By Emil Guillermo
On CNN, Lisa Ling showcased one group in Oakland where Black youth are working with other young Asian Americans to provide escort services for elderly Asians. It’s no big deal, unless you’re among the elderly, scared by what is happening in our neighborhoods.
It’s an example of the grassroots efforts that show a real unity among Blacks and Asians. And it defies what you may have read in the New York Times.
Recently, that paper published the article “In Fight Against Violence, Asian And Black Activists Struggle to Agree,” subtitled, “Calls for unity have ebbed over disagreement on one main issue: policing.”
Since there is no central Black/Asian forum nationally, enterprising reporters are left to do a kind of journalism that on the surface seems legit, but all it does is put a fine point on nothing.
It’s done this way. Come up with a hypothesis. Talk to a selected group of historians, activists, commentators, which of course, shows the bias of the reporter. Present the group’s individual opinions — note I said opinion, not facts — and let all that become the driver of the hypothesis.
Present what you have with the sharpest point possible. Voila, a news story.
Was the Times truthful? Partially, but it also magnified its view into something larger than it is.
Blacks and Asians may not have done anything at the level or speed as the Times expected to happen over the past year. But it doesn’t mean “nothing” is happening. Communities around the country, Black and Asian, are working together because we all want the same thing– a sense of peace and safety where we live and work.
And a sense of justice when we are done wrong. Ask Angelo Quinto’s family.
Last Christmas, Quinto, a 30-year-old Filipino American Navy veteran from Antioch was having a “mental episode” when his family called the police seeking assistance. Quinto was cuffed and held face to the ground.
Sound familiar? It was the “George Floyd” police move, and Quinto was under the knee of an Antioch cop. Quinto lost consciousness, then died later at a hospital. Was that good policing?
The police have denied doing anything wrong and have escaped any responsibility so far. But Quinto’s family is seeking a wrongful death suit against the City of Antioch.
The family called the police for help, not for them to kill their family member. The family has hired John Burris, the noted Oakland civil rights attorney.
Blacks and Asians are working together.
Recently, there has been a rash of crimes committed by Blacks on Asians, notably in San Jose, Calif. But when these crimes happen, they don’t generally reflect the sentiments of communities, just the criminals. You can’t use that to fan the narrative of “communities at war.”
In a Twitter thread, here’s the reaction of the group #StopAAPIHate, which has monitored crimes against Asians during the pandemic.
“By focusing on the divide between AAPIs and Black communities over policing, this [New York Times] article adds to an all-too common and often exaggerated narrative of tensions between AAPIs and other communities of color,” the group tweeted.
“According to our recent survey, AAPIs believe the top three solutions to anti-AAPI hate are actually education, community-based initiatives and civil rights enforcement,” the thread added.
Policing is an issue, sure. But not as significant a divide among us as the Times makes it sound.
It’s different from the hot rhetoric of the mainstream that stumbles over the word “defunding” as if it means abolition of police, vs. “retraining,” or the “reallocating of resources,” which actually helps people get what they need when they call police.
Here’s the question that must be asked: Why do police so often become the “bad guys”?
It’s an issue we must pursue in 2022. Together.
But don’t be mistaken: Black and Asian communities are working together. We want the same thing — a sense of peace and safety where we live and work. And a sense of justice when we are done wrong.
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on Facebook on EmilGuillermo.Media. Or on www.amok.com