Inside Black-Asian Violence--It’s Not About Race

Inside Black-Asian Violence--It’s Not About Race

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Editor's Note: Recent attacks on Asian Americans by black teenagers in San Francisco have led some to speculate that ethnic tensions in the city are on the rise. But one young man who was taught to rob Asians and Latinos in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood says race has nothing to do with it. Amanze Emenike, 22, is a content producer for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.

It’s gotten crazy in Hunters Point once again. A 57-year-old woman was attacked last month on a Muni T-line platform by a group of boys between the ages of 14 and 16. In January, an 83-year-old Chinese man was attacked on the same Third Street corridor. He died two months later in what is being investigated as a homicide.

In certain hoods, crime is almost a routine part of life. Crime is like death; it’s inevitable.

When I was introduced to the crime scene, I was put on to rob Asians and Latinos on Third Street. We specifically preyed on Asians and Mexicans, and wouldn’t do anything to African Americans.

If young people try to rob an old black person in Hunters Point, they usually don’t know who they are messing with and they can fall into beef with the victim’s family or community. Robbing African Americans, it’s more likely that the family will come back and harm the robber. So young people go after Chinese and Mexicans.

This stems from us being too comfortable in our neighborhood and thinking that because we are at home, we can’t get caught. It also has something to do with not having what others have and holding some type of deep grudge against them for it. Different people get involved in crime for different reasons. A young boy may have an alright life where he needs for nothing but still just wants to do it because he wants more stuff, or just thinks it’s cool. This is the reason I did what I did.

Others just don't have it and never did, from nice clothes to electronics and just an alright life. The ones who are from the broken homes where they had no chance from the womb are the ones who do it for everyday necessities. Like money to survive and all.

Five years ago, I was convicted of robbing a Chinese student in Hunters Point. I was charged with a hate crime. I was a little embarrassed because I had Chinese friends I was locked up with and they made it look like I was after Chinese people. I was glad when the charge was dropped because a hate crime shines a whole different light on you.

The reason Asian kids are getting robbed is because there is an assumption that young Chinese kids on Third Street are filthy rich and have an i-Pod or laptop on them. To a young, broke black male, the appeal of nabbing a few hundred dollars from some Asian kid’s pocket is even greater during this recession. The young homies in Hunters Point need money for shoes and clothes.

There are a lot of Chinese neighbors who are a big part of the community in Hunters Point. They are accepted as Hunters Point residents and treated just fine. A couple of the Chinese food restaurants are just as black as us. Not all Chinese people are targeted, and not all Latinos are targeted.