Let’s get this out of the way: Tou Thao is a despicable human being. M.P.D. Badge #7162 has a history of excessive brutality and a settled out-of-court case for $25,000. He’s the Asian cop in the infamous George Floyd murder video and his immoral professional choices should absolutely be condemned. The defend-Asians-no-matter-what crowd is wrong here; put the tribalism aside and sit this one out.
What disturbs me is that in America, if someone who mildly looks like you does shitty things, people will think you must also do those same shitty things. What particular shitty thing am I talking about? Anti-blackness. Yes, the A word. The Asian community hates hearing it. The Asian community can’t make up it’s mind to define it — is bringing awareness of black violence to innocent Asians “anti-blackness”? Is not letting our daughters date black men “anti-blackness”? Is serving black customers in our restaurants and nail salons while whispering negative presumptions about them “anti-blackness”? The answer is, well, that’s really not up for us to decide. We decide anti-Asianness, not anti-blackness.
And so, it’s from the tragic murder of George Floyd that the black community has turned its ire on us via vile Thao. I don’t blame them; black folks have been aware for quite some time now about how some of us feel about them. After all, there are plenty of Thaos we keep hidden; some of them even in our families. Seeing Asians chummy up to white people is not an unusual scene for black and brown America — Thao doing nothing while a white colleague is doing an immoral act (the immoral-est of all) looks eerily…familiar. I understand why some in the black community have equated Floyd’s injustice to our community’s disgusting embracing of the model minority blueprint. Yet, I’m here to tell them that despite how thing seem on the surface, most of us aren’t Thao.
At the end of the day, seeing an innocent human being publicly executed is heartbreaking. Despite what the Tariq Nasheeds of the world may think, there have been many of us “caping” for African-Americans when it comes to police brutality. True, we can step it up a level — more of us can march, more of us can form groups, more of us can just speak out about it during dinner time to our Asian families. Yet, on a fundamental level, many Asian-Americans, just like the people of other communities, feel for the black community on racial injustice. It’s just unfortunate that a scumbag like Tou Thao was there instead of one of us. I personally would’ve said to hell with the police career and confronted the Officer Chauvin; most in the Asian community would.
There may be a day where the black and Asian communities head to a boil. I pray that day never comes. It doesn’t have to come if we can stop our own bad faith actors in each of our communities from leading us into a collision. Please believe me when I say the Tou Thao is not a representation of us; he is the worst, the bottom 5%. The blatant killing of so many innocent black men is abhorrent to our society; being black in America should not be a death sentence. It can’t be swept under a rug of whataboutisms. Blaming Asians is a waste of valuable energy. It’s too bad the wrong Asian was in the right place to stop a crime at the right time.