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Violence Against Asian-Americans Called Growing

November 11, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Violence in the United States against Asian-Americans is growing and could soon "explode into a national tragedy," two Japanese-American congressmen from California told a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.

The violence against teen-age Asian-Americans is prompted by jealousy over their superior grades in school, while violence against Asian-American adults is partly prompted by international trade tensions and the loss of some U.S. jobs to Asian nations, said Reps. Robert T. Matsui (D-Sacramento) and Norman Y. Mineta (D-San Jose).

"In high schools in Southern California, for example, white attacks against Asian students are increasing because of academic jealousy," Matsui told the hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee on civil and constitutional rights.

"Today's anti-Asian violence is also being sparked by our nation's economic rivalry with Asia and by an influx of immigrants who are perceived as competition for limited resources," he said.

"The bottom line is that anti-Asian violence is increasing in this nation. What today is a pernicious problem could soon explode into a national tragedy," Matsui said.

Mineta noted that Asians are the fastest growing immigrant group in the United States "and they are feeling a backlash. He said boats of Vietnamese fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico have been burned, Korean-owned businesses have been fire-bombed and Cambodian immigrants have been the victims of beatings and vandalism.

As a first step toward combating the problem, the lawmakers and representatives of Asian-American groups urged the subcommittee to pass a bill that would for the first time require the Justice Department to compile statistics on so-called "hate crimes" against ethnic or religious minorities.

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