A Cinnabontastic NPM – #29 Saigu

it’s the Korean translation for 4-29
a day that is significant to any Koreans
who lived in Los Angeles back in 1992
when the entire city erupted into angry flames
over the beating of Rodney King
and the shooting of Latasha Harlins.

I was too young to even remember this day,
in a city far removed from the city of Angels,
but as I grew up and understood the history
of where we as Asians marked in the grounds of America
this day and moment of time
was something I had to,
at the very least,
know the entire context and history
and see if there has been changes since.

I still get questions
if Koreans really do hate black people
and I know it all started from this particular event
when a Korean store owner
shot a 16 year old black girl
after a misunderstanding and scuffle gone too far.

I tell them
that it’s not so much of hatred
but a matter of propaganda
and the immense power the media wields
in its sensationalist spastic hand,
in drumming up two divided lines in the sand
this side the Koreans
the other side the blacks
forever opposed
forever enemies.

With a group of people still new to the land
barely grasping onto a language claimed by those
who saw them as nothing but laundry cleaners
and another group of people still seen as a menace
barely grasping onto a country claimed by those
who saw them as nothing but dangerous animals
the lines were drawn in between by white
and each side being told by the white hand in power
that one is dangerous and lazy
and the other is greedy and manipulative
never quite seeing the strings that were pulling us
to clash right into each other
to tear each other apart
to hate each other for eternity.

This is what I learned from Saigu.


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