These recent immigrants came to the United States largely after the Civil War and the Jim Crow system of segregation and thus have no connection to the charges of continued institutional racism that some blame for the disturbances. Yet the New York Times reported April 27 that gang members in Baltimore had specifically “stood in front of stores that they knew were black-owned businesses to protect them from looting and vandalism,” pointing the rioters instead “toward Chinese- and Arab-owned stores.”
The Korea Times reported April 30, quoting the Korean-American Grocers Association International and the Korean Society of Maryland, that at least 40 Korean-owned businesses in Baltimore were damaged in the riots. One Korean-American-owned business, Fireside North lounge and liquor store, was set on fire, with its owner and the owner of another business, Uptown Liquor, reportedly sustaining injuries. The Associated Press stated that a total of 200 small businesses, many owned by Asian-Americans, were shut down as a result of damage caused by rioters.
WBAL added that masked intruders not only looted Freddie’s Liquor but beat up store owner Young Park. John Bang, the owner of Hopkins Beauty Supply, said he applied lessons he learned from the L.A. riots: He barricaded himself “with an arsenal of weapons.” He told WBAL, “I have registered firearms, a shotgun, AR-15, pistols.” Bang said that if rock-carrying looters tried to enter his business, “I would say ‘I’m armed! Don’t come in!’ And if they don’t believe me and became more aggressive, I would give them a warning shot.”
CNN carried a report on May 7 of a young Korean-American man viewing with shock a video of an older Korean woman sobbing in the ruins of her 30-year-old wig and beauty shop on Pratt Street that had been destroyed by looters. Her son, Matthew Chung, wrote on Facebook, “My parents came to this country with no money and worked hard to set up a little business that’s been in the same neighborhood in Baltimore City for over 25 years. But just in one night everything they have worked for is now all gone.”
Unfortunately for them, these Asian business owners don’t look like Obama’s son.