Asian-American Forum
Summer 2012 Issue no. 14

Editor Note: The editor has decided to include articles submitted to Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (http://www.apaforprogress.org) also in this seasonal newsletter. Any cross-posted articles will be identified by name and date submitted, and the reprints here will serve to verify authorship. The particular blog can be accessed here: http://www.apaforprogress.org/blogs/chriswong.

My VC Lesson Plan - 1

by Christine Wong

The end of the month, and I feel I have only scratched the surface with regard to developing this unit plan! I wish I can just read forever before I have to write (and submit an essay to Francis Kai-Hwa Wang)! There aren't many lesson plans out there with regard to Vincent Chin and the Asian Pacific American movement he inspired, so here's what I have come up with:

Grade or Level: English, World Languages, and Cultures
Unit Plan Title: Vincent Chin Unit
Lesson Plan 1 Title: Exploring the Timeline before Vincent Chin
A. Planning of Unit Curriculum
Unit Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand how this landmark case of injustice boosted Asian-American civil rights and activism.
  • Terms such as American identity, citizenship, fair trial, and civil rights activism became redefined and reshaped to fit the Asian-American communities' needs.
  • Analyze and describe ways in which stereotyping and discrimination continue today.
  • Become familiar with basic online research and social service organizations.
  • Unit Objectives: (Students will be able to...)
  • Understand how historically Asian Americans have had to fight for representation and against unfair laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Retrace the impacts of the Exclusion Acts against Asians with regard to immigration, representation, citizenship, and equal opportunity in education and labor.
  • Understand why this created problems with regard to identity, alienation, and self-esteem among the older generation. Describe how the working class people of Detroit saw Asians. Explain concepts such as "model minority myth"; "dualism"; "marginalized"; "invisible."
  • Learn how to talk openly about Asian culture, and values.
  • Apply the rights of citizenship to all citizens regardless of race, color, ethnicity, creed, or gender. Learn to identify and question stereotypes.
  • Learn how to communicate commonalities and differences in interpreting Asian pop literature.
  • Unit Relevant California English-Language Arts Content Standards:
    -Vocabulary development (1.3) because students learn in-depth about concepts and analogies while broadening their framework of socio-cultural comparisons.
    -Reading comprehension (2.1) because students will view and discuss oppositional perspectives with regard to race, class, and bullying.
    -Literary Response and Analysis (3.2, 3.8) because students will write and discuss their reactions to video clips; they will critique and debate an issue; also they will draw connections between works of fiction and daily realities for transplanted immigrants.
    -Listening and Speaking Strategies (1.2, 2.3) because the students will work in teams and present their findings.
    B. Preparing for Lesson 1
    Texts and Materials:
    Downloadable documents in packets; PowerPoint; Internet connection (optional)
    Content Outline: (I will teach...)
    1. New vocabulary and concepts.
    2. Comparison contrast of opportunities today as compared with historical conditions.
    3. Viewing historical documents critically;
    4. Descriptive writing;
    5. Interpersonal communication and presentation skills.
    C. Conducting Lesson 1 (what we will do...)
    Introduction- How was life back in the 1970s? Have any of you ever watched That 70s Show? Have you ever heard the term "All-American"? Can you picture Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz? No? How about Taylor Swift? Okay, so let's talk about what All-American has meant to the public...
    Instructional Strategies:
    Sequence of delivery (Step-By-Step):
    1. Today's vocabulary: "All-American"; "mainstream media"; "minority"; "apartheid"
    2. Can definitions change over time? Yes they can. In 1970, South Africa was identified as a nation with apartheid; there was strict racial segregation and it was legal, put in place by the ruling political parties. After the 1990s (before some of you were born), apartheid in South Africa slowly became illegal. Today South Africa is a free country shared by the African natives and whites. The word "All-American" is also slowly beginning to change; in the 1970s, very few blacks were ever shown on TV except as criminals. Today, there is Black Entertainment television and some of the favorite superstars are household names. Talented can be David Chappelle, and beautiful can be Halle Berry, for instance. So mainstream media (TV and newspapers) are really beginning to include many more minorities within the definition of All-American as All-America.
    3. Let's continue to step back into time and review some of the historical documents (literary form) about Asian Americans (they were not necessarily allowed to become citizens) between 1882 to 1945.
    Planned Activities
    1. We divide the class into groups of four or five. Each group will examine a copy set of artifacts in the manila envelope which I provide. [Various artifacts downloaded from the National Archives and Library of Congress including Timeline for the Chinese in California, Flickr Photos for May--Asian Pacific American Month, topical overview, document information].
    2. Groups will catalog the artifacts; be able to identify and describe at least one artifact in depth in front of the class; each student must also try to provide as much desciption and context as possible in a quick write paragraph on an item. Describe what you see. What is the thematic message? How effective is the presentation? Or, how does it affect the viewer or audience? What do you see that is different from today? Do you think these children or adults lived "normal American lives"? Why or why not? How do you think race or culture might have held them back from leading "all-American" lifestyles? How much of a role did national heritage influence public perceptions? How might this have caused internal divisions and strife within the family?
    3. Provide an example for the class. Emphasize that not all the questions need to be answered, but instead, the purpose is to allow yourself to slip back in time, to become aware of those values or fears that were reflected by laws and actions such as exclusion, detention, and internment.
    Summary or Closure for Daily Lesson
    Recap that historically, there was apartheid and discrimination against minorities in the United States, and these were supported by law, by actions, by negative or unfavorable portrayals. Build anticipation for the next lesson. Next we will talk about popular literary monuments in the Asian American landscape and how these attempt to bridge the differences between Asian and American identities, cultural values versus stereotypes, fiction versus a life of invisibility.
    Homework:
    ELL/ELD: Expand your Quickwrite to a page with a take-home document.
    Advanced:
    "...The most recurrent theme in our writing is what I call claiming America for Asian Americans. That does not mean disappearing like raindrops in the ocean of white America, fighting to become "normal," losing ourselves in the process. It means inventing a new identity, defining ourselves against a racial fantasy, so that we can be reconciled with one another..." --quote by Elaine Kim in "Defining Asian American Realities through Literature."
    Express your thoughts and reactions to this quotation in an essay. Should Asian-Americans work hard at assimilating (being All-American), or should they retain their own culture as much as they can? What is the price of trying to do one or the other? Can there be compromise? What can a new identity consist of? Would that be enough to counter ongoing (covert) actions of discrimination?
    Lesson Plan Works Cited:
    Kim, Elaine. "Defining Asian American Realities through Literature." A Companion to Asian American Studies. Ed. Kent Ono. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. 196-214.
    U.S. Library of Congress, UC Berkeley, and California Historical Society. The Chinese in California 1850-1925. < http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award99/cubhtml/cichome.html>
    U.S. National Archives. "May- Asian Pacific Heritage Month." Heritage Month and Holidays Collections. < http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/sets/72157626380020833/>
    U. S. National Archives, Freedom Corps, and National History Day. "Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)." 100 Milestone Documents. < http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=47>
    Unit - Suggested Seminal Readings (audio, visual, performance media not excluded):
    Chickencoop Chinaman. By Frank Chin. Dir. by Jack Gelber. American Place Theatre, New York. 27 May 1972. Performance.
    Chin, Frank, Jeffrey Chan, Lawson Inada, and Shawn Wong, eds. The Big Aiiieeeee! Washington, DC: Howard UP, 1974.
    Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1975.
    Kingston, Maxine Hong. China Men. New York, NY: Knopf, 1980.
    Vincent Who? Prod. Curtis Chin. Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, 2009. DVD.
    Who Killed Vincent Chin? Prods. Juanita Anderson, Christine Choy, and Renee Tajima-Pena. 1987. Film.
    Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1989.
    Wong, Shawn. Homebase. Berkeley, CA: Bookpeople, 1979.
    Zia, Helen. Asian-American Dreams. London, UK: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.

    Above Photo -- Farmer of Japanese ancestry showing identification card -- Taken by Photographer Dorothea Lange 05-08-42, Photographic Holdings of the U.S. National Archives

    What the Vincent Chin Documentaries mean to me

    by Christine Wong

    I was born and raised in an ultra-conservative catholic Chinese family. When I first heard about the Vincent Chin documentaries, for a long time I was mixed up between the movies, Who Killed Vincent Chin? vs. Vincent Who? Even though it was Vincent Who? that caught my eye first, both were available to some extent at YouTube.

    It is important to have the opportunity to view Who Killed Vincent Chin? first, to really understand the case, then Vincent Who? in order to understand how and why it became a movement. The courage to start this movement, I believe, should be credited to Helen Zia. Without her unflagging efforts, the case could not have captured the national imagination. It was an early version of the Trayvon Martin case, pretty much.

    Pretty much because no matter what, I remain influenced by the older generation. The World War II generation, who reinforced using harsh physical punishment, still outweigh my voice at times. The model minority myth would deny sympathy for Vincent Chin's fate. What was he doing at a no-good bar late at night? Why did he not obey his parents? Why did he pick a fight and then hit a white man? Didn't he have it coming?

    Thus there are still those who, in my figure of speech, will be content panning the leavings from white gold miners' claims. Make no trouble, cause no trouble, and you can survive on just a few dollars a day. Do not stray outside the white chalk line, and you will live. Do not compete with white people, let them be first.

    There's something wrong with these myths. Asians were not born to pick through consignment store leftovers. The economy is not creatively stimulated by following orders and conforming to Western concepts. When all one does is follow, one ends up never knowing who one can really become. Certainly not President of the United States, like President Obama today.

    When Asians are followers, we learn to approve rejections, learn to live in denial, learn to accept two-facedness, to emphasize passivity, and even teach apathy. What kind of freedom is that? It was our fault for being homely, for having darker skin, for having a disability, for being older, for not behaving completely in accordance with how white people think Asians should behave (which frankly is less than All-American).

    Examining the details from the movies again, I realize that the second part of the fight was grossly wrong and unfair. That worse, no one at that time really thought it was. The cop, the bar-hostess, the defense team, and many more couldn't recognize anything wrong with not trying to stop the vengeful manslaughter. Where had Vincent's alleged friends gone? Why didn't they try to prevent the escalation? Where did they go after their friend passed away? It seems that few of them even had the audacity to speak up. One of them, brave and courageous woman, was Vincent Chin's mother.

    Although this is just one case where there have been dozens in the legal battles, I am very glad that these movies were made to recapture the nation's audience. Today the movies Who Killed Vincent Chin? and Vincent Who? form a legitimate critical segment in Asian-Pacific American studies. Especially for those of us who continue to suffer personal, familial, and/or professional misfortunes, Vincent Who? helps instill hope and belief in equal opportunity and social justice for all Asian-Pacific Americans.


    --Submitted in consideration to Frances Kai-Hwa Wang's Rememberingvincentchin.com Book Project

    Why Occupiers Must Vote in 2012

    by C.H. Kroll

    At the FDR Monument in Washington, DC

    The 99% have only the incumbent, President Obama to vote for, and as soon as he knows this for sure, will voting really matter?

    Occupy Wall Street seems to have convinced too many of us that it doesn't matter what we do; the media and Congress are bought and paid for by the 1%. We should even aspire to become community organizers, so that as career politicians, we can take multi-million dollar vacations and direct our bank accounts off-shore. We should even tune out and tone down the 99% demonstrators and protestors because layoffs, union-breaking, and withholding of retirement payments don’t occur except on paper.

    Even before Occupy, Public Citizen’s themes were intellectualized by liberal Democrats, such as George McGovern, and Noam Chomsky. Public Citizen popularized the ideal that the Biggest Citizens, Corporations, are planning to enslave the 99% via reductions in the public’s Bill of Rights. Increasingly, big corporations hope to dictate acceptable forms of expression, so that people will be dissuaded from any other activities besides ones supported for consumers.

    For progressives, however, voting must matter. In his book-interview, Timothy Noah, author of The Great Divergence, asserted that rising income inequality is more likely under Republican administrations, whereas under Democratic presidents, there are more opportunities for decreasing the gap whether through education or labor programs.[1] This sentiment was echoed by progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann’s own presentation. In Daily Take, Hartmann argued that austerity measures do not work, but that the Republicans continue to filibuster much needed investments. Hartmann cited Paul Krugman of the New York Times who stated:

    “If government employment under Mr. Obama had grown at Reagan-era rates, 1.3 million more Americans would be working as schoolteachers, firefighters, police officers, etc., than are currently employed in such jobs.” [2]

    The only way the way to burrow out of the recession is for the government to invest massively in the economy (as opposed to military spending), because otherwise more cities, small businesses, and individuals will undergo bankruptcy over the next years. Already, we see this in deleterious cutbacks on public spending, such as city buses limiting route frequency and evening runs (exacerbating problems for low-income workers); in education where afterschool programs are being curtailed (tough on working parents who cannot afford childcare); in the availability work-training programs (the Republicans want to eliminate food-stamp programs, too); on the availability of drug rehab programs (the best way to reduce federal spending on prisons); on the availability of mental health services; and in most obvious of all, shelters for the homeless (who serve as an indictment for the rest of us). How can the bottom thirty percent not matter? How can our economy be stimulated if the bottom 30% can only survive in such make-shift fashion?

    The Department of Labor Statistics does not include those college graduates who have never filed for unemployment. Here, one must also bear in mind that there is continuing misrepresentation of Asian-Americans as fully employed with income levels higher than Caucasians. Most Chinese have too much backbone to file for unemployment and welfare benefits; their parents tell them it is a shame to do such; there may still be concerns about citizenship and privacy. Other Asian groups also consider the loss of face, and therefore, the skew in perception of success is relatively high, particularly with regard to women and recently graduated college students. Personally, I can attest that several Asian-American female professionals endured more discrimination or less equal opportunity at the workplace.

    According to his lecture, Global Hegemony, Dr. Chomsky argues that the present government’s opacity is due to the power and influence of multinational corporations who, in essence, now buy into Presidential elections. [3] These are the companies whose CEOs earn millions of dollars per year, not counting stock options, made off the backs of failed housing industries, starving college students, mutant poisoned fauna, and businesses gone bust. These are the companies who, seemingly regardless of who is president, want to break the unions, replace them with permanent pools of part-time workers, workers with no hope ever of either retirement or affordable health insurance coverage. These are the corporations whose citizenship and voting rights need to be annulled, according to Public Citizen, and Occupy Wall Street.

    Today, it is hard to believe that only four years ago this nation was so optimistic about what should have been obvious. The overwhelming distance between ourselves and elected leaders is now self-evident, such as in the logistics of establishing the so-called "green-collar economy." Those of us who have studied the historic revitalization of the economy under depression-era President Franklin Delano Roosevelt optimistically hoped that many jumpstart government programs would re-appear; reinvestments in infrastructure so long delayed by the Bush Administration; vocational work-training programs for youth and adults; cadres of Americans involved in subsidized camp cabin expansions (such as under Habitat for Humanity) to replace tent cities permanently; and mandatory untaxed solar panel installations. Such programs would help stimulate local economies, not to mention morale, help end homelessness, and revitalize home industries, labor, and self-empowerment.

    Instead, nowadays, much of the ARRA funds and stimulus package monies appear to be diverted towards middle-management private consultants and industries. These companies, such as CH2MHill, or Halliburton, claim to do a better job than the government can, and yet their accounts and advertisements do not hold water under close scrutiny. [4] For instance, CH2MHill recently posted numerous job openings at NACE, but most of these college graduate postings asked for a minimum of 5-10 years of relevant experience. This contrasts very much with the kind of on-the-job training aspects of depression-era government run programs. For instance, as an entry level engineer with the Forest Service, there were in-house government certificate exams for construction inspection, surveying, soils testing, and even road design. Coupled with on-the-job experience, hard-working entry level workers could study and advance in level.

    Corporate consultants and contractors even want to end all government in-house programs so that government projects will be utterly dependent upon private industry contracts. There is already less than equal opportunity when only so-called promising candidates are selectively chosen and placed for corporate in-house training. In education also, according to Timothy Noah in The Great Divergence, there has been a steady progress towards for-profit models at the cost of the classics, liberal arts studies, and college tuition. [5] Financial aid, instead of helping the poor only, has become a bonanza for upper middle-class students to buy brand new cars or throw rush parties. Bidding wars have actually raised public school tuition and college president salaries to exorbitant levels at a time when the job market is slack, particularly for minorities who may receive fewer choice interviews.

    If these are the dismal prospects, choosing between two heavily corporate-funded presidential candidates for CEOs, then why bother voting? Why believe in our government at all? Why espouse any of the traditional American values, such as honesty and integrity in government, when mostly what is valued are hypocrisy and belief in shadow governments?

    Because the 99% still have to try to hope for change, even if apparently global changes are taking a turn for the worse, particularly where the war machine (now headed towards the Pacific) has essentially turned the United States into the world's greatest military police force.

    Under President Obama, Americans will continue to experience more generous healthcare options than before; Medicare will remain intact; Social Security will be defended; and President Obama will do all he can to pass the much belated 2011 American Jobs Act. The White House has become much more open to listening to special interest groups and establishing information-age networks. President Obama is more accessible, even if only indirectly, to the poor and disenfranchised than his opponents give him credit. His administration has passed much progressive legislations. [6] In contrast, under the GOP President, much of the progressivism of the past four years may be rescinded. Witness the legislative quagmire already in place due to filibustering. Without President Obama, the people, particularly the bottom 30%, will lose what little hoped for security they have (left). Food banks, community vegetable gardens, and soup kitchens might even be outsourced or done away with, where under Lady Obama, at least there have been inner-city expansions and support for healthy eating. Government support for Student Loans and Financial Aid, which now allows extended payment plans, may be rescinded such that more college students must compete for minimum wage jobs or become homeless.

    With GOP hoped-for austerity measures, more of the bankrupted cities may become like the ghost town of George Bailey’s It’s a Wonderful Life, with many drastic increases in homelessness (who already have undergone such dwindling of local resources that bull-dozing of tent cities and confiscations of personal property have become routine).

    Maybe, as Dr. Chomsky suggests, because in the NWO job creation is synonymous with profit margins, job creation under President Obama will continue to be sluggish, and many of the graduates will continue to endure underemployment. [7] One way to gain some perspective is to read Utopia by Sir Thomas More. In this novel, the ideal society is depicted as consisting of laborers who, owing to more free time, engage in self-learning and cultural activities. Being poor, overeducated, and underemployed should not be viewed with shame or contempt, but rather, as a modern privilege of the world’s technologically advanced nations.

    Another insertion with regard to Asian-Americans, is that too often we have instilled the expectations of our parents and society, to the point that we "have only ourselves to blame when we can't make it." Instead of such depressing self-labeling and criticism, we should do our best to cheerfully counter this, and redefine our expectations of “making it.” We should congratulate ourselves that we don't have to work full-time for seven years just to qualify for a fleeting sabbatical, nor must we slave another thirty years in anticipation of that meager, limited edition European bus tour taken during one’s golden years.

    Right now, we can still engage in many civil rights activities and picture the day when military spending disappears. We should live without fear, just as President Obama has mostly allowed non-whistleblowers to do, and protest to ensure that our support for civil, environmental, social-justice, disarmament, welfare, or alternative energy platforms are not further eroded at the next Democratic National Convention. Of course we can try to get out the vote too.


    Notes:
    1. Thom Hartmann, “Full Show 6/1/12: Conversations with Great Minds: Timothy Noah,” Thom Hartmann TV Program, June 1, 2012, accessed July 14, 2012, http://www.thomhartmann.com/bigpicture/full-show-6112-conversations-great-minds-timothy-noah.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Noam Chomsky, “Global Hegemony: the Facts, the Images, April 20, 2011,” Esoteric Online, April 20, 2011, accessed July 14, 2012, http://www.esotericonline.net/video/noam-chomsky-global-hegemony-the-facts-the-images-april-20-2011.
    4. Rusty Weiss, “The Case of CH2M Hill: $2 Billion in Crony Stimulation,” Accuracy in Media, November 30, 2011, accessed July 14, 2012, http://www.aim.org/special-report/the-case-of-ch2m-hill-2-billion-in-crony-stimulation/.
    5. Thom Hartmann, “Full Show 6/1/12: Conversations with Great Minds: Timothy Noah.”
    6. PolitiFact, “The Obameter,” PolitiFact.com, 2012, accessed July 14, 2012, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/.
    7. Noam Chomsky, “Global Hegemony: the Facts, the Images, April 20, 2011.”

    --Wall caption from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument: "No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order."



    NTDTV Global Competition Series 2012

    by Christine Wong

    New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) is an independent television network featuring global news. Founded in 2001, the satellite broadcasting station includes Chinese cultural shows, political, and science-technology news. In particular, NTDTV offers authentic perspectives on developments in China, indisputably a world giant in economy and population.

    Every year for the past five years, NTDTV hosts global competitions for fundraising, media awareness, and public relations purposes. This includes Chinese International Photography Competition, Opera Vocal Competition, and International Classical Chinese Dance Competition.[1]

    For instance, this year's International Chinese Culinary Competition began at the Taipei Expo Park in Taipei, Taiwan on June 15th-17th. The public cook-off event featuring Asia's most talented cooks kicked off with a choreographed Flash Mob Dance along Ximending Pedestrian Mall. Participants ranged from 6 to 80 years old, as shown in the video clip.[2]

    The Chinese Culinary Competition Preliminaries and Finals will culminate in North America on September 27th & 28th at Times Square in New York City. Grand prizes include Gold (US $10,000), Silver (US $3000), and Bronze (US $1000). Three (3) honorary mentions will also be awarded in each of the 5 cuisine categories. To participate and learn more, visit http://culinary.ntdtv.com/en/.[3]

    Travel to Times Square, and enjoy great fun, good food, plus learn some new recipes!

    - Photo "Young chefs" by CNA at Want China Times [4]

    Sources:
    1. New Tang Dynasty TV, "2012 Competition Schedules," NTDTV Global Competition Series 2012, http://competitions.ntdtv.com/en/index.php.
    2. NTD News, Taipei, "Taiwanese Join Flash Mob Event for NTD 2012 Global Culinary Competition," New Tang Dynasty Television, http://tinyurl.com/7xcfj8y
    3. NTD Television, "The 5th International Chinese Culinary Competition," NTDTV Global Competition Series 2012, http://culinary.ntdtv.com/en/
    4. CNA, "'Kitchen Exercises' in Taipei Herald Culinary Competition," Want China Times, http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20120610000074&cid=1803

    Violent Flash Mob Phenomenon Potential Losing Ground

    According to the Digga Nikaya Buddhist scripture on morals for laypersons, guarding against evil is nearly as important as avoiding vice. Restraints include avoiding "Roaming the streets at improper times" for it is said:

    He who roams is unprotected and unguarded; his wife and children are unprotected and unguarded; his property is unprotected and unguarded; he is suspected of evil deeds; he is subject to false rumors; he meets with many troubles. [1]

    Indeed, at least where flash mob violence is occurring in Minneapolis, Portland, and Chicago, it is doubtful whether one can venture out in broad daylight, visit a convenience store at night, or even live safely in one's own home.

    From the details gathered in the cases, criminal flash mobs are hardly amusing, although they do contain elements of surprise, profit, and extreme antics for the so-called performers. For instance, blogger Aaron Rupar at City Pages reported on the case of Pieter (last name withheld), a 27-year old Asian-American man who was beaten unconscious by a flash mob one evening in Minneapolis in March.[2] In Minneapolis, there have been at least six reported violent mob attacks on innocent pedestrians and bicyclists, yet only one juvenile has been arrested with no details on the other suspects, especially race or ethnicity.[3]

    In Portland, a spate of criminal flash mobs in April have left store owners worried. According to the Fox 12 Oregon News video, 15-20 black teenagers ransacked Max Mart and Deli store and stole multiple items, but when the store employees and a pair of white customers tried to control the mob, a fight broke out. A lack of aggressive prosecution and adequate coverage is allowing many perpetrators to avoid any charges. "Just taking them to jail won't make them learn anything. You know they're going to come back and do the same stuff again," Asian store owner Thapa said. [4]

    Criminal flash mobs have been increasing over the past eighteen months, according to Merchant Analytic Solutions (MAS)'s article "Flash Mob=Flash ROB?" [5] This webpage includes a number of incidences, termed Multiple Offender Crimes (MOC) by the British authorities, including in Minnesota, Philadelphia, DC, Milwaukie, and Los Angeles. The idea that the mobs target non-black businesses is particularly discomfitting and confusing for storeowners, but MAS includes a list of best practices.[6]

    The lack of official government recognition and support over the increasingly violent flash mob attacks also goads the public. In "Media Conceal True Nature of 'Flash Mob' Racial Violence, John Bennett recounts his frustration about the media's misguided sense of racial sensitivity by routinely withholding perpetrators' race.[7] He writes, "Not every interracial crime has racial significance. Sometimes a fight is just a fight, a robbery is just a robbery, a mob is just a mob. But when there is a trend of racial victimization and a stark racial component in the participants of the attacks, then there is racial significance." His record of incidences at the Wisconsin State Fair, in Denver, and elsewhere are corroborated by Violentflashmobs.com, a website dedicated to documenting such. [8]

    Many bloggers are also accusing the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder of being too lax. Would not a word or two from African American leaders such as Mr. Holder or NAACP President Benjamin Jealous help? What is the Department of Justice doing with regard to pursuing new action plans and policies? Not enough, it appears. When I conducted a search of "flash mobs" at the DOJ website, the result listed only only six reports, with the most recent public report dated October 2011.[9]

    There needs to be a spectrum for classifying mobs, for law-enforcing actions, and for law enforcement plans. There needs to be recognition of these types of spontaneous groups at state and federal levels for quick effective measures against future attacks. Insurance companies are also stakeholders if flashmobs become a routine national phenomenon. Bear in mind, however, that many small businesses cannot afford additional insurance costs.

    More can be done to educate communities on how to recognize and respond to such as well because since the Trayvor Martin slaying, some perpetrators have admitted that their motivation was based upon anger.[10] The irony is that while a host of liberal and progressive media, such as Amnesty International, have voiced their support for the Martin family, many black groups seem unwilling to condemn flash mob violence.

    Violent flash mobs are a phenomemon that should be addressed head-on, just like how demonstrations are now managed through more sensitive crowd control tactics.[11] By organizing community leaders, providing heart-to-heart open dialogue with youths, the government might discover, for instance, that youth are unhappy at the rate at which well-paid green summer jobs are being created by the Energy Department.

    In the long-term, sociological studies, such as the one being conducted at the University of Kansas can be useful for advancing constructive cultural dialogues; for instance, the trickster monkey may be a revered cultural icon in African cultures, if only such playfulness and freedom or desire for empowerment could be better redirected.

    Notes:
    1. Jayaram V., "Morals for the Lay Followers of Buddhism," Hinduwebsite.com, accessed May 2, 2012.
    2. "Flash mobs attack Minneapolis," Citipages.com, April 4, 2012, accessed May 2, 2012, http://www.citypages.com/2012-04-04/news/flash-mobs-attack-minneapolis/.
    3. Aaron Rupar, "Downtown Minneapolis rocked by six violent 'flash mob' attacks during last two months," CityPages Blogs, March 28, 2012, accessed May 2, 2012, http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2012/03/downtown_minneapolis_rocked_by_five_violent_flash_mobs_attacks_during_last_two_months.php.
    4. Fox 12 Webstaff, "Third flash mob theft in past month caught on camera," KVPT Portland, April 30, 2012, accessed May 2, 2012, http://www.kptv.com/story/17938236/third-flash-mob-theft-in-o.
    5. Johnny Custer, "Flash Mob= Flash ROB?" Merchant Analytic Solutions, August 15, 2011, accessed May 2, 2012, http://www.merchantanalyticsolutions.com/flash-mob-flash-rob/.
    6. Ibid.
    7. John Bennett, "Exclusive: Media Conceal True Nature of 'Flash Mob' Racial Violence," Accuracy in Media, August 18, 2011, accessed May 2, 2012, http://www.aim.org/special-report/aim-exclusive-media-conceal-true-nature-of-%E2%80%9Cflash-mob%E2%80%9D-racial-violence/.
    8. "Violent Flash Mobs," Violentflashmobs.com, April 21, 2012, accessed May 2, 2012, http://violentflashmobs.com/
    9. United States Department of Justice, Searchjustice.usdoj.gov, accessed May 2, 2012, http://searchjustice.usdoj.gov/search?q=flash+mobs
    10. Chad Smith, "Man tells police group yelled 'Trayvon' then beat him," The Gainesville Sun, April 9, 2012, accessed May 2, 2012, http://www.gainesville.com/article/20120409/ARTICLES/120409617/1182?Title=Man-tells-police-group-yelled-8216-Trayvon-then-beat-him&tc=ar
    11. John Mangels, "Police Crowd Control Tactics have Changed Dramatically Since Kent State Protests," Cleveland Live, May 3, 2010, accessed May 2, 2012, http://blog.cleveland.com/pdextra/2010/05/police_crowd-control_tactics_h.html

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