The Real, Tragic Story Behind That ‘Roof Korean’ Meme You May Have Seen

The people who share “rooftop Korean” memes owe the store owners who are on the pictures to learn more about the story of 1992’s L.A. uprising — and what prompted them to join the fight.

In the wake of nationwide protests against racism You may have noticed some gun-loving family members and friends post memes and articles about “rooftop Koreans.”

Chang said that people who have shared their thoughts on the topic owe it the Korean American business owners in the pictures to take more research into the background that led to the Los Angeles uprising — and the reasons they chose to take on arms in the first place.

“Without any influence in the political system and influence within Koreatown, Koreatown was unprotected and burned since it was not a top priority for city leaders as well as LAPD.” LAPD.” — Edward T. Chang, an associate professor of ethnic studies at UC Riverside

In the event that they LAPD officers were cleared of charges of charges, long-running tensions between Korean mom-and pop store owners and their mostly African American customers in the community exploded.

It’s not surprising. Tensions were already at the boiling point one year ago in the year Soon Ja Du, a Korean American liquor store owner killed Latasha Harlins 15 year old Black girl in South Los Angeles. Du said that Harlins had tried at stealing a glass orange juice. In the video footage of the security cameras you can see a fight among the two. Harlins finally throws the juice onto the counter, and then begins to leave. While she’s walking away, Du shoots her in the head.

Du was sentenced to a mild sentence for the murder – community service and probationwhich angered the Harlins family as well as those in the Black community.

Harlins The Harlins name was the rallying call in the uprising of 1992 Many believe that it was a major reason why Korean Americans’ shops were targeted.

As the looting spread to Koreatown The shop owners stood for their business to defend themselves. They had opened shops and liquor stores within a few days after their arrival to America. U.S. in the late 1970s and into the early 1980s.

They resorted to arms due to the fact that the LAPD had as per the words of the K-Town proprietor “left our shops to torches.”

The current Los Angeles uprising is known as “Sa-i-gu”in the Korean American community — the word literally means “April 29” when the violence started.

The unrest marked an important pivotal moment to Korean Americans across the country, Chang said, and an absolute “wake-up signal” to Koreans living in Los Angeles to the indifference of the authorities in the city.

“Without any political influence and authority within this city Koreatown did not have protection and was burned since there was no priority for the city’s politicians or police officers, including the LAPD,” Chang said. When riots and looting broke out and streets were closed between Koreatown and the wealthy white neighborhoods were shut down by police, along with official lines of defense in place around mostly white cities, which included Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. There were reports that some Koreans claimed that emergency personnel were not responsive to their requests for assistance.

A corner store located in Koreatown is left beyond control inside Los Angeles on the third day of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising.

In the final analysis, Chang said not a one person was shot or murdered by Korean shop owners — they just fired warning shots to deter arsonists and potential looters.

“Nothing in my past life suggested I was a second citizen prior to it was the L.A. riots,” he stated. “The LAPD powers that be chose in order to safeguard the “haves’ as well as the Korean community didn’t have any power or influence in the political arena. They let us burn.”

“The roof Korean or Asian”roof Korean or Asian” could be placed within a system of exaggerating Asian Americans as an ally for whiteness as well as a weapon against Black assertions of racial injustice,” she said.

Sung suggested that we should take into consideration that the “model minorities” myth in conversations such as this. The phrase first came up in an article in the year 1966 New York Times article by sociologist William Petersen, who employed it to explain Japanese Americans overcoming discrimination to be successful, and attributed the reason for this to determination and family structure.

“Asian American success ” was presented to justify racial discrimination to counter African American claims of systemic racism, basically saying that if Asian Americans can do it without complaint, why can’t you?” — Wendy Sung, assisant professor of critical media studies at The University of Texas at Dallas

“The significant historical context in this lies in the movement for civil rights in which Black Americans were protesting for equality in freedoms,” the woman said. “Asian American achievements were presented as a weapon of racial discrimination to counter African American claims of systemic racism, basically saying”if Asian Americans can do it without complaint, why shouldn’t you?”

To be told that Asians are the most gun-toting citizens by the same extremists of the far right who have portrayed the Asians as Asian Americans “as agents of disease” just days ago in this epidemic” is alarming, to be honest, Sung said.

Ranier Maningding who manages the blog and the Facebook community “Love The Life Asian Guy” said it’s disheartening to see people of Asian descent in 2020 believing in that myth. When he came across that the “rooftop Korean” meme circulating in the circles of East Asian Americans, he immediately called the issue out in the group on Facebook.

“Asian America has a long, complex, and negative connection to the white supremacy” said the journalist to HuffPost. “We’ve always been told to feel that we’re two steps away from being white. We’ve been conditioned to believe that we’re white since a portion of us are from wealthy, middle-class families or have believed in the idea that we have intellectual superiority.”

In the case of many people, it’s not just a dislike for Black people. Maningding stated, “it’s a fundamental belief that we’re all different and therefore destined to live a life filled with academics and riches, whereas those who aren’t ‘other’ are destined to be a victim of crime and poverty.”

On Twitter this week the Twitter user Roscoe Von Rotten posted an Twitter thread that deconstructed the racial complexities of the 1992 uprising , while looking at the anti-blackness of Asian communities.

The thread Von Rotten reminded Asians who are a part of the alt-right that it wasn’t that long back that the East Asians also were thought of as dangerous and subhuman by white supremacists. (As NBC News reports, the concept of “yellow danger” comes from the 1800s which was the time in the 1800s, when Chinese workers were brought to in the United States to replace emancipated Black communities as cheap sources of labor.)

“We’ve been so badly sucked in to hook, line, and sinker, to this myth about the minority model” she declared.

Von Rotten is Korean American and was just 5 at the moment of the uprising. She is aware of how complex Sa-i-gu is in Korean Americans’ collective memory. What transpired during the devastation and looting of the city isn’t something that she or the relatives of her parents talk about with pride or boastfulness.

“They are aware of who was at the top of the building, so there’s no way to relive the glory days’ Von Rotten told HuffPost. “When taking a look at the pictures from 1992 my parents and I both agree with the fact that we’re very proud of the people who were fighting for their rights. However, we agree that our pride shouldn’t betray the fact that we were forced to fight for it in the first place.”

“We have to make ourselves, and in particular our communities, accountable for the ways that we have been complicit in promoting the white supremacist system of power and the anti-Black narrative that is prevalent in the United States,” she added. “True change is not possible unless we acknowledge and are accountable for the roles we play as well as the language we use.”

In the end, Von Rotten said, these photos are a way to remind us of how anyone can be in this country in search of better things in life, seeking the American dream and getting it “but you’ll being a second-class citizen even if you’re not wealthy or white.”

Comparing 1992 and 2020 What a difference three decades can make.

In the final analysis, the photos of the rooftops are crucial and should not be used as props to gun rights activists and the alt-right, but to highlight America’s complex unfair relationship with both minorities.

As protests against the death of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless more continue, it’s encouraging to look at additional pictures that show Asian Americans — including numerous Koreans who are standing alongside Black Americans.

A viral video that was filmed during protests that took place in Downtown Los Angeles earlier this month showcases the community activist Isabel Kangexplaining why it’s vital for Asians to act as friends and challenge their internalized discrimination against them.

“To find out that so many Korean Americans haven’t woken up is heartbreaking,” she said. “But those who have experienced what it’s like to feel under attack are the first to know.”

Within Los Angeles’s Fairfax District, not far from Koreatown, Asian designer Bobby Kim who goes by the name of Bobby Hundreds, watched last month when fires were erupted close to his store for streetwear.

“I wanted to tell you the things I was not seeingArmed Koreans and menacing people” Yang told HuffPost. “So I tweeted the tweet saying “Here’s the image that’s you’ve been imagining And here’s the reality. Get better at yourself.’

Yang Yang Asian Americans today are emboldened to express their opinion on topics such as”rooftop Korean” and “rooftop Korean” meme because the majority of their parents were silent in 1992.

“The Korean American generation back in 1992 did not have social technology,” he said. “No person wanted to communicate with them or listen to their stories. If you’re not able to understand the language and aren’t able to communicate, let others are able to speak for you.”

He added that people who use the meme are “speaking to Korean Americans, telling us how to feel and think by co-opting our voices and the power to create our own story.”

Yang will not allow this to occur. The present isn’t the time to be divided Yang said. It’s the right time for minorities to unite.

“As Asians, we have ourselves to work on within our communities, and that starts by decolonizing ourselves away from white supremacy and recovering from its negative effects,” Yang said.

“But when we do that, we need to help Black lives and defend Black bodies. We should be united and with all of all of Black and brown brothers,” he said. “Yellow Peril should support Black people’s lives.”