Brave integration

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I recently saw this article: Daddy, Why Do People Steal From Us?

It’s written by a Korean American pastor who is trying to explain to his small daughter why his home keeps getting burglarized. Peter Chin is a pastor with four children and a cancer-surviving wife who leads a church in a low-income, predominantly African American area of DC. His home has been broken into twice, his car many times, and his daughter’s bicycle and his wife’s sandals have been stolen. And still he soldiers on. His daughter is in public school where she is the only Korean, and he continues to lead his church.

I have to say this–even though I’m not a Christian, and even though I take a dim view of proselytization, I have to hand it to Peter Chin. I don’t know if I’d be okay having my family live in an area where break-ins are common. I have in fact experienced a break-in, and it feels pretty invasive. When you move to a poor area where you’re a minority, you put a target on your back. This guy is brave.

I heard from a friend that educators–and I’m assuming this also applies to pastors as well–find a niche. They find a niche student, a niche parishioner, a nice demographic, for which their temperament makes them particularly well-suited. Props to Peter Chin for having this niche and following up on it.

(pic from this article)

20 thoughts on “Brave integration

  1. brave….. or stupid.

    I bet he also thinks that if anything bad does happen to his family, it’s all in God’s greater plan.

    F- that! I wouldn’t risk my family’s life.

  2. I think what he’s doing is commendable. I can see the parallels to what he is doing to what missionaries who go to dangerous areas to preach do. The only way you can sometimes change things is by taking risks. It is kind of selfish since his kids do not have a say in this. Not sure his wife does either. I only see two possible scenarios. One, his preaching creates better relations between the black and korean community in that neighborhood. Two, something awful happens to him and/or his family creating even more animosity between the two groups. Does he have a choice of moving to another neighborhood? Raising 4 kids today isn’t easy or cheap. I can see this turning into a feel good Disney movie. Unfortunately, it looks like this thread is well on it’s way to becoming one about Black on Asian crime.

  3. Moro and Linda,

    I agree with you both. Linda–I looked at his blog to see what he thought about the Sandy Hook Massacre. He mentions it, and then he goes into all kinds of God-talk about how Christmas actually was historically a time of suffering. I was more interested in what he thought about gun control. (I should probably ask him directly. I think I may.)

    I don’t know how to prevent threads from degenerating into black-on-Asian crime discussions. It’s like the minute you bring it up, people start chiming in with their race theories (KKK in this case). Peter Chin’s story is actually a great lead-in to constructive talk since people always say, “Well, you’ve never lived among black people so you have no idea what goes on in black neighborhoods.” Well, here is a guy who has! And he still does!

    It would actually also be interesting if we read about a guy moving into a middle class black neighborhood. This way, there wouldn’t be as much discussion about crime. If anyone has such a story, send it over. Please.

  4. One gangrape will change everything.

    Gangrape? Chigga please. Even though he lives and works in is the NE area of Washington DC? That scenario seems unlikely given the crime data you can find and or request from local police. He may wish to be concerned about the amount of non-black males in the upper NE side of DC. The ones that are registered sex offenders with a preference for little boys. Just saying…

    I bet he also thinks that if anything bad does happen to his family, it’s all in God’s greater plan.

    This guy bagged 29 kills 1 death with a K/D ratio of 29 in a span of 9 minutes in Call of Duty MW3. That dude is god.

    Other than that, I am glad he took the logical road and explained to his daughter “the truth” about the burglaries. He’s not the first Korean to do something like this. Probably the first on the NE side though (that does take a lot of balls) as opposed to the SE/SW side. I think his story is getting a lot of buzz because most Asians in DC live in NW/SW. Closer into “Gallery Place” (china town) and all. They do not usually travel outside of that conform zone though.

  5. Safety is not something to be compromised with or “explained” away. If you’re being specially targeted for crime, like the article suggested, and this is not something that happens to other people there, such as their old shoes and bicycles not being stolen, then you’re already one step up the step ladder to being targeted for more serious crimes.

  6. “He may wish to be concerned about the amount of non-black males in the upper NE side of DC. The ones that are registered sex offenders with a preference for little boys. Just saying…”

    I would be concerned about that too

  7. He’s been through several adversities and another one won’t hurt him. He would had moved after a few incidents, but he and his family chose to remain.

    I’m sure he gets a reassurance (a pat on the back) for being brave, from his neighbors and church attendees, who are likely to be Black. Other Asians would taken flight instead, and complain about not being able to live with other “decent” people (i.e. Asians and Whites).

    I tip my hat to this guy for not being a whiner, because he decided to live outside the model minority realm.

  8. He snuck in that positive comment by typecasting his own race – once again – as essentially racist in their choices and perspectives. So i think it cancels each other out and he’s back to 20.

  9. wow, this discussion is wonderful! i don’t want to ruin it by interjecting myself into the center of it, but thought i might add a few points:

    - my wife and kids have all the say in whether we live here or not. if they for a moment felt unsafe, then we would have already moved. but the fact is that in my family, i’m the least brave of us all. the day after our house was broken into, i wanted to lock the doors and never go outside again – my wife bluntly said, “i’m not living like that – let’s go to costco.” and that was that. then again, she lived in liberia when charles taylor was in power, and in afghanistan in 2002, months after 9/11 – she’s lived in scarier places by far.

    - i should add that nothing violent has ever happened to us, and there is very little violent crime where i live (although a lot of property crime, obviously). and that is no small difference. had i or my family been subjected to physical violence, i do not think we would still be here. that would take internal fortitude that i know i don’t have. i have close friends who have been assaulted, and i never for a moment would challenge them to remain where they are. i tell them to get the hell out of dodge.

    - for MW3, i am the world’s biggest camper/sniper. that KD seems impressive until you watch me do it. then all you would think is, “wow…he’s really cheap.”

    you guys are super cool – please carry on!

  10. Hello Peter! Thank you for joining us, this is quite a surprise! :)

    I’m very glad to hear that violent crime is uncommon in your neighborhood. :D

  11. Hey Peter,

    Thanks for coming here! It’s good to know that your neighborhood is safe from violence. It’s great that you’re both looking out for your family and teaching your kids diversity. Props to you! And props to your wife too!

    I was going to ask you about your views on gun control and whether you have a gun, but in light of the nonviolent nature of the neighborhood, it doesn’t look like it’s relevant. You seem to have adopted a laizzez-faire attitude towards worldly possessions, which is great. :)

  12. Raguel wrote: He snuck in that positive comment by typecasting his own race – once again – as essentially racist in their choices and perspectives. So i think it cancels each other out and he’s back to 20.

    Agreed, he’s essentially talking about the same thing again but only because of being afraid to be edited, he’s sugar coating his negativity with something positive. Once again, there is mention how Asians suck in the world. Such desperation. It’s like saying, this black person is good cause he’s bucking the trend of being a gangsta. Most blacks are gangstas but this one guy is breaking that stereotype. But then again, he knows he’s doing this. Of course he’s going to not admit it and blame it on this blog for posting a story like this getting his type of reaction.

  13. “I was going to ask you about your views on gun control and whether you have a gun, but in light of the nonviolent nature of the neighborhood,”

    Why would he answer that and risk making himself a greater target (if he did not have one)?

  14. Safety is not something to be compromised with or “explained” away.

    The only thing being “explained” away is the distasteful use of the word “gangrape” when describing serious crimes that could happen in the area(s) of DC outlined in the article. There are no facts or evidence to back up that “gangrape” is probable in the area(s) described in the article. Please leave that mandingo stereotyping with it’s creators.

  15. The church has always been about transcending social barriers since the days of Apostle Paul. Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, rich and poor, male and female….

  16. I have no idea whether gang rape is possible in that area of DC. But it is certainly possible where I live. The possibility of gang rape and murder and violent robbery is one of those things that linger at the edges of my awareness every time I am out. It is one of those things that bother me when considering the safety of my family, friends and girlfriends past and present.

    I am very sorry that it seemed I was stereotyping black people again. I really didn’t mean to. This is what I believe: nothing makes black people more or less prone to committing any crime, at least not compared with all other people. My concern when I brought up the matter – ignorant as I was about the safety dynamics in that area – is that if it is true according to the article a family is being targeted for petty crime, and especially targeted for crimes others there do not suffer, that is one step up the step ladder for more serious crimes occurring. That is generally the pattern.

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