My Instagram and Facebook feeds have been filled with unwitting apologists for racism against Korean-American small-business owners.
Heckuva job, Hollywood!
Here’s how the poison is spreading. A savvy marketing team at Universal/Comcast Corp. developed a Web toy that allows social-media fans to customize the theatrical poster logo for the media giant’s new biopic, Straight Outta Compton. Hundreds of thousands of clueless users have uploaded photos of themselves and substituted “Compton” with the names of their hometowns.
Jennifer Lopez, Serena Williams, LeBron James, and Ed Sheeran are among the celebrities who helped make the meme go viral. Youth-vote-pandering GOP Florida senator Marco Rubio jumped on the cultural bandwagon, too, with two obsequious messages on Twitter featuring the hashtag “#straightouttacompton.” It’s a publicity coup for rappers-turned-multimedia moguls Dr. Dre (Andre Young) and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) as they pimp the movie — named after their breakthrough 1988 album — glorifying the rise of their band N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) and the hardcore gangsta rap genre.
The hagiographic movie, Straight Outta Compton, omits Young’s history of assaults on women and completely whitewashes Jackson’s incendiary attacks on Korean storeowners in South Central Los Angeles.
Straight Outta Compton’s cop-bashing, thug-promoting songs — most notably “F**k the Police” — vaulted Young and Jackson into the entertainment stratosphere. Young is a near-billionaire after becoming a producer, promoter, and maker of overpriced headphones (the company was bought by Apple for $3 billion last year). Jackson embarked on a successful career as a solo rapper, mainstream actor, and comedian.
Their hagiographic movie omits Young’s history of assaults on women and completely whitewashes Jackson’s incendiary attacks on Korean storeowners in South Central Los Angeles.
Shortly before the 1992 L.A. riots, Jackson had penned the hate-filled song “Black Korea” for his best-selling platinum solo album, Death Certificate. He seethed against law-abiding immigrant entrepreneurs in his ’hood and threatened to burn their stores “right down to a crisp”:
Every time I want to go get a f**king brew
I gotta go down to the store with the two
Oriental one-penny-counting mother***kers;
They make a nigger mad enough to cause a little ruckus.
Thinking every brother in the world’s out to take,
So they watch every damn move that I make.
They hope I don’t pull out a Gat, try to rob
Their funky little store, but, b*tch, I got a job.
So don’t follow me up and down your market
Or your little chop suey ass will be a target
Of a nationwide boycott.
Juice with the people, that’s what the boy got.
So pay respect to the black fist
Or we’ll burn your store right down to a crisp.
And then we’ll see ya . . .
’Cause you can’t turn the ghetto into black Korea.
The song was supposedly inspired by the shooting death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins, who was black, by Korean storeowner Soon Ja Du. The two had fought over a bottle of orange juice. The shopkeeper’s store had been robbed multiple times. Du was convicted of voluntary manslaughter but had her sentence reduced to probation based on extenuating circumstances; her store — like dozens and dozens in Koreatown — was burned down to the ground during the 1992 riots. Korean-American merchants were forced to arm themselves and defend their property after being abandoned by police. Many observers in both the Korean-American and black communities in L.A. cited “Black Korea” (not just the Rodney King verdict) as an inspirational spark for the conflagration that caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
Fast-forward to Baltimore and Ferguson, where rioters followed in these bigoted footsteps and targeted non-black–owned stores. Instead of condemning their actions, the New York Times celebrated the efforts of Crips, Bloods, and Black Guerilla Family gangsters who “stood in front of black-owned stores to protect them from looting or vandalism. He said they had made sure no black children, or reporters, were hit by rioters.”
Instead, they “pointed them toward Chinese- and Arab-owned stores.”
See no Asian-bashing evil in the inner city. Hear no Asian-bashing evil in the inner city. Speak no Asian-bashing evil in the inner city.
Ice Cube hasn’t ever had to answer for his violence-stoking bigotry. And apparently neither will the media and Hollywood co-conspirators who perpetuate it.