Backlash over anti-racist billboard challenges Houston’s Vietnamese American community

Backlash over anti-racist billboard challenges Houston’s Vietnamese American community

In southwest Houston, a Vietnamese American businessman received death threats and a boycott when he put up a bilingual Black Lives Matter billboard.

By
Elizabeth Trovall

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Nguyen Le stands in front of the Black Lives Matter sign he erected in southwest Houston.

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Courtesy of Nguyen Le 

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Like millions of other people, Nguyen Le watched the eight-minute, 46-second cellphone video in which George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police.

The 50-year-old businessman said he had to do something.

“I couldn’t remain silent anymore, because to me remaining silent would just be complicit to all this.” 

Nguyen Le, southwest Houston, Texas

“I couldn’t remain silent anymore, because to me remaining silent would just be complicit to all this,” said Le, who runs a well-known insurance firm in southwest Houston.

After Floyd’s death, Le saw an ad from the 1970s with Black Civil Rights leaders calling on the government to help Vietnamese refugees, like himself.

“That was the beginning of ’78,” Le said. “And then I realized, ‘holy crap’ — later that year I was an 8-year-old boy languishing in a refugee camp.”

It inspired him to show his solidarity with the Black community. In late June, Le put up a bright yellow billboard in Houston’s Viet Town that read “Black Lives Matter” in English and Vietnamese.

“We added the Vietnamese translation just because I’m Vietnamese, I was born in Vietnam,” he said. “Everything we do now is bilingual.” Some 91,000 Vietnamese immigrants live in the Houston area.

Related: K-pop and Chinese hip-hop artists grapple with their responses to BLM

Le said he was expecting some pushback — but the death threats caught him off guard.

Vietnamese vlogger on YouTube used violent verbal attacks against Nguyen Le for his billboard. The video now has more than 36,000 views.

His Facebook page filled up with hate speech. Some critics called him a communist, and he said his insurance business lost 12 clients. The Vietnamese media criticized Le. He responded with a press statement.

“I was never told that I am worthless by those with different skin colors. I know that my life would have been a lot harder to build if I did.”

Nguyen Le, southwest Houston, Texas

“I was never told that I am worthless by those with different skin colors. I know that my life would have been a lot harder to build if I did,” he wrote in the statement.

 

This is my official statement regarding the Black Lives Matter billboard that I had paid for to support the movement to end racism & injustice: I am Lê Hoàng Nguyên. I am a proud American of Vietnamese descent. Having experienced racism first hand over the years and especially having seen the recent social injustices in America, I used my personal funds to put up a billboard that shares the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. I did not receive any outside funds. The opinion expressed is 100% my own. It is not a political message. It does not support any particular organization. It supports the simple idea of the Black Lives Matter movement to stop racism and injustice for all. It does not mean other lives do not matter. I believe every life matters. But, if we do not stand up for the lives of those most marginalized, how can we say that all lives matter? I have heard many of the complaints about the message: Some mentioned rioting and looting, which I do not condone. The peaceful protestors far outnumber the troublemakers. Some pointed to crime committed by African Americans against Vietnamese Americans. I empathize with the victims but not all African Americans are criminals. Others reminded that Vietnamese Americans are also victims of discrimination. I understand and agree. I grew up being called names. I was in jobs where I was limited by the color of my skin. That is why I support stopping racism and injustice – period! Finally, some of you argued that this is the land of opportunity and all you have to do is to work hard. It is true, America is a great country and I am forever grateful to this land. I came here at 9 years old without my parents and worked hard to build an amazing life. And, I am very fortunate to have a beautiful family. However, I did not grow up with people who ran when they saw me. I did not have to fear for my life anytime I saw the police. I was never told I am worthless by those with different skin colors. I know that my life would have been a lot harder to build if I did. Who am I to judge the enduring challenges that others face? When I put up the billboard, I had three goals: 1. To show my public support for stopping all racism and injustice 2. To inspire future generations of leaders 3. To speak up & to start the hard conversations about racism and injustice Having proudly accomplished these goals, I’ve decided to put up a new billboard that honors our First Responders. The new billboard will be installed in the near future. In closing, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes: “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler While you might not agree with this statement from Alfred, it does not mean we can’t respect one another. Respectfully, Lê Hoàng Nguyên

Posted by Farmers Insurance Le Hoang Nguyen on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Shortly after the backlash, people organized to support Le. They rallied in front of the billboard. They defended him on social media. An online fundraiser for Le’s business has been shared more than 3,000 times.

“I’m really encouraged by how many people have donated,” said Ngoc Anh Nguyen, a doctor in Houston who created the GoFundMe page.

Related: BLM gives hope to Wales family seeking justice for Black teen’s death

“At first it was only Vietnamese Americans, or Vietnamese people donating,” Nguyen said. “Then it went to people in other countries, people in other states, and then non-Vietnamese people who literally have no bone in this fight.”

She said the billboard controversy has sparked difficult conversations in their community, particularly among young people and their parents, who are more likely to be conservative.

Evolving conversations on race

Bao Huong Hoang, 35, is one of the many Vietnamese Americans in Houston who support Nguyen Le and Black Lives Matter. She’s an administrative director of protocol research at MD Anderson Cancer Center and generally steers clear of controversial topics, like race, with her parents.

But, she said, earlier this week, she sat down for dinner with her parents and her mom mentioned the billboard out of the blue.

“She said ‘you know about that billboard, I’ve been hearing in the Vietnamese radio they’ve been talking about it’ and she said, ‘initially it made me very uncomfortable,’” said Hoang.

Her mom told her about the media reports showing people of all different races supporting the Black Lives Matter billboard.

Yesterday, a small group of us, including Rep. @HubertVo149 and CM @TiffanyForAlief ruined a perfectly nice ANTI-#BlackLivesMatter event.

They tried to tell us they cancelled it when we showed up.

But we stayed to represent SW Houston and to stand against the racists & bigots. pic.twitter.com/8iZWGQQCci

— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) July 12, 2020

Related: Statue of Black protester replaces toppled UK slave trader

“She said she saw all these different faces, masked faces, but faces out at the protest. She said she’s had a change of heart. She said she thinks it’s now a good thing,” Hoang said.

Hoang said she’s pleasantly surprised to see her mother change her mindset.

Jacqueline Dan’s mother was less supportive when she found out her daughter was a supporter of the billboard. Dan’s mother, who lives in Houston, questioned her daughter when she saw her name on the GoFundMe page.

“She said, ‘the Vietnamese community… does not like this billboard,’” Dan said.

Her mom argued that Vietnamese stores are targeted by Black people. But Dan, who works as an immigration attorney at the public defender’s office in Orange County, California, rebutted. 

“I represent the people who [are accused of] break[ing] into Vietnamese stores and homes — and they speak Vietnamese,” Dan said.

These divisions are not uncommon in Asian American families, especially among the first and second generations, according to Janelle Wong, who studies Asian American public opinion at the University of Maryland.

“Those who are older or first-generation tend to be more conservative when it comes to racial justice issues than our younger people.” 

Janelle Wong, University of Maryland

“Those who are older or first-generation tend to be more conservative when it comes to racial justice issues than our younger people,” Wong said.

In the last 5 1/2 years, she’s seen a small but vocal minority emerge that aggressively opposes racial justice.

But nearly 75% of Asian American voters she polled in 2016 said the US government should do more to enforce equal rights for Black people in the country. And, she said, there are many older Asian Americans who have paved the way for the younger generation.

“The community as a whole is — among adults — 73% foreign-born, and we actually see that group is still more progressive than white Americans as a whole in terms of their ideas about race,” said Wong.

Nguyen Le said even though his 70-year-old mother was upset about the billboard — especially the attacks it spurred toward her son — he saw her opinion of its message “Black Lives Matter” evolve.

“I explained to her [that I had to do something] when I watched a grown man call out for his mama after his last breath,” Le said. “She finally understood that.”

Le said his mom’s own fear for her son’s safety made her realize why he could no longer remain silent on anti-Black racism.

Editor’s note: This article is republished from Houston Public Radio through a partnership sharing agreement. Read the original article

K-pop and Chinese hip-hop artists grapple with their responses to BLM 

K-pop and Chinese hip-hop artists grapple with their responses to BLM 

Given the Black roots of hip-hop, rap, K-pop and other musical genres, BLM is hard to ignore, but artists must straddle all kinds of considerations including restraints on freedom of expression in their respective countries. 

By
Rebecca Kanthor

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A dancer performs during breakdancing competition in Shanghai, April 27, 2013.

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Carlos Barria/Reuters

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Chinese American rapper Bohan Phoenix used to think that fighting racism just meant treating everyone with respect.

But after he was verbally abused on a New York subway earlier this year, as fears of the coronavirus led to racially charged attacks on Asians in the US, he felt he needed to be more proactive — and vocal — about standing up for people.

“COVID[-19], really, in a twisted way, gave me a slight glimpse of what it might be like to be a Black person in America.”

Bohan Phoenix, Chinese American rapper

“COVID[-19], really, in a twisted way, gave me a slight glimpse of what it might be like to be a Black person in America,” he said. “Also, the momentum of seeing everything happening around me, especially in New York, there was no way that with everything that was happening, that I could have sat still and just kept thinking, ‘Oh, I just need to be nice to every person.’”

    View this post on Instagram         

Yo shout out to my mom for hand making this crazy dope keyboard cake 🔥🎂🥰 She just made an IG account @yumeibakery please show her some love or order some custom cakes or just say waddup to mama Phoenix! But yo @m_audio what’s good tho???! 😁😁

A post shared by BOHAN 博涵 (@bohanphoenix) on Jul 25, 2020 at 9:32am PDT

In the past few months, he’s become more active and outspoken, going to Black Lives Matter protests, learning more about the civil rights struggle, donating money to social justice causes and using social media to encourage others to do the same. But he’s been struggling to find a way to make music that reflects this experience.

Related: Family of detained Chinese activist calls for his release

These are issues that many other artists of Asian ethnicity are grappling with in the US and around the world. Given the Black roots of hip-hop, rap, K-pop and other musical genres, BLM is hard to ignore, but artists straddle all kinds of considerations including restraints on freedom of expression in their respective countries. 

“It’s a weird time to make music because I can’t write anything that’s not about what’s happening right now [— ] but for me to put that out as a song, that feels weird, too.”

Bohan Phoenix, Chinese American rapper

For Bohan Phoenix, it affects him personally, and in his approach to music: “It’s a weird time to make music because I can’t write anything that’s not about what’s happening right now [— ] but for me to put that out as a song, that feels weird, too.”

Recently, Bohan Phoenix and Jamel Mims, an American rapper who spent years in China and performs as MC Tingbudong, did a broadcast on Instagram talking about Asian communities and Black Lives Matter. The two shared their experiences, traded rhymes and talked about what the role of hip-hop artists should be.

    View this post on Instagram         

NO FASCIST POLICE STATE 📸@meldcole Emergency protest Swipe 👉🏾👉🏾👉🏾 for details Quick story: I first met the homie @meldcole in 2008- spending a night in jail together after an incident of police brutality in Boston. I had just got accepted to the @the_fulbright_program, and I was at a street wear party with @cyberamaris & @sabel_boo that was broken up the cops – and as we left the scene- the pigs followed us and attacked us. They pepper sprayed the homie @vncnt_mchl, dragged @donedealwil around in handcuffs, dragged me into the streets right out of Amaris’ arms, and snatched up Mel, smashing his camera to try to destroy the evidence. Days later I got a call from the State Dept. – naively thinking they would rush to the defense of one of their scholars – but instead saying my grant would be in jeopardy because of a “run in with the law”… From that incident, I learned police brutality was systemic – but it wasn’t until I linked with the @therevcoms in NYC, that I learned that you need a revolution to actually deal with the oppression of black people. Fast forward to now, with a fascist in the White House, and protestors being snatched off the streets by Trump’s #gestapo for demanding #BlackLivesMatter, it’s clearer than ever. Shoutout to Mel for seriously stepping up in this period, and not just documenting, but fighting on the frontlines. This is a time when we have to marshal every nonviolent tactic to drive out this regime, as part of breaking through to a revolution that can end this brutality and oppression for real. It’s gonna take ALL of us✊🏿

A post shared by JAM NO PEANUT 《MC 听不懂》 (@jamnopeanut) on Aug 1, 2020 at 10:37am PDT

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In collaboration with @blacklivitychina, @bohanphoenix and @jamnopeanut discuss Black Lives Matter and Asian communities. Since the start of the latest Black Lives Matter protests in the US and around the world, discussion has swirled for weeks in both the media and on online platforms in the Chinese mainland.⁠ Within China’s hip hop community — which many feel owes its success to the genre’s origins in Black culture — reactions have varied widely. Some of the most well-known rappers from China have been largely silent on the issue, while others have been passionately outspoken. And beyond the world of hip hop, the movement has raised many questions around Asian communities’ support of Black Lives Matter.⁠

A post shared by RADII (@radii.china) on Jul 12, 2020 at 7:03am PDT

 

Rita Fan, a hip-hop writer, penned an article on the small minority of Chinese hip-hop artists speaking up in support of Black Lives Matter. 

Most big hip-hop stars have stayed silent, according to Fan. That’s because mainstream hip-hop in China today isn’t rooted in any fight for social justice, she said.

Related: Farmers become social media stars on Chinese TikTok

“Young people maybe just see, ‘Oh, this is trendy. This is fashionable, and this seems so cool. It makes money.’”

Rita Fan, hip-hop writer

“Young people maybe just see, ‘Oh, this is trendy. This is fashionable, and this seems so cool. It makes money,’” she explained.

For the past two decades, hip-hop had an underground following in China. Then, three years ago, an online TV show, “The Rap of China,” changed all that.

“The first season of ‘The Rap of China’ popped up and just exploded everything,” she said.

The online TV show brings in millions of viewers and has launched huge careers for many new artists. Bohan Phoenix said these artists and fans embrace the look and sound of hip-hop, rooted in Black culture, without learning the history.

“They completely sanitized it. There wasn’t a single episode talking about the origin of hip-hop. There are Chinese kids effectively seeing dreads on Asian kids for the first time. There’s Chinese kids listening to hip-hop for the first time from Chinese people.”

Bohan Phoenix, Chinese American rapper

“They completely sanitized it,” he said. “There wasn’t a single episode talking about the origin of hip-hop. There are Chinese kids effectively seeing dreads on Asian kids for the first time. There’s Chinese kids listening to hip-hop for the first time from Chinese people.”

Related: Racism against African Americans in China escalates amid coronavirus

That’s similar to K-pop in Korea, says Hye Jin Lee, who is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

“So, even in Korea, there’s not a whole lot of political connotation in the music or in the performance of hip-hop,” she said. “It’s more of a commercial tool to express one’s so-called swag and coolness.”

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death after a white, Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, some K-pop, and Korean and Chinese hip-hop artists posted on social media in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Korean fans could read along in real-time what K-pop stars were posting on Instagram and Twitter, which are popular platforms in Korea. But Chinese fans couldn’t read what was being said by the biggest Asian American hip-hop label 88rising, and its stars Higher Brothers, on social media platforms that are banned in China. And 88rising stayed silent on Weibo, China’s social media site.

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no worries.

A post shared by 88rising (@88rising) on Jul 24, 2020 at 11:34pm PDT

Lee said overall, the K-pop industry is more connected to Black culture in the US than is Chinese hip-hop.

“First of all, the K-pop industry itself is built on Black music and also because K-pop’s popularity in the States owes heavily to the African American fans here,” she said.

With only 51 million people in Korea, K-pop has had to be more outward-facing. It’s now a global industry with K-pop artists all over the world, like Jay Park, based in America. Lee said that the global nature of K-pop helps to explain why the band BTS and its management company, Big Hit Entertainment, donated a million dollars to Black Lives Matter.

One reason why big Chinese stars may shy away from speaking out is that discussing politics in China is tricky. And with the Hong Kong protests becoming a flashpoint between the US and China, staying quiet might seem the safest bet to avoid problems with authorities and fans who are keeping tabs.

Related: America’s BLM protests find solidarity in South Korea

The most vocal support for BLM has come from hip-hop artists with a smaller, more underground following. Fan, the hip-hop writer, said that hardcore hip-hop fans knew which artists would speak up.

“Because they speak up not only for Black Lives Matter movement but also for other social issues in China. Because they care about society. They care about others.”

Rita Fan, hip-hop writer

“Because they speak up not only for Black Lives Matter movement but also for other social issues in China. Because they care about society. They care about others,” Fan said.

The Beijing rapper, Saber, put out an unofficial music video on Weibo with a long statement. He also has a song, “We are Hip Hop,” which includes lyrics that share his response to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“We’re all human regardless of our race or nationality,” he raps, wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey. “If you empathize, then you must fight for freedom. If oppression exists, we must speak up.”

Nasty Ray, another underground Beijing rapper, recently put out a Black Lives Matter mixtape for his fans which included songs by Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Childish Gambino. Inside the mixtape CD case, the words, “Love Black People Like You Love Black Culture,” is in giant letters.

“Since I was young I’ve been influenced by Black music. I’m a rapper and a DJ so I should use my music to express my support for Black people. I chose songs for the mixtape that would talk about the inequality Black people face,” he told The World via text message.

Major Chinese hip-hop stars may never acknowledge the debt they owe Black artists for the music that’s made them famous. But rappers like Saber, Nasty Ray and Bohan Phoenix are beginning to use their music as a platform to educate their fans about social justice and the history of hip-hop — something they’re continuing to learn themselves. 

Fair & Lovely cream gets a makeover in India, but will it change prejudice?

Fair & Lovely cream gets a makeover in India, but will it change prejudice?

By
María Elena Romero

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A customer picks up Fair & Lovely brand of skin lightening product from a shelf in a shop in Ahmedabad, India, on June 25, 2020.

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Amit Dave/Reuters

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Last week, consumer giant Unilever announced it will rebrand its bestselling skin-lightening cream, Fair & Lovely, and drop the word “fair” from its name in the latest makeover of the brand in response to global backlash against racial prejudice.

Unilever also said it will remove the words “fair/fairness,” “white/whitening,” and “light/lightening” from its branding and packaging.

Related: ‘Unfair and lovely’: South Asian women dare to be dark

“We recognize that the use of the words ‘fair,’ ‘white’ and ‘light’ suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we don’t think is right, and we want to address this,” Sunny Jain, president of Unilever’s beauty and personal care division, said in a press release.

Unilever and its Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Unilever Limited, have been criticized extensively for promoting colorism — the discrimination against people with darker skin tones — and for making women with darker skin shades feel insecure and inadequate.

In India, the biggest market for Fair & Lovely, marketing campaigns for skin whitening products have emphasized light skin as a positive quality. The products have been endorsed by leading Bollywood celebrities, as well as other youth icons.

Related: Author Mira Jacobs reflects on raising a brown boy in America today

The Fair & Lovely cream — and colorism — is something Mumbai-based documentarist Richa Sanwal has been familiar with since she was a child growing up in India.

Sanwal welcomes the news from Unilever, but says more needs to be done to change the stigma associated with a darker skin tone that has been perpetuated by skin lightening products.

“I do think it is a symbolic message and a step in the right direction. However, a lot of us here feel like that’s not entirely addressing the social stigma that comes with these creams because essentially you’re still selling a fairness cream brand, just packaging it as not Fair & Lovely, but whatever it is they come up with,” Sanwal told The World. “So essentially we’re still selling that same dream, just packaging it differently.”

Related: Born a crime: Talking with Trevor Noah about race and identity

As a child, Sanwal’s family members, especially her grandma, usually commented on her skin tone in comparison to that of her cousins, who had lighter skin.

As a journalism student at New York University (NYU) in 2014, Sanwal produced a documentary titled “In All Fairness” about her personal story and colorism. In it, she documents her  journey, speaking with family members about how comments about her skin tone affected her as a child and as an adult.

Sanwal says the conversations with her grandmother were not comfortable, but they were “therapeutic and cathartic” for her.

“My grandmom was born when the British were still ruling India. And I think [that idea] comes from there, that white is superior and you’re being light-skinned is the way to be. And my grandma would inevitably, just keep comparing me to my lighter-skinned cousins. And that’s why I decided to use those creams myself, you know, in order to please her and to get validation from people around me, just to be called pretty like my cousins,” Sanwal said. 

Sanwal says that the perception that “fair is beautiful” is deeply ingrained in Indian society and that will take a lot of time to change. 

“A lot of Bollywood actors who endorsed fairness cream brands were called out after Black Lives Matter protests began in the US about their own hypocrisy. They were all supporting Black Lives Matter movement, but at the same time, they were also endorsing fairness cream brands,” Sanwal said. “So I really hope that the awareness that we’re trying to spread through the documentary work that I have done or all the amazing activists that we have in our country will collectively, hopefully, create that change.”

Listen to the full interview with Richa Sanwal by clicking on the play button above.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Black Lives Matter protests renew parallel debates in Brazil, Colombia

Black Lives Matter protests renew parallel debates in Brazil, Colombia

Across the Americas, police violence disproportionately targets young black men. The protests sparked by George Floyd's death in Minneapolis have shined a new light on police brutality in South America.

By
Jorge Valencia

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A demonstrator wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), holds a sign that reads “George Floyd, justice” during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd and the arrival of US troops in Colombian territory, in Bogotá, Colombia, on June 3, 2020.

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Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters

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One week before George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, a young black man was fatally assaulted by police outside his home in a small town in southwestern Colombia.

Anderson Arboleda, 19, was chased by two police officers for breaking the pandemic curfew in the town of Puerto Tejada on May 20, his mother Claudia Ximena Arboleda said. When the officers caught up to him, they beat him over the head with batons and doused him in pepper spray. He died the next morning in a local hospital. 

Arboleda, like many teenagers, loved eating, listening to music and hanging out with friends. And, according to human rights advocates, he died the way too many young black Colombians do: at the hands of the police. But it wasn’t until after a video of Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis went viral that Arboleda’s death became mainstream news in Colombia. 

“It was strange for us seeing how these two stories went viral. The news media were doing special reports about George Floyd before they said anything about Anderson and the type of things that go on in our own country all the time.”

Alí Bantú Ashanti, attorney and director, Justicia Racial

“It was strange for us seeing how these two stories went viral,” said Alí Bantú Ashanti, an attorney in Bogotá who directs Justicia Racial, a human rights group. “The news media were doing special reports about George Floyd before they said anything about Anderson and the type of things that go on in our own country all the time.” 

While the history of police violence is different in every country, one common denominator across the Americas is officers’ disproportionate targeting of young black men. Floyd’s killing — and the protests it ignited worldwide — have given new life to debates over racial profiling in Colombia and Brazil.

Related: In France, the killing of George Floyd evokes the memory of Adama Traoré

In Colombia, young Afro Colombians face harassment from the police every day, Bantú Ashanti said. But their marginalization is wide-reaching. Afro Colombians have less access to health care and higher education and are more likely to live in poverty than the rest of the population. 

“Colombia is particular in the way that racism has always been denied,” Bantú Ashanti said. “When we point this out, mainstream society says that we’re being resentful and that we’re calling out an issue that doesn’t exist.”

This is likely a legacy of the deep historical roots of colonialism and enslavement across the continent. While the United States institutionalized discrimination through Jim Crow laws that lasted until the 1960s, former Spanish and Portuguese colonies never formally legalized it. 

“That kind of overt legal separation segregation did not occur in the modern Latin American republics. What you have instead in their case are ideas that tended to downplay discrimination and segregation.”

Jerome Branche, a Latin American literature professor, University of Pittsburgh

“That kind of overt legal separation segregation did not occur in the modern Latin American republics,” said Jerome Branche, a Latin American literature professor at the University of Pittsburgh who focuses on racialized modernity. “What you have instead in their case are ideas that tended to downplay discrimination and segregation.”

For example, in mainstream Brazil, it has long been believed that people of all races have equal access to opportunities. It’s a notion known as “racial democracy,” which for Paula Barreto, a sociologist at Federal University of Bahia in northern Brazil, has always has been and continues to be a myth.

Related: How one protester’s death by Colombian riot police polarized the movement

“Yes, we have color lines, we have racial segregation and we have racial inequalities,” Barreto said. “We have more black people concentrated in poor neighborhoods where the police are used to killing people.”

This is despite the work of Brazil’s modern black rights movement. In recent years, the Black Coalition for Rights has successfully campaigned against reversing affirmative action policies and against bills seeking to give the police more protections, as Americas Quarterly has reported.

But still, the recent protests in the US have helped bring attention to Brazil’s issue of racialized policing, Barreto said. Numerous statistics show about 3 of every 4 people killed by the police are black men. Barreto hopes the newly revived debate will inspire the country to do more for the civil rights of Afro Brazilians, she said.

“The American opinion and the international opinion about Brazil, in general, is important for Brazilians,” Barreto said. “Brazilians don’t want to see themselves as racists, and they don’t want to see their country associated with homicides of the black population.”

America’s BLM protests find solidarity in South Korea

America’s BLM protests find solidarity in South Korea

On Saturday, around 100 demonstrators walked through downtown Seoul in protest of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in what was perhaps the first showing of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the nation.

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Jason Strother

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Protesters in Seoul, South Korea, rallied in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement on June 6, 2020. 

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Calls for racial justice in the US are compelling some South Koreans to point out xenophobia in their own country and reexamine decades-old tensions between black and Korean communities.

On Saturday, around 100 demonstrators walked through downtown Seoul in protest of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in what was perhaps the first public showing of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the nation.

Marchers held signs in Korean and English with slogans denouncing racial discrimination while some of the event’s expat participants chanted, “No justice, no peace.”

Related: US may be violating international law in its response to protesters, UN expert says

Even though South Korea is largely ethnically homogenous, it has a growing and diverse immigrant community. And as that population increases, some worry that widely held suspicion toward foreigners could incite the kinds of abuse seen in other, more multicultural parts of the world.

“Racism happens here in Korea. Whether they are from China, black or other immigrant workers, they are mocked and looked down on.”

Shim Ji-hoon, protest organizer

“Racism happens here in Korea,” said Shim Ji-hoon, who organized the weekend protest. “Whether they are from China, black or other immigrant workers, they are mocked and looked down on.”

Speaking to the crowd over loudspeakers, Shim says he worries that if these concerns aren’t addressed soon, “what happened to George Floyd could happen here, too.”

Demonstrations across America, as well as in cities such as London, Paris and Sydney, have highlighted the injustice felt by many black or other minority communities in those countries. But for many South Koreans, the protests and reports of coinciding violence and vandalism echo previous unrest that put the African American community at odds with the Korean diaspora in the US.

Resentment held by some Koreans toward black Americans can be traced back to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which erupted following the police beating of Rodney King and the subsequent acquittal of the officers involved in the incident, some observers say.

Michael Hurt, who lectures on cultural theory at the Korea National University of Arts, says during that time, many South Koreans watched lopsided television news reports about the damage inflicted on Korean American business owners in LA without much discussion of the underlying causes of the riots.

“Back then, Korean media tended to be much more ethno-nationalist. The news tended to heavily lean on how does this affect Koreans who own businesses that were destroyed.”

Michael Hurt, Korea National University of  Arts

“Back then, Korean media tended to be much more ethno-nationalist,” he said. “The news tended to heavily lean on how does this affect Koreans who own businesses that were destroyed.”

Hurt explains Korean reporters omitted the views of African Americans in their coverage.

“You might want to interview a black person, but that didn’t happen in ’92,” he said.

A demonstration in Seoul called out racial injustice in the US and xenophobia in South Korea, June 6, 2020. 

Credit:

Jason Strother/The World 

South Korean media still report on how the present-day demonstrations impact Korean-owned businesses in the US.

But Hurt says, unlike coverage from nearly 30 years ago, journalists now are offering more context in their dispatches from US cities and doing an overall better job explaining the history of American racism for Korean audiences.

Related: Protesters worldwide face controversial police tactics

And because South Koreans now consume more media from around the world, Hurt says they’ve been made more aware of black culture and social justice issues.

“There’s a broader exposure and a more sympathetic view these days,” he said.

Despite these advancements, some watchdog agencies say more improvements are needed to reduce prejudice toward all minorities in South Korea.

A survey released earlier this year by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea found that seven out of 10 foreign residents say they have experienced some form of discrimination. And in a 2018 report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concerns over the safety of asylum-seekers, marriage migrants and immigrant laborers living in South Korea.

Foreign athletes have also reportedly been victims of racist hate mail and death threats, including two US-born black basketball players.

Foreign nationals account for nearly 5% percent of South Korea’s total population of approximately 52 million, according to government data.

In light of the ongoing racial justice protests, some South Koreans are reflecting on what they can do to make a difference.

Related: Former CIA analyst sees parallels between Trump protest response and social unrest abroad

Lee Sa-rang, who works for an education consultancy that helps college students enter US schools, says it’s time for Koreans “to take a stand.”

“I think Korea, because it’s so homogeneous, it’s easy to stick out if you’re different. Just calling out the elders in my family who make racist remarks” is one small way to fight racism.

Lee Sa-rang, who works for an education consultancy

“I think Korea, because it’s so homogeneous, it’s easy to stick out if you’re different,” the 32-year-old said, adding, “Just calling out the elders in my family who make racist remarks” is one small way she has found that she can fight racism.

Ko Na-eun, a 17-year-old high school student, says she and a friend plan to open a booth in Seoul to provide information about George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“If they [Koreans] are more aware of what’s happening in the US, I feel like it would help them reflect on what they’ve done in the past when they saw foreigners in Korea,” she said.

Ko, who returned to Korea this year after her Connecticut boarding school was closed due to the coronavirus, says some Koreans have prejudices too, and some don’t understand why they should care about the racism experienced by African Americans.

Related: Police killing of George Floyd strikes a chord in Kenya

But protesters in the US have found an unexpected ally in South Korea: K-pop superstars.

Bands like BTS have joined the Black Lives Matter movement, expressing messages of support on social media.

우리는 인종차별에 반대합니다.
우리는 폭력에 반대합니다.
나, 당신, 우리 모두는 존중받을 권리가 있습니다. 함께 하겠습니다.

We stand against racial discrimination.
We condemn violence.
You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter

— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) June 4, 2020

BTS has also donated $1 million to help BLM demonstrators and called on fans to match the group’s contribution.

There’s a cultural connection here, says Bernie Cho, who heads the DFSB Kollective, a music promotions agency in Seoul.

“With a lot of Korean music artists, there’s a deeper respect of the importance and impact that black culture has had on not only their personal but professional lives.” 

Bernie Cho, DFSB Kollective

“With a lot of Korean music artists, there’s a deeper respect of the importance and impact that black culture has had on not only their personal but professional lives,” Cho said.

K-pop fans from across the globe have also hijacked racist hashtags on Twitter by overwhelming these threads with videos of their favorite performers. 

Rianne, a 25-year-old protester who only wanted her first name used, joined Saturday’s demonstration in Seoul. She says that as a black woman from California, she has experienced similar forms of racism in Korea as she has in the US, such as people uninvitingly touching her hair.

But she says she gives Koreans a little more leeway for these kinds of acts than she would for people back home because of the two countries’ very different histories.

She says she was very happy to see so many people expressing concern for African Americans at the rally.

“I am so glad that people came together for this cause,” she said. “It’s not just an American issue; it’s global, and we need to fight together.” 

Meek Mill – Stay Woke lyrics

[Intro]
How I keep from going under?
It’s like a jungle outside
Sometimes I wonder
How I keep from going under

[Verse 1: Meek Mill]
We scream, “Black Lives Matter,” but we still toting ladders
Watching our own brothers trying to get at us
Dreams get shattered when a scene full of crackers
And they charge you with some sh*t you ain’t do
You like what happen
We go get lawyers to say sh*t, we don’t know how to talk
They told us to hate each other before we learn how to walk
Momma taught you how to fight, fight, before she taught you how to write, write
And daddy locked down in the cell, can’t kiss you night, night
Ma, she’s under the bed every night, feel like it’s fright night
Coke fumes in the air, mama holding on that pipe tight
And you catching contact, but never mind that
In a world where Black is wrong and white right
It’s like a combat, we go to war for our freedom, they say we equal
I used to wanna play like Randall and be an Eagle
I used to play the quarterback, my dog would go receiver
That was ’til ball got flat by a dope needle on the pavement
It’s amazing, this environment we was raised in
On them papers, one mistake and getting caged in
You gotta feel me, feel like the system trying to kill me
Got arrested and the charges F1 for popping wheelies, stay woke

[Chorus: Miguel]
It was designed for us to fail
Still prevail through the hell
Though it was designed for us to lose
To make it through nothing’s impossible
Believe it we’re still undefeated

[Verse 2]
Picture me ten years younger with some tats on my face
Taking a bunch of Xannys with the strap on my waist
Pointing at the camera like mama ain’t teach me manners
Moving a little rock like I’m heading to Alabama, no, wait
I can’t judge them, I’m just trying to understand them
Cause I used to pop Percs, pouring purple in my Phantom
Had me swerving in my Phantom like I’m running from my dreams
I was heading for the slammer, I was planting all the seed for them to bury me
I had my whole family mad at me
Feel deep in love with the game and it married me
Judge said, “I’ll give you a chance, just don’t embarrass me”
Motivating these little niggas is like a charity
Community service even though they knew we was working
They did this to me on purpose, ’cause I ain’t moving too perfect
I stay away from them clowns, watch how I move through the surface
Cause they be weighing you down, even some of them dudes in your circle

[Chorus: Miguel]
It was designed for us to fail
Still prevail through the hell
Though it was designed for us to lose
Nothing, nothing, nothing’s impossible
Believe it, we’re still undefeated

[Verse 3: Meek Mill]
How can I pledge allegiance to the flag
When they killing all our sons all our dads?
I come from a place
When you kill your own brother you can brag
Like he got bodies, but that’s a fad, no, that’s a fact
I’m screaming out at your corner, nigga, that’s a trap
Screaming out, that’s your homie, nigga, that’s a rack
Catch a case with him, bet he crack
Odds against you and they double stack stay woke
Bought my mama a new crib, that’s some gangster sh*t
Niece and nephews walking around wearing minks and sh*t
Keep the hood motivated, this the thanks I get
Try to Ja Rule the kid on some Wanksta sh*t
But that’s impossible ’cause I’m unstoppable
The label can’t drop me, nigga, I’m too valuable
You thought I would lose but I won and that bothered you
Still move around in Philly just like the mobsters do
When I talked to Em and Hov, they said, “I’m proud of you
You stood tall when everyone doubted you”
My reply is, “I do what I gotta do
And I need that verse before you retire too”
Jumping all the obstacles, I’m way too wavy
Said I would lose but you way too crazy
Pick and choose either fame or the money fame will make you crazy
And the money will make them bad bitches say, “Thank you, baby”
You’re welcome

21 Savage – Nothing New

They thought I only rapped about murder and pistols
I’m tryna feed my family, I ain’t being political
You ain’t givin’ out money then they look at you pitiful
You make a couple million, niggas greedy, they envy you
Ayy, fuck that other side, we gon’ shoot up your Sprinter
I used to sell that crack and spray that MAC out that rental
Niggas run and hide when we roll down the window
Got a extendo and a hoodie, he can’t wait ’til December
Got a extendo and a hoodie, he gon’ shoot you on camera
Lost his faith in Jesus Christ, he prayin’ to a bandana
Police gunned his brother down, this shit too hard to handle
Loading up his chopper, he gon’ show ’em Black Lives Matter
Another nigga made the news, it ain’t nothin’ new
He done dropped outta school, it ain’t nothin’ new
He done got his first tool, it ain’t nothin’ new
Mama on that dog food, it ain’t nothin’ new
He smokin’ weed and he changin’, it ain’t nothin’ new
All his friends gang bangin’, it ain’t nothin’ new
Got a pocket full of hundreds and they all blue
Another nigga from the hood tryna ball too
Shit gettin’ outrageous
Treat us like slaves then they lock us up in cages
Young, black, poor, ain’t had a father since a baby
Why you think we skip school and hang out on the pavement?
Why you think we ridin’ ’round with choppers off safety?
Streets cutthroat, nigga, so I’m cutthroat
I used to sell dope, nigga, now I can’t vote
Poppin’ Percocets to kill the pain, I can’t cope
Anger in my genes, they used to hang us up with ropes
Civil rights came so they flood the hood with coke
Breakin’ down my people, tryna kill our faith and hope
They killed Martin Luther King and all he did was spoke
Welcome to the hood, yeah where niggas dyin’ at
Same place where the best chicken gettin’ fried at
Same place where the police killin’, tellin’ lies at
It ain’t just the babies, man, I swear the mama’s cryin’ now
Another nigga made the news, it ain’t nothin’ new
He done dropped outta school, it ain’t nothin’ new
He done got his first tool, it ain’t nothin’ new
Mama on that dog food, it ain’t nothin’ new
He smokin’ weed and he changin’, it ain’t nothin’ new
All his friends gang bangin’, it ain’t nothin’ new
Got a pocket full of hundreds and they all blue
Another nigga from the hood tryna ball too

Ice Cube – Good Cop Bad Cop

[Intro]
Break em off some
Yeah

[Verse 1]
Good cop, good cop fuckin’ wit that bad cop
What’cha doing boy? Turn in that blood clot
Buck shots they fly through drug spot
Robots can give a damn who the fuck shot
Clean cop, clean cop fuckin wit that dirty cop
Don’t act like yo ass never heard of that
Clean cop, clean cop fuckin wit that mean cop
Still trying act pride peacock
You know that mean cop might need detox
Mothafucka tried to blow me out me Rebox
But I swing like Jack and Bean stalk
Chop’em down when these bitches try to lock’em down
Hit the ground hit the turf
Warp the earth
Cube a kidnap your mind, Patty Herst
Bust a verse that a make yo ass hit reverse
Kill the curse that was placed on the universe
West Coast War Lord blacker then the Black Knight
Fuck a black & white when they ain’t actin’ right
Good cop, good cop filling out your report
Bad cop asking you to distort
Bad cop asking you to lie in court
Send another young brother up north
Send another young Sista off course
While them mothafuckas chill on the golf course

[Chorus]
Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black cop
Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black cop

[Verse 2]
Lazy cop fuckin wit that crazy Cop
Always bragging – bout the new case he got
Do or die cop with the suicide cop
Tell the truth cop wit that – "you a lie, cop!"
Are you fuckin high cop? Don’t even try cop
Ain’t no mothafucka drugs up in my spot
All you find in my closet is the high top
And my mothafuckin tickets to the skybox
Hold up nigga, I’m a rider
You a roller yep thee controller
Make me mad that’s when I get swole up
The Incredible Hulk is bipolar
Come out the cuffs knock off the rust
Throw my hands up you still wanna bust
The Trojan horse is full of excessive force
When they try to get aggressive nigga off the porch

[Hook]
Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black cop
Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black cop

[Verse 3]
Good cop, good cop, where is your dignity?
Where’s your empathy?
Where is your sympathy?
Bad cop, where’s your humanity?
Good cop, is that just a fantasy?
Hell on that nigga, snitch on that bitch
Truth be told, mothafuck the blue code
Fuck the po-po actin’ like Deebo
Already know Craig let the brick go
Black Lives Matter is not chit chatter
Cause all they wanna do, is scatter brain matter
A mind is a terrible thing to waste
A nine is terrible in your face
The mase has a terrible fuckin’ taste
The pen is a terrible fuckin’ place
The kings all hate the fuckin’ ace
The judge sabotaged my fuckin’ case
Racist motherfucker

[Outro]
Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black cop

Good cop bad cop – Ice Cube lyrics

Lyrics Ice Cube – Good cop bad cop

Good cop, good cop f*ckin’ wit that bad cop
What’cha doing boy? Turn in that blood clot
Buck shots they fly through drug spot
Robots can give a damn who the f*ck shot
Clean cop, clean cop f*ckin wit that dirty cop
Don’t act like yo a*s never heard of that
Clean cop, clean cop f*ckin wit that mean cop
Still trying act pride peacock
You know that mean cop might need detox
Mothaf*cka tried to blow me out me Rebox
But I swing like Jack and Bean stalk
Chop’em down when these b*tches try to lock’em down
Hit the ground hit the turf
Warp the earth
Cube a kidnap your mind, Patty Herst
Bust a verse that a make yo a*s hit reverse
Kill the curse that was placed on the universe
West Coast War Lord blacker then the Black Knight
f*ck a black & white when they ain’t actin’ right
Good cop, good cop filling out your report
Bad cop asking you to distort
Bad cop asking you to lie in court
Send another young brother up north
Send another young Sista off course
While them mothaf*ckas chill on the golf course.

Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black cop. (x2)

Lazy cop f*ckin wit that crazy Cop
Always bragging – bout the new case he got
Do or die cop with the suicide cop
Tell the truth cop wit that – “you a lie, cop!”
Are you f*ckin high cop? Don’t even try cop
Ain’t no mothaf*cka drugs up in my spot
All you find in my closet is the high top
And my mothaf*ckin tickets to the skybox
Hold up nigga, I’m a rider versuri-lyrics.info
You a roller yep thee controller
Make me mad that’s when I get swole up
The Incredible Hulk is bipolar
Come out the cuffs knock off the rust
Throw my hands up you still wanna bust
The Trojan horse is full of excessive force
When they try to get aggressive nigga off the porch.

Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black cop. (x2)

Good cop, good cop, where is your dignity?
Where’s your empathy?
Where is your sympathy?
Bad cop, where’s your humanity?
Good cop, is that just a fantasy?
Hell on that nigga, snitch on that b*tch
Truth be told, mothaf*ck the blue code
f*ck the po-po actin’ like Deebo
Already know Craig let the brick go
Black Lives Matter is not chit chatter
Cause all they wanna do, is scatter brain matter
A mind is a terrible thing to waste
A nine is terrible in your face
The mase has a terrible f*ckin’ taste
The pen is a terrible f*ckin’ place
The kings all hate the f*ckin’ ace
The judge sabotaged my f*ckin’ case
Racist motherf*cker.

Black police showin’ out for the white cop
White police showin’ out for the black coppp.
Ice Cube lyrics
Video cop