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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion oped editorial

EDITORIAL: An awakened Asian American narrative

Controversial police shootings can often appear straightforward to the general public. White cops and black victims can show prejudices if there is evidence to suggest racism may have 
occurred.

But the reality is much more complicated.

When Asian-American New York City police officer Peter Liang confronted Akai Gurley, an unarmed black father, in a dark staircase of a housing project, the officer fired his gun.

NPR reports that the bullet bounced off a wall and into Gurley’s heart, and that Liang didn’t help him while Gurley laid on the ground dying.

After a trial under Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, Liang was stripped of his officer position and sentenced to five years probation and 800 hours of community service.

The Editorial Board believes this event can be taken as an indication that racism stems from a greater struggle, and not only from differences between ethnicities.

While justice has been served and the case has been closed, the trial is another event in a series of rifts within the already polarized Asian-American community.

A group of predominantly Chinese-American people protested the prosecution as a racist scapegoat as they held signs that read “Tragedy Not Crime.”

Erika Lee, a history professor at University of Minnesota, said the level of Asian-American activism in the aftermath of Liang’s trial hasn’t been seen in decades.

But the activism against injustices in the police force — including brutality, profiling and general inequality — should be seen as causes for people of all color.

This was the message of the racially mixed activists who responded with “Black Lives Matter” signs in English and Chinese.

This way, the struggle is more fundamental, and addresses the racial issues with greater accuracy than a black-and-white narrative would the same way Asian activists Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs began with the black civil rights 
movement.

Asian Americans are more fragmented compared to the black community, for instance. Some Asians have been gravely affected by racism while others have been significantly protected.

For this reason, the Asian-American’s fight against racism faces different 
challenges.

This event may be seen as a way to downplay the undertones of racism in the police force.

We shouldn’t interpret this event that racism isn’t as prevalent as we thought or that movements such as the Black Lives Matter are less significant.

For the Asian-American struggle against racism, it’s time for the rest of the country to listen to their voices.

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