Building Minority Coalitions: A Case Study of Korean and African Americans

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Chang, Edward T.
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Population and Development Studies Center, Seoul National University
Korea Journal of Population and Development, Vol.21 No.1, pp. 37-56
Since the early 1980s, Korean-African American conflicts have emerged as one

of the most explosive issues of urban America. In the context of economic despair,

many African Americans have perceived Korean merchants as "aliens" who have

"taken over" their community. In order to alleviate and prevent tension between

the two communities, Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission convened

the meeting between the two communities, and formed the Black Korean Alliance (BKA) in 1986. The primary purpose of the BKA was to disseminate positive information and take preventive measures. Despite attempts, tension escalated

in 1991 when two African American customers were shot and killed by a Korean American merchant in two separate incidents. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to learn from the failures of the BKA. Korean American and African American relations is like a "key of dynamite" ready to explode. The real challenge for Korean Americans and African Americans is how to forge coalition by maximizing commonalties while minimizing differences before it is too late.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and SocietyKorea Journal of Population and Development Vol.21 No.1/2 (1992)
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