I came across this article recently about businesses being forced to cover up their signs in Malden.
Reading it, in my mind, I immediately wanted jump to the conclusion that race or ethnicity had something to do with it. After investigating further, however, I found that to jump to such a conclusion wouldn't necessarily be correct. But I was glad that I at least asked the question so that I could get an answer.
You might ask why I might jump to such a conclusion.
Before I started writing this blog I would hear about stuff in Quincy. How they didn't want a Chinese Supermarket to open up in a specific location, not because of race, but because of traffic or some other sort of excuse. Or there was that perception of tension when my friends went to do a Chinese dulcimer gig. Well more than a perception, they encountered a drunk man throwing F bombs at them about how the Chinese were moving in.
Then there was also that incident ( which also may not have been about race) where after one car was pulled over (the driver Asian the police offer white) and the other cars who were travelling with the car that was pulled over, also pulled over and then got out of the car and ran over to see what was wrong.
The Police Officer felt threatened and what happened was macing and taking down and that sort of thing.
At the time I was studying Criminal Justice and planning on being a cop and my Chinese friends asked me what I thought about it.
I could imagine feeling threatened as well because of multiple people running at me.
So actually I did not blame the cop in the situation. After all, nobody ended up dead like you see happening quite often. So if he were to be punished... it should be light, if at all.
However what happened was the opposite.
The three were arrested and even convicted by the judge of resisting arrest.
The judge... I blame. Though this happened so long ago and I heard about it mostly from here say that it would be interesting to re-examine this incident with hindsight. Also, at the time that I gathered all this info, I was not writing for the Chinatown Blog.
My point is that often times you hear these things on the street and when someone brings up the idea that, "It's cause we're Asian man" people will just go with it. Especially if you don't bother to inquire further.
When I read the article, because I AM now writing for the Chinatown Blog, I did inquire a little further.
I had the chance to interview the hero of the story, Councilor Ryan O'Malley, and get his take on it.
That interview will be coming up soon.
But what I realized in the process of looking into this story is that the Chinatown Blog, is an online space that will be place where you can ask these questions and discuss these issues, much the same way news would travel in person in Chinatown.
For now Chinatown is still the Center. You will meet people coming in there from Malden, Quincy, South End, Roxbury, Dorchester... although not everyone necessarily connects.
So the idea of the Chinatown Blog is that you can do that by looking at the site on your phone.
By the way, if you remember the Quincy incident I am talking about (or better yet, were part of it) I would love to hear from you.