Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles Riots by Nancy Abelmann

By Nancy Abelmann

Not anyone will quickly put out of your mind the picture, blazed around the airwaves, of armed Korean american citizens taking to the rooftops as their companies went up in flames throughout the l. a. riots. Why Korean american citizens? What stoked the wrath the riots unleashed opposed to them? Blue goals is the 1st e-book to make feel of those questions, to teach how Korean american citizens, variously depicted as immigrant seekers after the yankee dream or as racist retailers exploiting African american citizens, emerged on the crossroads of conflicting social reflections within the aftermath of the 1992 riots. the placement of Los Angeles's Korean american citizens touches on probably the most vexing matters dealing with American society at the present time: ethnic clash, city poverty, immigration, multiculturalism, and ideological polarization. Combining interviews and deft socio-historical research, Blue desires supplies those difficulties a human face and while clarifies the ancient, political, and financial elements that render them so advanced. within the lives and voices of Korean americans, the authors find a profound problem to loved assumptions concerning the usa and its minorities. Why did Koreans come to the U.S.? Why did they manage store in negative inner-city neighborhoods? Are they in clash with African americans? those are one of many tough questions the authors solution as they probe the transnational roots and variety of Los Angeles's Korean american citizens. Their paintings eventually indicates us in sharp reduction and relocating aspect a group that, regardless of the blinding media concentration dropped at endure throughout the riots, has still remained mostly silent and successfully invisible. an incredible corrective to the formulaic money owed that experience pitted Korean american citizens opposed to African american citizens, Blue desires locations the Korean American tale squarely on the heart of nationwide debates over race, type, tradition, and group.

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Some Korean Americans sounded a clarion call to a new era. Elaine Kim, professor of Asian American literature, wrote: "What they [Korean immigrants] experienced on 29 and 30 April was a baptism into what it really means for a Korean to become American in the 1990s" (1993a, p. 219). 234). Angela Oh struck a similar chord, designating the riots "our [Korean American] rite of passage into American society" (Mydans 1993b, p. 9). Korean American responses, as we have seen, were by no means uniform. The defense of, and the devastation in, Koreatown forced a contest over the definition of this urban space.

He marveled that the riots took so long to happen: "If it had been Koreans living in a place like South Central-and outside businesses came in-believe me Koreans wouldn't have waited twenty years. Things would have exploded after a few years. The United States is a patient country, a very patient country-people really put up with things. 's Koreatown were a ward of Seou1. 4 He wanted us to understand that one cannot begin to talk about the riots without knowing the backgrounds of /lthese people," the Korean American merchants in Los Angeles.

234). Angela Oh struck a similar chord, designating the riots "our [Korean American] rite of passage into American society" (Mydans 1993b, p. 9). Korean American responses, as we have seen, were by no means uniform. The defense of, and the devastation in, Koreatown forced a contest over the definition of this urban space. Although Korean Americans are a residential minority, Koreatown is a symbolic center for Korean Americans in Los Angeles, and even in the United States. While the riots forced an awareness of the United States as the home of the Korean American diaspora-as one person said, "Like it or not, this is our community, we have to make our mark here"-the nature of this awareness and its corollary agenda varied enormously among Korean Americans.

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