NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
NEW YORK, NY – A video has been circulating on social media of a Black family (a daughter, her mother, and her grandmother) who was attacked by Asian nail salon workers. The incident occurred on Aug. 3 at the New Red Apple Nail Salon in Brooklyn, N.Y., after Christina Thomas, 21, told the salon owner that she was unhappy about the eyebrow treatment she received, and would pay for all other services except for the $5 brow treatment.
The situation quickly escalated into chaos when Thomas delivered a blow to a nail salon worker, Huiyue Zheng. The video shows the Asian nail salon workers fighting back — grabbing on to her tank top straps as an attempt to hold her down. One worker is seen spraying her with a bottle of acetone nail polish remover. Another is seen repeatedly beating Thomas’ back with a broom as she flees the salon. There is even a lady who attempts to throw a chair at her. Thomas and Zheng have both been charged with assault.
Perceived as an act of racist brutality, protesters gathered in front of the nail salon on Aug. 6, urging neighborhood residents to boycott the business. “Black $$$ Matter,” one sign read.
The nail salon is located in East Flatbush, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is 86 percent Black and 1 percent Asian, according to Census data.
The New York chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) released a statement on Aug. 11 saying it condemns this act of violence.
“We reiterate and reaffirm our opposition to anti-Black violence and racism, especially within the Asian American community. We call on both communities, as well as all communities of color, to unite and work towards promoting an interactive dialogue between our communities through organizations and individuals.” The statement goes on to say, “We hope that as a result, we can find common ground within these complex cultural issues in the fight for racial and social justice for all marginalized communities.”
JACL said Asian American and Black communities have historically had tensions, specifically due to the model minority myth that pitted them against each other since the 1960s. But there is also a long history of solidarity between the two communities in the fight for equal justice and civil liberties for communities of color.
“It is crucial we recognize that many of the privileges and benefits that we enjoy today as Asian Americans are owed to the Black-led fight for civil rights and to our Black brothers and sisters,” said JACL.
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