is controversial.

The editorial makes it pretty clear that Koreans are only the latest to face these troubles:

In an earlier age, the gas station and convenience shop on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard would probably have been owned by a Jewish immigrant. In major cities today, the man or woman behind the counter might well be Indian or Pakistani. In all these cases, differences in language, culture, race and class can strain every transaction. “The daily scrapping for economic survival led to pilfering and hostile encounters,” one observer said of the tension between Jewish merchants and their black customers in Philadelphia in the 1930s.

This could also just as easily be Indian merchants in East Africa.

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Here’s a classic video from the 1992 Los Angeles Riots:

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