Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Asian Kid Defends Self and Gets Charged

(pic from here, double posted on bigwowo.)

I saw this on angryasianman. Apparently this Asian kid was getting bullied all year. The bully calls the Asian kid a f#$%ng Chinese," and when a shoving match breaks out, he punches the Asian kid in the face. The Asian kid happens to be a black belt in martial arts, and so he punches back. Knowing his fighting ability, he punches with his non-dominant hand and aims for the jaw, but he winds up hitting and breaking the bully's nose. His punch sends the bully to the hospital. Now the Asian kid is being charged with assault.

As a father, I worry about instances like this all the time. My daughter is not old enough to be fighting yet, and my son is best friends with the daycare bully, who happens to be a very large two year old (haha...reminds me of that movie My Bodyguard...), but it's something that sits at the back of my mind. I remember when I was growing up it was the exact same thing--racist White kid calls you a chink and gets physical, and when you try to defend yourself, the teacher punishes you while letting the bully walk. I wasn't a black belt in grade school (or right now, for that matter), and I'd usually lose most of my fights, but I remember it being the exact same thing--racist White kid starts the altercation with physical violence, racist teacher finishes it with institutional violence.

When I was in sixth grade, I had this one teacher named Mrs. P. (I'll protect Rice Daddies from any liability, though I feel no need whatsoever to protect the identity of this domestic terrorist) who would always, always take it out on me. I remember confronting her about why I always got punished while the bully didn't, and she said something along the lines of "Well, the other kids don't have any problems. Obviously it must be something with you."

Um, yeah, maybe that's because the other kids are White and don't have a miniature Himmler trying to test whether colored minorities bleed when punched in the face.

She said something like, "I don't have time to deal with your problems. You need to grow up."

Ooookay. If you don't have time to stop racial violence in your class, then why are my parents paying tuition at this school? Is that the someone else's responsibility? Mrs. P., are you moonlighting at another job, maybe shuffling papers or ironing white sheets for your local neighborhood KU KLUX KLAN???

Anyway, I'm glad kids are protesting. Everyone should have a right to defend himself. Some say that maybe the Asian kid should be punished by the school for fighting and breaking the rules, but I'd even disagree with this. I think he did a good thing by saying no to racism. In any case, under no circumstances should this be a criminal matter against the Asian kid alone--everyone has the right to defend themselves with justifiable force. Letting the bully get off scot-free is a governmental defense of racism.

This is another example of racism supported by an institution; in this case, the institution is the government which is bringing about these charges. I don't know the system in Canada, but in the U.S., you can sue the government when it abuses power like this. We may not be able to eradicate racism among individuals, but we definitely need to make sure that institutions are not supporting it. Best of luck to the protesters, and hopefully the government will do the right thing.

PS: A good way to make a loud statement would be for a wealthy Canadian American businessman to cover this kid's legal defense fees. It would show solidarity and displeasure with the system.

Edit: Good editorial here.

16 comments:

Jeve said...

Great post! Thankfully I went to a Catholic school in the Bay Area where a majority of the kids were fellow Filipinos so I never experienced racism. Good for the Asian kid for standing up for himself, but getting charged?! I'm glad that the protest is bringing attention to this obvious injustice.

John
http://johnandstevearehavingababy.blogspot.com

Obiwanhavanese said...

I'm glad that he's getting support from his school mates. Let's hope the charges are dropped and the bully won't pick on him ever again.

thisislarry said...

I agree with you in that I support the Asian kid's actions.

I disagree with bending the rules because you disagree with the underlying argument. I'm sure you wouldnt absolve the asian kid of manslaughter or murder if he somehow killed the original aggressor, but by suggesting the asian kid shouldnt be punished, you're setting down this slippery slope. racism is no excuse.

Both kids broke the rules by fighting, and while I think the asian kid getting charged is absurd, I think one deals with absurdity by taking on the charges rather than making them go away.

I hope that the asian kid gets his day in court, so that the racial issues get brought to the surface and addressed.

thisislarry said...

oh, and to give props to Canadian school kids, remember this:

http://ricedaddies.blogspot.com/2007/09/nova-scotia-in-house.html

-L

bigWOWO said...

Larry,

Good point about manslaughter.

I'd say that if he killed the racist dude by punching him, I'd think it was justified providing it was accidental, BUT I'd understand the need to get the police involved. Something like that requires some kind of investigation, much the same way doctors have to notify authorities when they treat gunshot wounds, even if it's just an accident. A broken nose on the other hand...I think that's just what happens from time to time. Especially when you assault a black belt.

I agree with taking on the charges. The only issue is that that can get expensive. Rich Asian donor, anyone?

Annie from Boston said...

Here's the follow up to what happened:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090504.wkeswick0504/BNStory/National/home

A step in the right direction, but the charges have yet to be released.

bigWOWO said...

I know this isn't going to happen, but I think it would be nice if someone paid the poor kid's legal fees.

By the way, I saw more of the follow up articles, and I think both the Korean dad and the Korean family's lawyers are handling this really well:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090430.wkeswick30art22312/BNStory/National/home"I don't want to run away. If another Asian kid comes to this school, what happens to him? Will he run into problems? Will they think they can just kick him out? I don't want to set that example," he said.

thisislarry said...

great to hear about the fellow students standing up for the Korean kid's situation!

blackbelt said...

When my brother got out of HS, he got a black belt. He'd beat the shit outta some of those ugly red-neck white guys he'd run into at bars. He did it for all of us. All of you.

Raiichu said...

Great post.
I don't agree with violence, nor bullying. You can't let the asian kid get away with physical violence with racism as an excuse, many of us are minorities at some stage and violence isn't the way the solve any problems.
That being said, the racist American kid needs to get schooled in some manners too.

In my opinion, both kids should have been punished... though getting charged is way too over the top?!!

Jae Young said...

Hum, the lawyer in me thinks the Asian child getting charged is problematic and probably racist. I looked at the article and the angryasianman blog post. Both kids suffered injuries so technically BOTH kids committed assault. Both kids should have been charged. The only distinction that could be made is the child's status as a black belt. Then his fists are arguably dangerous weapons. But even then, that just means the asian child committed a more serious offense, doesn't negate the preceding assault of the white child.

But yeah, in more direct vernacular, total bullshit. Bleeding in the mouth/cut lip is assault. Cross complaints should have been brought against both kids if ANY complaints were going to be brought at all. Tho if complaints were brought, it was by the injured party. So does this mean the white parents are being pushy while the Asian parents aren't? Hum, would be interesting to know. Glad that students are protesting the arrest, regardless.

Angelheaded hipster said...

I agree with the people protesting but I have to say that racism isn't as wide spread right now as it was in America. I'm not saying it doesn't exist and it doesn't happen but I have noticed that the older Asian people are more defensive and the younger people are starting to develop the belief that race really doesn't matter which is a wonderful thing. One example is that the older Asian people are more preoccupied with what it means to be Asian and are a bit more judgemental whereas the younger Asian folks haven't fallen into the trap of believing people of a certain race should behave a certain way. Believe me being called a 'twinkie' be another Asian would be more hurtful to your children than being called a 'chink'by a racist. We teach our children not to develop racist attitudes towards other race groups but we have a tendency to ignore our own groups.

Treifalicious said...

Why has no one here mentioned the similarity of this incident to the Jena 6 case a couple years ago in Louisiana? The case is not as extreme with attempted murder charges and such but the theme of unequal justice for non-whites is still definitely there. One short quote on a subsequent incident in the Jena 6 case:

"Bailey (one of the Black kids in the original incident) goes to the Gotta Go convenience store with some friends. One of the white students who beat him up (in the original tree incident) is at the store. After a confrontation, the white student pulls a shotgun from his truck. Three black students take the shotgun away from him and take it to the police department, reporting the incident. Bailey (Black) is later arrested for theft. The white student is not charged."

A timeline of the whole case is here (including a link to an article on teh history of Black men in teh American South): http://uspolitics.about.com/od/hotpoliticalissues/l/bl_jena6_timeline.htm

A shorter timeline:
http://bookchinshop.wordpress.com/2007/07/18/jena-6-a-brief-timeline/

This article from local New Orleans press points out the issue of having a "white tree" in the schoolyard that Black students had to ask permission to sit under: http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2007/07/10570.php

hater of bully said...

You people who badmouth that Korean kid for defending himself are blind, hypocritical, and self-righteous, goodie-goodies. The ones who really are hypocrites are the ones who think that the boy should be taken to court even though they agree that he shouldn't have been bullied. In other words, they can't make up their minds.

The bully deserved to get beaten up for what he did to his victim./ Anyone who punishes that kid for defending himself should be sued.

Suppose you have a loved one who gets bullied like crazy and he or she gets in trouble for it. You'd pay the price for not supporting him or her.

Seriously, what has this country come to?

If that Korean boy's reading this, I suggest that he look up the Australian guy who's as Casey Heynes because he (Casey) is famous getting back at his bully. Now that's a guy to be proud of.

at Raiichu said...

You should be ashamed of yourself for thinking that both the Korean kid and the bully should be punished. The Asian boy was defending himself even though how he did it isn't exactly the best method.

If I hadn't known any better, I'd say that you're an example of one of the things that's wrong with society: Punishing good and rewarding evil.

You ought to get punished for thinking that both the victim and his enemy should be punished. The victim has every right to defend himself. Adn taking that right away from him could result in dire consequences.

Even though violence isn't the best thing in the world, it's sometimes necessary. Since it's too hard to eradicate fully, it has to be coped with it at times.

I mean, how are you going to deal with violence if you live overly shletered from it?

Think about what I'm telling you if you read this.

raiichu said...

I agree with you that the child defended himself the best way he knew how, I don't think voilence is the way to solve anything and therefore he needs to understand that it's not the way to resolve his problems. I do agree that it's ridiculous for him to be charged when the bully has not suffered any consequences for his inappropriate behaviour.