Abuse.... verbal, physical.. with use of the law and all that is a human thing. It crosses cultures. But I have noticed some things about Chinatown. It seems like, just like many insular communities, that people tend to abuse insiders more than outsiders. This may be surprising to most white people. Because they assume the opposite.
For instance, I spent some time at a boxing club in South Boston. They were selling jackets and these old guys just bought them. It had the name of the club and a giant shamrock on the back. These old guys were so happy to be working out and trying to get healthy and were proud that they were doing a boxing workout and therefore super proud of these leather jackets which had a giant shamrock on the back.
"Hey! I'm gonna wear this to Chinatown!" one of them joked to another old guy.
The other guy shook his head, "Your gonna get machine gunned down!" They laughed. They were joking... but they sort of believed that to be true on some level. If they dared to go into Chinatown with those jackets they would suffer death.
In fact, as long as they were going to be spending money, a red carpet would be rolled out for them. The Shamrock Leather Jacket would not be noticed so much.. only as a curiosity to a waiter who might think it a curious design.
What I am saying is for white people (who are there to spend money and not be drunk assholes) Chinatown is like a paradise.
But here's an example of someone getting robbed. An old Chinese guy goes to a Mah Jong Parlor on Tyler Street. He wins. "yay!!" or rather, "song ah!!!"
He walks one block to Tai Tung Village where he lives, and is robbed by two men.... Chinese... who also live in Tai Tung village. In fact, he sees them all the time. They know he has money because somehow they know that he just won. "Song ah!" just totally became "pok gai." Why rob someone from the community?
Because they can get away with it. This old guy won't even report it to the police. He could. The robbery took place outside of the gambling den. But, it's sort of tricky isn't it? To go to the police.. if you still want to go to the gambling den later.
In other words, when Chinese commit crimes in Chinatown, white collar or street, it tends to be against other Chinese.
Now I have heard in the past (way back) that if you tried to sell drugs in China you would be driven out with machine gun fire. However that is also not the case anymore. In fact you have the lowest of the low going to do street level transaction in Chinatown because they can get away with it. It is open territory, as it were. Nobody controls it on the illegal side.
It seems that in Chinatown if anyone is abused, first of all it is usually not with a gun. (the last big event was 1991) And I've noticed a tendency for the abuser to be very close with the victim. They treat outsider with respect. If they want business from you, or they want you to move in as a tenant or they want you to help them with electrical work.. whatever, it is all smiles and politeness. You see the stereotypical humble Chinese Man or woman. You think, "Wow these are such great people, with such strong character. It must be their millenia of civilization that fostered such intrinsic moral behavior."
But then, pretty soon after you are actually their tenant, or you are done with whatever work it was, or they just feel comfortable enough with them for you to be considered "part of the family" as it were, people become assholes. It's like some broader version of domestic abuse. They will feel comfortable enough to shout and swear at you, and mistreat you and point their finger in you face and spit at you. Seriously.
I mean you see all these crazy shootings happening around the country for various reasons. I am shocked... just shocked... that more of that shit doesn't happen in Chinatown. I mean you see a lot of mental illness in the new comers who come over and are simply worked to hard, have bad living conditions and I don't know, worked restaurants in the suburbs and didn't have conversations with anyone for months.
I saw it when I worked at the bank. Certain people would come in and display bizarre behavior. The tellers would tell me, that they used to be normal, but they went nuts after a few years of "joh chahn goon." Working Restaurants. Okay most people don't go crazy I'm just saying that when someone does, people nod their heads. They don't act surprised. Hell, to tell you the truth, I was almost there too. My job wasn't that stressful but the totality of the circumstances with sleep deprivation added to the mix and I can tell you there were a couple of times when I did go off verbally. And again, it was because the people felt comfortable enough with me that they thought they could do that.
In Chinese culture, Respect is almost more important than familiarity. I mean people talk about the closeness of Hing Dai, brothers in arms. But Hing Dai don't live together yeah?
I'm sure for every example I have given there is a counter example. I've just noticed a tendency to respect the outsider more than the insider a lot, in Chinatown. In fact a lot of ABC's who do not have a white features like I do, cannot stand Chinatown for that reason. Whereas even though I am Chinese and certain things are said to me that wouldn't be said to a white person. There still may be a bit of a buffer or filter there.
What do you think? IS this similar to or different than other groups?
Let me know in the comments.