Diary

Korean Businesses Matter, too

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The Philadelphia Police Department’s Current Crime Statistics page is only updated “during normal business hours, Monday through Friday,” so it was no surprise to me that, at 10:05 AM EST on Sunday morning, the same number of homicides that was specified on Friday, 411, was still showing. And when I checked the main page of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s website, though there were follow-up stories on the death of Walter Wallace, Jr, the knife-wielding man who was advancing on two police officers, I did not find a single story indicating that anyone else had been murdered on the city’s frequently bloody streets.

But I did find one story about racism related to the death of Mr Wallace:

Korean American business owners, among hardest hit by looters, feel victimized and alone

by Sam Wood | October 31, 2020 | 5:01 AM EDT

For many of the nearly 100 beauty supply stores in Philadelphia, it was another rough week.

From Monday to Wednesday, thieves and vandals broke into at least 17 stores, making off with merchandise and even store fixtures. The losses were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In some cases, thieves struck again at shops that were damaged previously during a more widespread outbreak of looting that flared in May after police in Minneapolis killed a man there. The damage and theft this week erupted after news broke Monday of how police had shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr. in West Philadelphia.

“Some owners tried to call the police, but they didn’t respond,” said Sharon Hartz, president of the Korean American Association of Greater Philadelphia, an advocacy organization for many of those who operate the supply shops. “A few had a chance to get police but when they came, they dismissed it. Groups of 20 to 30 people came to loot at a time. It was scary.”

Her group provided a count of damaged shops. “Some of the stores, they’re thinking of closing down for good,” she said.

A count, I would note, that was not included in the Inquirer story.

I have to admit: I wonder about the job of Sam Wood, the reporter who wrote the article, and the editor who approved it, because it implies the question of racism against Korean business owners by the #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators. Remember: Stan Wischnowski, 58, was fired resigned as senior vice-president and executive editor of the Inquirer, following a newsroom protest reminiscent of the rebellion of the #woke at The New York Times that got OpEd section editor James Bennet fired to resign following his decision to allow a sitting United States Senator to publish an OpEd piece the #woke didn’t like, after the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” was used in an article on the loss of historic architecture in the riots over the death of drug-addled convicted felon George Floyd in Minneapolis.

I picked “Korean Businesses Matter, Too” as the headline for this article after writing the previous paragraph. Claira Janover could not be reached for comment.

There’s considerably more at the Inquirer original, noting that businessmen of Korean descent in the city were afraid for their businesses, many having been looted, and that some of them have hired private security, a business expense they certainly do not want, and that at least a few have been camping out in their businesses, armed with handguns and shotguns to protect themselves from looters.

The article may have given us a few facts, but it was also an example of poor journalism. Not only did it fail to give us the number of businesses damaged, even though it stated that the number was provided, but it failed to provide any links to its sources among the Korean American Association of Greater Philadelphia and the Korean American Chamber of Commerce for Philadelphia. It did not address whether Korean-owned businesses are being singled out more than businesses owned by those of other racial or ethnic groups, nor tell us whether Korean-owned businesses are more heavily concentrated in black neighborhoods, nor tell us how prevalent other-than-black-owned businesses are in predominantly black neighborhoods. Given that Asian, and particularly Korean, owned businesses were heavily targeted during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, that seems like a particularly glaring journalistic lapse.

Nor does the story address that most glaring of politically incorrect facts: what percentage of the looters destroying these Korean businesses are black? In a story about racial unrest, wouldn’t the information about race be considered part of the story?

Of course, I am mocking current editorial standards in the credentialed media. Editors decided, many years ago, to not include racial statistics in any form that might contribute to racism. Walter Wallace, Jr, could be identified as black, because he was the victim of a almost certainly justified shooting by police officers. The victims of the looting being identified as Korean-Americans? Again, they were the victims. But perpetrators of crimes? They must not be identified by race, because that could lead to bad impressions based on race, to racial stereotypes being formed.

So there we have it: good, complete journalism is being squashed because good people don’t want to tell you a bad truth, because bad truths might result in, horrors! bad opinions, or even Thoughtcrime.
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