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Koreans in the Hood: Conflict with African Americans

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Conflict between Korean Americans and African Americans attracted national attention in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King trial in Los Angeles. The news media seized upon the violent riots and depicted Korean shop owners as gun-wielding exploiters of the African American poor. Absent from the barrage of media coverage was the Korean American point of view and experience of the inner city economy and racial relations. This new volume of essays written largely by Korean American scholars adds substantially to ...

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Overview

Conflict between Korean Americans and African Americans attracted national attention in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King trial in Los Angeles. The news media seized upon the violent riots and depicted Korean shop owners as gun-wielding exploiters of the African American poor. Absent from the barrage of media coverage was the Korean American point of view and experience of the inner city economy and racial relations. This new volume of essays written largely by Korean American scholars adds substantially to our understanding of interracial, multiethnic conflict by examining relations between the Korean American and African American communities in three major American cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

Edited by sociologist Kwang Chung Kim, the book brings together similar yet contrasting studies of Korean American and African American conflict. Korean Americans find themselves economically powerful, but weak politically. African Americans, however, wield considerable political clout even though they may have little economic power. Koreans in the 'Hood offers the Korean American perspective on coexisting with African Americans in some of the poorest areas of American cities. Each chapter focuses on a particular city and experience, offering a unique opportunity for inter-city comparison as the contributors explore three overt forms of Korean American and African American confrontation: interpersonal dispute, boycott, and mass violence.

The first part of the book examines Korean American experience of the conflict in Los Angeles. It then details the social, political, and economic tensions arising from the African American boycott of Korean fruit and vegetable merchants in New York. The final chapters concern the Korean American experience of conflict in Chicago. Throughout, the authors rely on empirical data and seek to trace the roots of conflict, the consequences, and future directions of relations between the two groups. What emerges is an unique account of Korean Americans caught between the poor African American population and the larger, more affluent white population.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Social scientists examine conflict between the two groups in Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago, revealing the similarities and differences between the three cities. Their topics include a Korean- American perspective on the 1992 Los Angeles riots, a structured analysis of conflict between Korean merchants and black customers, and the African-American and Korean-American Community Mediation Project in Chicago. Paper edition (unseen), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801861048
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Kwang Chung Kim is a professor of sociology and anthropology at the Western Illinois University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Los Angeles
2 The Multiracial Nature of Los Angeles Unrest in 1992 17
3 New Urban Crisis: Korean-African American Relations 39
4 Use and Abuse of Race and Culture: Black-Korean Tension in America 60
5 The 1992 Los Angeles Riots and the "Black-Korean Conflict" 75
Pt. 2 New York City
6 The Dynamics of Black-Korean Conflict: A Korean American Perspective 91
7 Conflict between Korean Merchants and Black Customers: A Structural Analysis 113
8 The Middleman Minority Characteristics of Korean Immigrants in the United States 131
Pt. 3 Chicago
9 Contemplating Black-Korean Conflict in Chicago 157
10 Portrait of a Community Program: The African American and Korean American Community Mediation Project 178
11 Identity Politics: Chicago Korean-Americans and the Los Angeles "Riots" 202
12 Conclusion 232
Contributors 243
Index 245
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