The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Black Citizens Council gets tacit Post approval

It's not only US government that gets rimmed by Washington Post what-passes-for-journalism.

Ombudsman Michael Getler yesterday highlighted a piece, Tempest in A T-Shirt, run on C1, whose tone and angle celebrates black racism.

At bottom, it's the old American story: immigrants set up new businesses that put existing businesses out of business by selling better and cheaper. In this case, Jung Won Kang and his Visionz urbanwear manufacturing business, latterly branching out, literally, into retail.

The existing outlets for urbanwear in Greater Chocolate City took exception to Kang's [1] opening up stores on their turf, and formed the Unity Clothing Association with a view to persuading Jung to go back whence he had come.

A comedian, one "Billy the Kid" Griffin, who endorsed the Visionz brand, was targeted with a hate campaign. And
at the Visionz store at Iverson Mall in Prince George's County, Griffin says, there was an ugly standoff between his supporters and someone passing out the association's fliers. It could have easily led to bloodshed. Griffin decided something had to give.

He gave up Visionz, I infer.

The organisation used flyers, from which is quoted
There is already a carryout and liquor store in every black community run by Asians. How long will we let them RAPE the Urban community? Wake Up! Don't be Bamboozled or Hoodwinked!

Nice, eh?

And there is clearly money to spend:
For those who'd already bought Visionz clothes, they offered amnesty: Customers could exchange Kang's Visionz brand T-shirt for a black-owned line, free of charge, "just like a gun buy-back program."

I think we can all spot the horse's head there.

Especially when coupled with this friendly warning:
We are hoping that Mr. Kang will just go back to making clothes," says Ronald "Mo" Moten, the community activist and concert promoter tapped to lead the Unity Clothing Association. "He'll realize what he did was wrong, and we can continue having a good relationship."

Now, imagine that Kang had come and set up business in a white town. And his competitors had got together an association with flyers claiming that Asians were raping the community and threats to those associated with the interloper.

Do you think that the Post would have published a softball piece legitimising their activity?

Getler's view on the criticism:
it could have used more context, comment and reportorial questioning.

There's even affirmative action for race-hate groups at the Post.

Talking of which, what race, I wonder, is Natalie Hopkinson? So far as one can tell from the style of the piece, it seems that she's black - or an Ali G-style wigger.

Is her race relevant? The impeccably liberal San Francisco Chronicle barred a lesbian reporter from covering the homo-marriage issue on conflict of interest grounds. Would the Post have put a Korean reporter on the story? Does the Post have any Korean reporters? How does the Post's affirmative action programme deal with Korean staff? Are they favoured, or penalised or not taken into account?

Getler complains (almost inaudibly) about the piece - and let's not forget that, whatever Hopkinson's race, it was the Post editors who are responsible for running the piece in the form in which it was run - tap-dancing around the race hatred revealed by the campaign against Kang. But it seems to me he himself is matching both Nicholas Brothers simultaneously on the race issue.

  1. In Korean, the family name comes first, like in Chinese. The piece calls him Mr Kang. This could be: because the Kang is his family name, and he reversed first and last names to accord with English practice; or because Jung is his family name, but it was too much hassle to point this out to Americans; or because the journo screwed up.


I'm moved to wonder about the racial composition of the Metro desk on the Post. Is there a policy, or discernible tendency, for black journos to be assigned to 'black' stories? Is pressure brought on Post editors by members of the black community for them to staff 'black' stories with black journos? (On the same grounds of racial exclusivity championed by the Unity Clothing Association.)


Whilst DC blacks are maintaining the great Yellow Peril tradition, interesting to recall an earlier manifestation in a case from Butte, MT (retailed on a NARA page):
In 1884, labor unions in Butte ordered Chinese immigrants to leave town, with no results. In 1891-92 and again in late 1896 during another nationwide depression, the labor unions boycotted Chinese-owned businesses as well as businesses employing Chinese, blaming the immigrants for the adverse economic climate. Union flyers promoting the boycott [GIFs of several examples linked from the page] were one means of notifying members and encouraging the general public not to patronize these establishments.

While many Chinese fled Butte, some merchants retaliated in federal court. In Hum Lay, et al. v. Baldwin, also known as the Chinese Boycott Case, an injunction to stop the boycott was sought by Chinese merchants....The case was heard in the Circuit Court of the United States, Ninth Circuit, District of Montana, and contrary to the prevailing public attitude of the time, the court ruled in favor of the Chinese plaintiffs....The union was ordered to stop their activities.

Strange that, when John Kerry was rimming the Boston policemen's union with much blowing of trumpets in the cause of the long history of Democratic solidarity with the trade unions, the longstanding enthusiasm of the unions for racial exclusion was somehow not part of that history that cropped up in the coverage.

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