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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

December 4, 2004

Written by C.N.

Interracial Couple Beaten in Racially-Motivated Attack

Orignally posted Feb. 2004

On January 31, 2004, as the Iowa City Press Citizen reports, second-year University of Iowa law student Janis Chang and her White boyfriend were attacked by four White male UI college students who yelled racial slurs at them, called her a “chink” and her boyfriend a “chink lover,” and made monkey sounds at them.

As the couple tried to walk away, both were attacked and Chang’s boyfriend was repeatedly hit and kicked in the head. Weeks after the attack, he is still coughing up blood, is unable to eat, speak, or sleep well, and Chang is still too traumatized to return to class. The Iowa City police department is still investigating the incident and will likely turn over its evidence to prosecutors soon so that they can determine what, if any, charges to bring against the assailants.

UIowa: institution of excellence or indifference? © Univ. of Iowa

As news of this hate crime became publicized, it turns out that racially-motivated incidents like these were just another example of how Asian American college students at the University of Iowa and elsewhere continue to be targets of racial slurs, intimidation, and acts of violence in and around campus.

Beyond the fact that White males are now being targeted for being in interracial relationships, what makes these events even more worse is when university administrators are slow and ineffective in first reacting to the specific incident at hand and second, at addressing the causes of these incidents in general. Many times these causes involve how Asian American students and other students of color are made to feel marginalized on these predominantly White college campuses.

In this case, we don’t even know if the prosecutors are going to charge the assailants with any kind of hate-cime related crimes, even though that’s clearly the case. If the prosecutors don’t bring hate crimes charges against the attackers (or any charges at all!) or if the university fails to discipline the attackers, it will stand as another example of how our country’s principle of “equal protection under the law” is only selectively applied to certain privileged groups.

If there is no justice in this case, there will be hell to pay, one way or another.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Interracial Couple Beaten in Racially-Motivated Attack" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2004/12/interracial-couple-beaten-in-racially-motivated-attack/> ().

Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=24