Sunday NYT Mag Cover Deflects Black-on-Asian Assaults, Finds ‘Root Causes,’ Victim Blaming

August 28th, 2021 5:38 PM

In the August 22 cover story for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, San Francisco-based magazine journalist Jaeah Lee touched on the anti-Asian-American hate crimes, but while it's an important and valid story, it dealt very gingerly with certain aspects.

Lee's headline used one family's story as a jumping off point: “Why Was Vicha Ratanapakdee Killed? -- His death helped awaken the nation to a rise in anti-Asian violence. For his grieving family, the reckoning hasn’t gone far enough.”

Scattered within the 8,000-word story were hard truths about the commonality of violent black-on-Asian assaults. However (and in a predictable move by The Times), most of the space was devoted to politically correct deflection of that inconvenient fact and emphasis on the liberal canards of “root causes” of violence, with a dash of victim-blaming. At least Donald Trump wasn’t blamed for street attacks against elderly Asians in California (though an online sidebar mentioned him twice).

Lee launched her profile of the daughter of an Asian assault victim with a totally unrelated reference to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, then relayed what happened after her father went on his morning walk in his San Francisco neighborhood on January 28, 2021.

The footage is grainy and brief: A tall figure suddenly darts across a street and slams into a much smaller one; the smaller figure crumples onto the pavement and doesn’t get back up; the white baseball cap flutters to the ground, like a leaf falling from a tree.

The suspect in her father’s death was a 19-year-old African American.

Lee couldn’t hold off the P.C. pieties in Vicha's case and, while treading with ridiculous overcaution around the fact that most anti-Asian attackers are black, she emphasized that the gunman in the Georgia massage parlors massacre was white. She also recite a phony history of how that gunman was dealt with (click “expand”):

Two days after Vicha died, Eric created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the funeral, which included a photo of Vicha and a description of his assailant derived from a mix of facts and raw emotion: “A despicable 19-year-old thug that came to his neighborhood in a stolen vehicle and decided to prove how tough he was by brutalizing a senior citizen,” Eric wrote. “Now that Mr. Vicha Ratanapakdee has died of his injuries, prosecution for this murderous hate crime is the only path to justice and community safety.”….he also replaced “thug” with “adult male,” after watching an episode of “S.W.A.T.” in which a Black cop explained the word’s racist undertones to his partner. Eric, who grew up near San Jose, described himself as someone who never thought much about race during his upbringing…


Less than 24 hours later, a spokesman for the Cherokee County sheriff reduced the rampage to the act of a sex addict having “a really bad day”; then it was revealed that the same spokesman reportedly promoted T-shirts calling the coronavirus an “IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA.”

She agonized over the weekly images of Asians being assaulted “and how, exactly, race is playing a role.”

Anti-Asian racism by some blacks? Apparently not. “Root causes?” 


The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act….was celebrated for recognizing the need to better track violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. But it also drew criticism for effectively endorsing more policing at a time when law enforcement faced intense scrutiny, as well as for failing to address the root causes of racism or crime.

The report devoted a few stylistically tortured sentences to street reality, while still struggling to find another race to blame and even suggested noticing the race of the attackers was somehow racist (click “expand”):

(The data, though incomplete, show that hate crimes against Asian Americans were more likely to be committed by nonwhite offenders than those against Hispanics or African Americans. But the overwhelming majority of hate-crime perpetrators are white.)


[S]tories like Vicha’s sparked at least two opposing narratives. One was that there was a pattern of Black perpetrators and Asian victims, that the pattern was a symptom of a tension dating back decades. Another was that such a pattern was not only false, but that the belief in it was a racist misperception.

For counterpoint, Lee dug up a Korean American shopkeeper shooting a black teenager in 1991, and a Chinese American cop shooting a black man in a dark stairwell in 2014.

Or perhaps Asians have fostered jealousy by being too successful?

….though half of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Bay Area are low- or very-low-income, as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development…they are often seen as beneficiaries of rising inequality.