When Looks Kill

When Target Is Asian, Sometimes No Other Motive Is Required

Four Korean American students at SUNY Binghamton were assaulted this February on campus by a trio of white men, members of the school's wrestling team, according to initial police reports. The altercation began when the wrestlers began taunting the Korean Americans with racial slurs. Freshman John Lee suffered the most serious injuries, including a skull fracture and brain hemorrhaging. In the weeks following the incident, Asian student groups protested that the university was not quick or severe enough in its condemnation of the attack.

In October 1999, a six-months-Pregnant Chinese woman was kicked in the stomach by a white man and a white woman in Brooklyn. The attackers told the victim, "Chinese are cockroaches," according to Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund attorney Sin Yen Ling, who represented the victim. "But the police didn't feel it was a big deal," Ling says, pointing out that only the accused woman was charged, and that the charge amounted to a misdemeanor.

Hien Nguyen, a 60-year-old retired farmer, was beaten to death last August while taking a walk around his neighborhood in San Francisco. Police said the attacker, José Nunez Ortiz, was drunk when he beat and stomped on Nguyen, spitting and then urinating on him. A neighbor said she heard Ortiz shouting, "You're not from Sunnydale, fuck you!"
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