White cops beat down a Black motorist.Some other bloggers also have posts about twentieth anniversary, including the always thought-provoking The Korean. His includes a link to a KoreAm piece on oral histories of "4.29" (culturally and linguistically Koreanized as sa•igu) and a map of "destroyed and looted" businesses (which, methinks, should be two separates maps).
White cops acquitted despite being videotaped.
Angry Blacks riot and target Korean stores.
I'm somewhat simplifying things, of course, but there's a point: Prior to that, the only conceivable connection between Rodney King and anything or anyone Korean was that he was driving a Hyundai Excel (supposedly at 100 mph).
Given how badly the Los Angeles area Korean-American community was blindsided, I'd say it was prudent for kyopo across America (and other Asians, as the JACL said) to be at least a little concerned about a backlash against Koreans following the Seung-hui Cho massacre, though that sentiment was roundly mocked in the K-blogs two years ago.
In other words, the angry crowd that was hell-bent on venting their anger and rage was rather indiscriminate in its self-infliction. (And since many of the accounts say that outsiders in various neighborhoods were doing the damage, how would they know which businesses outside of Koreatown were owned by Koreans and which were not?)
Lam was leaving his family's market in Compton, which had been looted and burned the night before. The traffic signal at Willowbrook Avenue and Alondra Boulevard had turned yellow, and Lam slowed to a stop.The one Korean-American death was the tragic shooting of Edward Song Lee:
A car bumped him from the rear and pulled up in the next lane. At least two gunmen leaned out with handguns and began firing. One bullet shattered the truck's window; a volley of shots ripped into the cab. Four bullets hit Lam, and within minutes he was dead.
Edward Song Lee, an 18-year-old Asian man, was shot and killed Thursday, April 30, 1992, in Koreatown. Lee, a Korean American, was attempting to protect shops near 3rd Street and Hobart Boulevard when he was apparently shot by fellow Korean Americans who mistook him for a looter.In fact, Edward Lee was the only Asian person killed in Koreatown. The others were White or Hispanic, people like thirty-year-old Patrick Bettan:
Bettan, a security guard at a Koreatown mini-mall in the 2700 block of West Olympic Boulevard, was accidentally shot by a co-worker during a looting incident.Don't get me wrong, even though I believe careless gun handling contributed to these people's deaths, Mr Lee and Mr Bettan and the others were exceedingly brave for being where they are and their deaths ultimately fall upon the heads of those who had come to do damage and harm.
The 1993 South Korean film Western Avenue, starring Kang Suyŏn (강수연), later depicted the riots from the South Korean version of the Korean-American point of view.
As a California native with one foot in the Korean-American community and a few toes still in Compton, I still find the whole thing just so depressing. The warning signs were there long before, but people ignored them. All sides have some serious soul-searching to do, but instead we still get a lot of finger-pointing.