New PDF release: Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles Riots

By Nancy Abelmann

Not anyone will quickly put out of your mind the picture, blazed around the airwaves, of armed Korean americans 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 booklet to make experience of those questions, to teach how Korean american citizens, variously depicted as immigrant seekers after the yankee dream or as racist retailers exploiting African americans, emerged on the crossroads of conflicting social reflections within the aftermath of the 1992 riots. the location of Los Angeles's Korean american citizens touches on one of 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 goals provides those difficulties a human face and while clarifies the ancient, political, and monetary elements that render them so advanced. within the lives and voices of Korean american citizens, the authors find a profound problem to adored assumptions concerning the usa and its minorities. Why did Koreans come to the us? Why did they organize store in terrible inner-city neighborhoods? Are they in clash with African american citizens? those are one of many tricky questions the authors resolution as they probe the transnational roots and variety of Los Angeles's Korean americans. Their paintings ultimately exhibits us in sharp reduction and relocating element a group that, regardless of the blinding media concentration dropped at undergo throughout the riots, has still remained principally silent and successfully invisible. an incredible corrective to the formulaic debts that experience pitted Korean americans opposed to African american citizens, Blue goals areas the Korean American tale squarely on the heart of nationwide debates over race, classification, tradition, and group.

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Additional info for Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles Riots

Sample text

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.

Running a dress shop catering to Latinos, she suggested that Korean American rejection of minority consciousness is the flip side of racial or cultural superiority. Transnational musings on the significations attached to South Korea are thus intimately tied to the question of Korean American ethnic identification. In two Korean American sermons preached within days of the riots we find a subtle divergence in the speakers' visions of Korean American identity. Although both sermons challenged Korean American congregations to dismantle metaphorically the barriers between "neighbors," a close look reveals somewhat different political sensibilities and appeals.

Society. They don't know anything about the United States and its problems. That is where you get these guys driving their Mercedes to South Central and infuriating the blacks.... Part of this whole problem is the [South] Korean government: it only praises immigrants who give money back to Korea. So there is no consciousness about what a good immigrant is-someone who contributes to American society. Explaining that /lthere is no one who knows they can make it in Korea who comes [to the United States]," Lim was convinced that the entire immigration-and by extension, the riots-could only be understood 18 Blue Dreams by acknowledging that the point of all reference continues to be South Korea.

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