Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Neighbors Stand Guard as Gangs of 'Youth Thugs' Racially Harass and Threaten Chinese Immigrant Family

Now this is an interesting story.

Keep in mind that I live in Irvine, well north of Ladera Ranch (in south O.C.), and I've long joked (in a kinda "racist" way, frankly), about how Irvine is actually "Beijing West," and for years, especially when my oldest son was getting his driver's license, I used to constantly rag about how "Chinese drivers" are the absolute worst, which isn't racist to me, because they are the worst. Back in the 1980s, "No Jap Drivers" bumper stickers were very popular (and racist, with slant eyes and buck teeth poking out over thin lips). But that's not something I'd ever put on my car, and of course, in Irvine, Chinese and Korean immigrant families are in fact model members of the community. 

One thing that always amazes me is the huge number of Asian-American churches, especially Korean-American. And while you see lots of recent immigrants, wearing big dark face shields to protect their skin, and, frankly, a lot of Chinese women --- fresh off the boat --- who wear Mao jackets and such, they never bother anybody. Both my sons attended Irvine High School, and the diversity there was between different Asian-American student groups, with some Hispanic, white, and not too many black kids. 

So, it's all good, and you get used to it, and some of my Asian neighbors are the kindest, nicest people you could ever meet.

Which brings me back to this story, at LAT, which is actually horrifying, despicable, and a f*cking shame. Some of this can be traced back to Trump and his moniker, the "China virus," etc. But most if is just plain old intolerance --- and if you know the history of the O.C., so called "far-right" groups did in fact often originate here, and there are K.K.K. types that abound. So, as someone who is "mixed-race," and I've taught "Black Politics" at the upper-division level, it's not lost on me, this resurgence of racist hatred. And it's bad. Just bad for everybody, especially the victims. 

See, "An Asian American family in O.C. was being harassed. Now their neighbors stand guard":

Every night, the neighbors converge on the Si family’s two-story home, which has large windows and an expansive porch adorned with columns.

The Sis moved to this upscale Ladera Ranch neighborhood a few months ago, with the country deep in the COVID-19 pandemic and hate crimes against Asian Americans on the rise.

Almost immediately, teenagers swooped in for nightly visits, repeatedly ringing the doorbell, yelling and pounding on the door.

“I did not understand the extent of the harassment and how often it was occurring, at first,” said Layla Parks, who organized the nightly neighborhood watch. “I was immediately outraged and wanted to help.”

Violence and hate incidents directed at Asian Americans have surged across California, including in Orange County, since the beginning of the pandemic, with some blaming Asians because of the coronavirus’ origins in Wuhan, China.

A recent spate of violent attacks in Oakland, San Francisco, New York City and elsewhere has attracted national attention and sparked fear among Asian Americans, though it is not clear whether some of the incidents were racially motivated.

In February in Koreatown, two men hurled anti-Asian slurs at a 27-year-old Korean American U.S. Air Force veteran, calling him “Chinese virus” and then swinging at him, he told KTLA.

“We’re seeing an epidemic of hate right now, and we have to stand together,” state Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine), who represents the district just west of Ladera Ranch, said last week at an event to show support for the Si family.

While officials in Orange County are still compiling information on reports made in 2020, preliminary statistics indicate a tenfold increase in hate incidents against Asian Americans, said Alison Edwards, chief executive of the nonprofit OC Human Relations.

It’s a troubling uptick that experts have blamed in part on Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the pandemic, including his use of terms such as “China virus” and “kung flu.”

Last year, California saw a consistent increase in hate incidents and crimes targeting Asian Americans, said Brian Levin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

Stereotyping and conspiracy theories identifying Asians as responsible for COVID-19 have been embraced by wide swaths of the country, Levin said, with a new Center for Public Integrity/Ipsos poll showing that nearly 1 in 4 Americans have concerns about being physically near Asian people.

“My kids are scared. I’m very annoyed,” said Si, 48. “At night, my wife and I could not sleep for more than three or four hours. Please, parents, tell your kids don’t do that again.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been called to the home seven times between October 2020 and February. Deputies have ramped up patrols in the area, and the department has launched an investigation, said Sgt. Dennis Breckner.

Still, the doorbell kept ringing, Si said. Nothing helped until his neighbors stepped in, vowing to put an end to the harassment.

Parks, who takes daily walks around the neighborhood, had introduced herself to Si and his family when she noticed them moving in last year.

In early February, Si reached out to Parks for advice.

He had already told her about the constant doorbell ringing, and she had offered to help if needed.

At first, she figured it was a harmless childhood prank of “ding-dong ditch.”

But as the harassment continued, including racial slurs against the family, Parks realized this was something uglier...

Still more.