METROFOCUS: April 15, 2021

Hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to be on the rise across the country. But the scourge appears to be happening with particular frequency right here, in New York. Many of us have seen the shocking and deeply troubling videos of people assaulted on the street, or in the subway, and often in broad daylight. Sometimes these random attacks are physical. Sometimes they are verbal. But what is constant is the fear, anxiety and anger. Tonight, as a part of our Exploring Hate initiative we’re joined by ABC 7 Eyewitness News reporter CeFaan Kim who has been reporting on these stories and has himself been racially abused while doing his job

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, PATTI ASKWITH KENNER.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

ATTACKS ON ASIAN AMERICANS ARE ON THE RISE.

THAT'S TRUE ACROSS THE COUNTRY BUT ESPECIALLY TRUE RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK.

SEEN IN TROUBLING VIDEOS, PEOPLE BEING ASSAULTED VERBALLY AND PHYSICALLY ON THE STREET, IN THE SUBWAY, OFTEN IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.

IN FEBRUARY, THE CITY LAUNCHED AN ASIAN HATE CRIME TASK FORCE TO HELP TAKE ON THIS PROBLEM, BUT THE FACT REMAINS THAT MANY IN OUR COMMUNITIES ARE ON EDGE.

THERE'S FEAR, ANXIETY AND INDEED EVEN ANGER.

TONIGHT, AS PART OF OUR EXPLORING HATE INITIATIVE, EXAMINING THE ROOTS AND RISE OF ANTI-S ANTI-SEMITISM, WE WANT TO TALK TO CEFAAN KIM.

WE WANT TO GET HIS PERSPECTIVE, BOTH PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY ON ALL THESE ISSUES.

WELCOME.

THANKS SO MUCH.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, JACK.

LET'S START WITH THE BIGGER PICTURE QUESTION, IF WE CAN.

THAT IS WHAT ARE WE SEEING IN TERMS OF NUMBERS AND HOW TELLING ARE THESE NUMBERS, THE CHANGES IN THE NUMBERS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS IN TERMS OF THE LEVEL OF ATTACKS AND PERHAPS EVEN THE REASON FOR THE ATTACKS WE'RE SEEING?

SURE, THAT'S GA GOOD QUESTIO.

SO FAR THIS YEAR TO DATE SO FAR WE ARE ALREADY OVER THE AMOUNT OF ATTACKS THAT WERE REPORTED TO GET TO THE PLACE IN ALL OF 2020.

WE'RE ABOVE 30 FOR THE QUARTER.

THAT WOULD PUT US ABOUT FOUR TIMES HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR.

THAT ALL BEING SAID, LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS ALWAYS FELT THIS WAS AN UNDERREPORTED CRIME, SO THERE ARE SOME IN LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT BELIEVE THE NUMBER NOW THAT WE'RE SEEING IS REFLECTIVE OF THE REAL REALITY AND OTHERS THINK IT'S HIGHER.

THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS HAPPENING HERE.

YOU CERTAINLY HAVE THE PANDEMIC AND THE POLITICAL RHETORIC THAT SORT OF GIVE LICENSE TO THIS KIND OF HATE THAT'S CERTAINLY FUELLING AND ADDING TO THIS.

THE QUESTION IS BY HOW MUCH.

WE DON'T REALLY KNOW HOW MUCH OF THIS IS ATTRIBUTED TO THAT.

COMMON SENSE IS THAT HATE AGAINST ASIAN AMERICANS LONG PREDATED LAST YEAR OR THE FRE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION.

WE KNOW THERE'S AN UNDERLYING ISSUE WITH HATE AND BIAS AGAINST THIS COMMUNITY.

WE JUST DON'T HAVE AN ACCURATE BASELINE, TO BE HONEST.

YOU MENTIONED THE HISTORY.

WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN FAR MORE WELCOMING TO SOME GROUPS THAN WE HAVE TO OTHERS OVER THE YEARS IN TERMS OF OUR IMMIGRATION POLICIES.

GO BACK TO 1882 WHEN THE U.S.

CONGRESS PASSED THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT, THIS WAS THEN FIRST AND I BELIEVE STILL THE ONLY LAW WHERE ESSENTIALLY WE AS A NATION SAID WE ARE GOING TO EXCLUDE AN ENTIRE GROUP FROM COMING HERE.

YOU GO BACK THAT FAR AND CERTAINLY EVEN FARTHER.

LET'S TALK ABOUT WITH THAT AS A BACKDROP AND I'M GOING TO COME BACK AND GET YOUR SENSE ON THE IMPACT.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE POLITICAL RHETORIC.

YOU CAN'T IGNORE THAT.

I DON'T THINK WE CAN IGNORE THAT WHEN WE'RE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS AS TO WHY THIS HAPPENED.

AS A REPORTER, YOU'RE A CHRONICLER OF ALL OF THIS.

YOU SEE THE IMPACT OF WHAT'S YOUR SENSE OF WHAT THE IMPACT HAS BEEN OF THE POLITICAL RHETORIC?

WE HAVE TO SEE MOST ESPECIALLY FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP CALLING THIS THE CHINESE FLU, OTHER GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ECHOING THAT.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT BEEN?

LET ME SORT OF UNPACK IT IN ORDER.

YOU MENTIONED THE EXCLUSION ACT.

THIS IS SYSTEMIC AND SORT OF BAKED INTO THIS COUNTRY.

LOOK, I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS JOB FOR 20 YEARS IN NEW YORK CITY, SO I KNOW THESE CRIMES AND ATTACKS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HAPPENING.

WHEN THE LANGUAGE CAME OUT TO HAVE ADMINISTRATION, IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE EVERYONE IN MY POSITION, WE BRACED OURSELVES BECAUSE WE KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO SORT OF UNLOAD WHAT'S ALREADY BEEN HAPPENING.

IF YOU LOOK AT ONE OF THE BETTER ORGANI ORGANIZATIONS, STOP AAPI HATE, THEY ACTUALLY SEPARATE WITHIN THE OVERALL TABULATION WHAT THAW CONSIDER COVID RELATED.

IN FACT, THE NYPD DOES THAT AS WELL.

THEY WILL BREAK DOWN A HATE CRIME AGAINST ASIAN AMERICAN THAT'S MOTIVATED BY THE RACE OF THE VICTIM AND SEPARATELY MOTIVATED BY COVID-19.

ACCORDING TO STOP AAPI HATE, THEY WOULD SAY I HIGHLY DOUBT THAT IN 2019 HUMANS WERE -- THAT'S ATTRIBUTED TO WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR.

IN THEIR CALCULATION THAT'S ONLY 7% OF THE OVERALL NUMBER.

IT GOES BACK TO THE THING WE'RE SEEING THAT THIS ONLY SORT OF GAME LICENSE AND NORMALIZED I THINK WHAT WAS ALWAYS HAPPENING.

WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING IN THIS MOMENT IS VICTIMS IN THIS COMMUNITY ARE REPORTING IT TO POLICE AND, B, SPEAKING TO MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA LIKE MYSELF.

I HAVE THIS SORT OF THEORY THIS IS IN SOME WAYS A CONTINUATION OF -- IT'S THE FIRST TIME THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY MARCHED OUT IN THE STREETS IN SOLIDARITY WITH BLACK AND BROWN FOLKS AFTER A YEAR OF THIS KEXACERBATD HATE IN 2020, THE COMMUNITY FELT LIKE WE MARCHED WITH YOU, IT'S TIME TO RECIPROCATE.

THERE WAS A LEVEL OF FRUSTRATION THAT NOBODY ELSE WAS STANDING UP FOR THE COMMUNITY.

THEY SORT OF HAD A ENOUGH AND GOT TO A BREAKING POINT WHERE THEY SAID, I'M DONE WITH THIS, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

THE DIFFICULTY FOR ME WAS IN THE BEGINNING FINDING ONE VICTIM WHO WOULD GO ON THE RECORD AND THEN ONE AFTER ANOTHER AFTER ANOTHER.

I CAN TELL YOU THAT EACH AND EVERY ONE TOLD ME THEY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DOING THIS PUBLICLY IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR THE MOMENT AND THEY'RE SPEAKING OUT NOW BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T FEEL LIKE THEY WERE ALONE.

I THINK WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING IS THAT NOT NECESSARILY THAT THERE'S A RISE IN ATTACKS -- AND THAT'S CERTAINLY TRUE TO A DEGREE -- BUT THIS IS MORE ABOUT AN OUTSPOKENNESS THAT'S NEW.

THERE'S A LOT OF REASONS FOR THAT, BUT THIS IS A PIVOT POINT, I THINK.

CULTURALLY THIS COMMUNITY IS NOT ACCUSTOMED TO WEARING ITS TRAUMA AND PAIN PUBLICLY WHETHER IT'S GENERATIONAL, WHETHER IT'S THE MOTION WE'RE IN, THAT'S STARTING TO CHANGE NOW.

WE SEEM TO HAVE A SENSE EARLY ON WHEN WE WERE TRYING TO CONFRONT THIS PHENOMENON OF THESE ATTACKS, THAT THE VICTIMS WERE PRIMARILY OLDER CITIZENS OR WOMEN.

IS THAT ACCURATE?

YES AND NO.

IT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

WHAT'S INTERESTING IS IN THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC WE SAW SORT OF LIKE THIS SLOW DRUM BEAT OF THESE INCIDENTS, BUT THEY MAIN HAPPENED FROM WHAT WE KNOW NEW YORK CITY AND THE BAY AREA.

I HAPPEN TO THINK IT'S HAPPENING EVERYWHERE BUT WE HAPPEN TO HAVE JOURNALISTS IN THESE CITIES DOING A BETTER JOB REACHING THESE VICTIMS BUT SOURCED WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND NOT TO MENTION WHERE YOU FIND THE DENSITY OF SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS.

IT'S AN URBAN ENVIRONMENT.

WE SORT OF HAD A LULL THROUGH THE SUMMER AND THE FALL AND IT PICKED UP AGAIN IN THE BAY AREA AT FIRST IN EARLY JANUARY.

I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, I KNOW IT'S HAPPENING HERE.

IT'S JUST A MATTER OF HEARING ABOUT IT AND REACHING VICTIMS AND CONVINCING THEM TO DO THIS.

I WOULD SAY THAT I KNEW THAT IN JANUARY WE WERE SEEING PRIMARILY TO GO BACK TO YOUR POINT THE ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE BEING TARGETED.

THAT WAS REALLY SORT OF JARRING FOR AMERICANS TO SEE THE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE BEING TARGETED IN THAT KIND OF WAY.

THEN AFTER A WEEK OR TWO OF FIGHTING THAT KIND OF PROFILE AND VICTIMS, WE STARTED TO SEE ALL OF THE SUDDEN THE ATTACKS WERE TARGETED AGAINST A BROADER POPULATION.

DIDN'T MATTER WHAT GENDER, DIDN'T MATTER WHAT AGE.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE MAN STABBED IN CHINA TOWN WITH A KITCHEN KNIFE, HE WAS A 36-YEAR-OLD MAN WALKING HOME FROM WORK.

FOR ME, THAT OBVIOUSLY SHOOK ME BECAUSE THAT WAS THE FIRST BIG ATTACK IN THE CITY THAT WE SAW TO THAT POINT THAT DIDN'T FIT THAT PROFILE.

AGAIN, GOING BACK TO MY EXPERIENCE, I KNEW THIS WASN'T JUST THE OLD AND THE VULNERABLE AND WOMEN.

SO I MADE IT A POINT TO REALLY SORT OF SHOW THE PUBLIC THAT YOU COULD REALLY BE ANYONE AND ANYWHERE.

WE EVEN FOUND VICTIMS IN THE SUBURBS.

WHAT IT CAME DOWN TO IS I THINK THAT THE NARRATIVE I'M TRYING TO PUT OUT THERE IS THAT ASIAN AMERICANS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO HATE FROM ANY SORT OF PERPETRATOR OR AGE GROUP OR DEMOGRAPHIC.

IT IS JUST SOMETHING WE'VE LIVED WITH OUR ENTIRE LIVES.

IT'S OUR REALITY.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION ABOUT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE ON THE JOB REPORTING AND A LEVEL OF ABUSE BEING DIRECTED AT YOU.

TELL US ABOUT THAT.

YEAH.

IT'S INTERESTING, I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT THAT UNTIL RECENTLY.

THIS MIGHT BE SORT OF DEPRESSING TO ADMIT BUT IT'S NORMAL TO ME.

I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN PHILADELPHIA.

IT'S THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE, IN QUOTES.

I FACED BIAS AND HATE LITERALLY EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE AND CHILDHOOD TO THE POINT WHERE IT WAS BEYOND JUST GETTING MY BUTT KICKED EVERYSYSTEMIC.

I HAD A TEACHER WHO OPENLY MOCKED THE SOUND OF MY NAME AND HAD THE CLASS LAUGH COLLECTIVELY.

IT WAS TRAUMATIC.

OVER THE YEARS I'VE LEARNED TO COMPARTMENTALIZE THAT.

I'VE HAD DRILL SERGEANTS TELL ME TO GO BACK TO CHINA.

I'M KOREAN AMERICAN.

I DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY THAT'S HURTFUL AND RACIST.

I'M NOW IN A ROLE WHERE I'VE S SIGNED UP FOR MY COUNTRY AND I'M BEING TOLD THIS IS NOT MY COUNTRY.

THIS IS SO SYSTEMIC AND NORMAL TO A DEGREE I SORT OF LEARNED AS AN ADULT TO KIND OF LIVE WITH IT.

ALL THROUGHOUT MY CAREER AS A JOURNALIST IN THE CITY, I WENT THROUGH ALL KINDS OF THINGS IN EVERY POCKET OF THE CITY.

I NEVER REALLY CARED TO DOCUMENT IT UNTIL I THINK THE FIRST TIME THAT I REMEMBER DOING THIS DELIBERATELY WAS, I WAS COVERING A SITUATION IN BROOKLYN WHERE YOU HAD A POCKET OF THE ORTHODOX JEWISH COMMUNITY THAT WAS CAUGHT IN VIOLATION NUMEROUS TIMES OF THE COVID PROTOCOLS PUT IN PLACE BY THE STATE.

SO ALL JOURNALISTS FROM ALL MEDIA OUTLETS WERE DOWN THERE TRYING TO PUT THAT STORY OUT THERE.

AS I'M THERE, I'M BEING CALLED A RACIAL SLUR ON CAMERA.

I DIDN'T EVEN THINK AT THE MOMENT THAT IT WAS EDITORIALLY RELEVANT AND I WASN'T GOING TO INCLUDE IT, BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

I THOUGHT ABOUT IT.

MY PHOTOGRAPHER SORT OF PUT THIS IDEA IN MY HEAD.

THE FACT THAT IT'S HAPPENING TO ME WAS RELEVANT TO INCLUDE BECAUSE IT SORT OF EMPHASIZED THE RESISTANCE TO SCIENCE OR THE BELIEF IN COVID, THE POLITICIZATION OF THIS MOMENT.

EVERYTHING SORT OF IT CONVENIENTLY WITH THE PUSHBACK COMING OUT OF THE ADMINISTRATION, WHETHER IT WAS DON'T BELIEVE IN WEARING A MASK OR SOCIAL DISTANCING OR SCIENCE OR RACISM.

SO I DECIDED TO INCLUDE IT BECAUSE IT SORT OF ALL FIT INTO THIS BUCKET OF LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE MESSAGING IN WASHINGTON, IT'S LITERALLY BEING REPEATED ON THE GROUND AND THROWN BACK AT ME.

THAT WAS SOMETIME IN THE SUMMER OR FALL OF LAST YEAR THAT THAT HAPPENED.

LET ME COME BACK TO SOMETHING YOU MENTIONED BEFORE.

WE WERE TALKING ABOUT VARIOUS ATTACKS THAT ARE TAKING PLACE.

I ALSO MENTIONED THE ASIAN HATE TASK FORCE THAT THE CITY IS PUTTING IN PLACE.

WE LIKE TO THINK THAT IF WE CAN CREATE LAWS SUCH AS HATE CRIME LAWS, THAT THAT WILL NOT ONLY PROTECT PEOPLE BUT MAYBE TEND TO DIMINISH THE PROBLEM.

WE KNOW THAT'S NOT TRUE, BUT AT LEAST IT'S A STEP.

MY QUESTION IS YOU MENTIONED THE STABBING IN CHINATOWN.

I'M SURE PEOPLE WERE SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT THAT WAS NOT BEING CATEGORIZED AS A HATE CRIME.

YET WE'VE SEEN OTHER CASES, ONE FAIRLY RECENTLY WHERE THE MAN KNOCKED A 60 SOME-YEAR-OLD ASIAN WOMAN TO THE GROUND AND STOMPED ON HER, JUST AN AWFUL, AWFUL SCENARIO AND THAT IS BEING DESIGNATED A HATE CRIME.

I'M A FORMER PROSECUTOR, SO YOU KNOW THERE'S CERTAIN THINGS YOU HAVE TO LOOK FOR TO PROVE A CASE.

FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, HOW DIFFICULT DO YOU THINK IT IS TO GET PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND WHY SOME CASES CAN BE CALLED AND PROSECUTED AS HATE CRIMES AND OTHERS CAN'T?

IT'S EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.

THAT'S THE CHALLENGE I'M HAVING.

LOOK, I THINK THE PROBLEM THAT THE AVERAGE FOLK DON'T LIVE IN THIS LEGAL WORLD.

YOU AND I KNOW WHAT THE LEGAL CRITERIA IS TO HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE TO ELEVATE THIS TO A HATE CRIME CHARGE.

I THINK THE BROADER DISCUSSION AMONG THE AVERAGE CITIZEN IS HATE NOT IN THE LEGAL SENSE, BUT HATE AS WE KNOW IT AS HUMAN BEINGS.

I THINK THE PROBLEM IS YOU HAVE SORT OF INCIDENTS WHERE YOU CAN'T PROVE IT'S HATE, BUT THE COMMON SENSE WOULD TELL YOU, OBVIOUSLY I WAS TARGETED FOR THAT REASON.

THERE'S A DISTINCTION THERE.

I WOULD EVEN ARGUE THERE ARE CASES WHERE THERE MIGHT NOT BE ANY EVIDENCE OF HATE, BUT YOU WONDER IF THE PERSON WAS TARGETED BECAUSE OF IMPLICIT BIAS OR IMPLICIT FEELING THAT ALONG WITH BEING ASIAN AMERICAN, ONE OF THE STEREOTYPES IS THAT THEY'RE VULNERABLE.

LET'S BE HONEST, A LOT OF THESE VIOLENT CRIMES HAPPEN IN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE PLAGUED WITH CRIME.

THEY'RE HAVING TO VICTIMS OF ALL DIFFERENT COLORS AS WELL.

SO THE QUESTION IS, IF YOU SEE AN ATTACK AGAINST AN ELDERLY ASIAN WOMAN SOMEPLACE IN BROOKLYN, I WOULD ARGUE THAT ALSO HAPPENS TO AN ELDERLY BLACK OR BROWN WOMAN.

BUT THE QUESTION YOU CAN'T REALLY PROVE IS DID THAT SUSPECT LOOK AT THAT ELDERLY ASIAN WOMAN AND THINK THEY'RE ASIAN, THEY DON'T SPEAK OUT, THEY'RE JUST GOING TO TAKE IT ON THE CHIN AND THAT'S SORT OF BAKED IN.

PERHAPS IN THE SUSPECT'S MIND THEY DON'T EVEN REALIZE THERE'S IMPLICIT BIAS.

THAT'S BEEN DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN TO FOLKS.

JUST BECAUSE YOU THINK IT IS, IT'S DIFFERENT TO PROVE IT IN COURT.

THE CHALLENGE I'VE HAD OVER THE COURSE OF 2020 WAS THE MESSAGING OUT OF THE NYPD.

THEY WOULD AUTOMATICALLY OFF THE BAT CATEGORICALLY DISMISS THE POSSIBILITY OF A HATE CRIME BECAUSE THE LANGUAGE WAS THERE WERE NO WORDS SPOKEN.

WE KNOW THE MOST OBVIOUS EVIDENCE IN AN ATTACK THAT CAN CATEGORIZE IT AS A HATE CRIME IS A RACIAL SLUR.

OFTEN THEY WOULD SAY NO WORDS WERE EXCHANGED, IT'S NOT A HATE CRIME.

THAT INFURIATED THE COMMUNITY.

YOU WOULD OFTEN SEE ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN GROCERY STORES AND NO WORDS WERE EXCHANGED.

WHY ISN'T THAT POSSIBILITY AT LEAST THERE?

CREDIT TO THEM, TO THE NYPD THAT AFTER MONTHS OF MY REPORTING THEY FINALLY SORT OF UNDERSTOOD THAT FRUSTRATION AND THEY HAVE COMPLETELY REVERSED THAT LANGUAGE.

THEY HAVE SAID PUBLICLY TIME AND TIME AGAIN SINCE JANUARY THAT ABSENT ANY WORDS SPOKEN, ABSENT ANY OBVIOUS APPARENT MOTIVE, THEY WOULD LOOK AT THE POSSIBILITY.

I THINK THAT'S ALL THE COMMUNITY IS ASKING FOR.

DON'T DISMISS IT OFF THE TOP.

AT LEAST LOOK AT THE POSSIBILITY.

THAT'S WHERE WE ARE NOW.

CHARGING AND PROSECUTING IT IS DIFFERENT.

GOING BACK TO THE STABBING, THE MANHATTAN D.A., YOU SAW ALL OF A SUDDEN POLICE SLAP A HATE CRIME ONTO THIS ATTACK WHICH I WOULD ARGUE TWO MONTHS PRIOR THEY WOULDN'T HAVE DONE.

THE D.A. WITHIN 24 HOURS DROPS THAT CHARGE.

PROSECUTION IS DIFFERENT BUT THE ISSUE WITH THAT CASE SPECIFICALLY IS THE D.A. MADE THE ARGUMENT THERE IS NO WAY THE SUSPECT COULD HAVE KNOWN THE VICTIM'S RACE BECAUSE THE VICTIM WAS WEARING A MASK AND HAT.

THE SUSPECT ADMITTED TO POLICE THAT HE, QUOTE X, DID NOT LIKE E WAY HE LOOKED AT ME, WHICH MEANS HE MADE CONTACT.

THE MOST OBVIOUS TRAIT OF AN ASIAN MAN IS HIS EYES.

THERE SHOULD BE SOME FACTORS THAT A PROSECUTOR CAN LOOK TO AND SAY I DON'T HAVE THE WORDS, BUT I HAVE SOMETHING ELSE HERE I THINK I CAN USE TO PROVE IT.

RIGHT.

LET ME SHIFT OUR FOCUS, IF I CAN.

YOU'VE REPORTED ON THIS, THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF HATE AND DISCRIMINATION.

YOU DID A SPECIAL REPORT ABOUT BUSES THAT TAKE PEOPLE TO CASINOS THAT ARE SOMETIMES HOURS AND HOURS AWAY AND THE UNEXPECTED REASON WHY MANY OF THEM ARE MAKING THAT TRIP EVERY DAY, I'M GOING TO ROLL THAT PIECE RIGHT NOW AND THEN COME OUT AND I WANT TO TALK WITH YOU ABOUT IT.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

WATCHING SAN CHAN, YOU MAY THINK THE SENIOR IS ABOUT TO HAVE A BIT FUN.

BUT THIS IS NOT ABOUT PLEASURE.

THIS IS ABOUT SURVIVAL.

SPEAKING IN KOREAN, HE TELLS ME LIFE IS TOUGH, SO HE DOES THIS TO HELP MAKE ENDS MEET.

EVERY MORNING HE RIDES THIS BUS TO THE STANDS CASINO IN BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA.

HE IS ONE OF ASIAN AMERICAN SENIORS WHO MAKE THIS TRIP.

THEY DON'T DO IT TO GAMBLE.

THEY DO IT FOR THIS.

WHEN THEY GET OFF THE BUS, THE CASINO GIVES YOU A $45 CREDIT.

THEY SELL THIS FOR $38.

THAT BUS RIDE COSTS $20.

AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY POCKET $18.

CHAN SELLS THE CREDIT TO A FELLOW PASSENGER WHO IN TURN USES IT TO GAMBLE.

THERE ON EACH BUS MORE THAN HALF OF THE PASSENGERS DO WHAT CHAN DOES.

ON ANY GIVEN DAY THERE ARE UPWARDS OF 300 SENIORS WHO RIDE THE BUS AND SPEND ANOTHER FIVE HOURS IN THIS WAITING ROOM FOR THE NEXT BUS RIDE BACK.

SOME OF THEM ARE HOMELESS, ALL OF THEM ARE LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE.

THAT SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION DO NOT REALLY GET TOLD.

ACCORDING TO THE CITY'S MOST RECENT MEASURE, ASIAN AMERICANS IN NEW YORK HAVE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF POVERTY AMONG ALL ETHNIC GROUPS AND MORE THAN 1 OUT OF 4 PEOPLE, IT IS A STAGGERING NUMBER.

THEY DON'T WANT TO STEP FORWARD AND ADMIT I'M IN A SITUATION WHERE I NEED SOME HELP.

IT'S A CULTURAL BARRIER.

ADVOCATES SAY PART OF THE PROBLEM IS POVERTY IN THE COMMUNITY IS OFTEN UNSEEN.

THEY ARE HIDDEN HOMELESS.

THEY ARE TRIPLING UP LIVING IN THESE LIKE CUBICLES THEY SHARE WITH TEN PEOPLE WITHIN A ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT FOR EXAMPLE.

IN THE MEANTIME COUNTLESS SENIORS LIKE CHAN WILL KEEP RIDING THESE BUSES.

THE QUESTION IS WILL ANYONE CARE?

SO UNDERSTAND AGAIN I'M BACK TALKING WITH CEFAAN KIM, ABC 7 REPORTER.

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE HIDDEN EPIDEMIC OF POVERTY AFFECTING NEW YORK CITY'S SENIOR ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY.

TELL ME ABOUT THAT STORY.

HOW DID YOU FIND IT?

HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU WITH HOW THIS STORY UNFOLDED?

I WAS STUNNED.

I'M NOT GOING TO LIE TO YOU.

THESE BUSES, ANY NEW YORKER KNOWS WHERE THESE BUSES GO, WHO'S ON THEM.

AND WE LIVED OUR ENTIRE LIVES IN NEW YORK SEEING THAT.

THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME I KNEW THE REALITY.

I WAS COMPLETELY TAKEN ABACK.

IT'S HEARTBREAKING.

I'M NOT INNOCENT HERE.

WE SORT OF MAKE OUR OWN STEREOTYPES.

YOU JOKE, OH, THESE PEOPLE LOVE TO GAMBLE.

TO SOME DEGREE THAT'S TRUE, BUT THE FACT THAT WE SORT OF USE THAT STEREOTYPE TO REFUSE TO LOOK DEEPER INTO THIS ISSUE, WE'RE ALL GUILTY OF THAT.

THAT IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM BECAUSE THE STATISTICS, EVEN ACCORDING TO THE CITY, SHOW THAT ASIAN AMERICANS AS FAR AS MINORITY GROUPS IN NEW YORK CITY HAVE THE HIGHEST EEST POVERTY . WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 1 IN 4 ASIAN AMERICAN NEW YORKERS ARE LIVING UNDER THE POVERTY LINE.

WE ALL GO TO CHINA TOWN.

WE SEE ELDERLY FOLKS COLLECTING CANS.

BUT THEY'RE ALMOST INVISIBLE.

THE TRUTH IS THIS HAS REAL WORLD IMPACT.

STATE FUNDING DOESN'T HIT THESE GROUPS, THESE COMMUNITIES.

THE CITY ALLOCATED, THE STATE AND CITY ALLOCATE LESS THAN 2% OF ALL THE FUNDING FOR POVERTY TO ASIAN AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS, WHEN IN FACT 1 IN 4 ASIAN AMERICANS LIVE IN POVERTY.

THERE'S A HUGE DISPARITY THERE.

THAT'S THE GOAL OF PUTTING THAT REALITY OUT THERE TO CONNECT THAT DIVIDE.

BUT THE PROBLEM ALSO LIES WITH THE COMMUNITY ITSELF.

THIS GOES BACK TOALSO TO THE ATTACKS.

WE'RE NOT CONDITIONED CULTURALLY TO WEAR OUR PAIN AND STRUGGLES PUBLICLY.

YOU HEAR PEOPLE SAY I DON'T WANT TO CAUSE TROUBLE.

I JUST WANT TO PUT MY HEAD DOWN, WORK HARD.

FOR A LONG TIME THAT WAS CONSIDERED THE RESPECTABLE THING TO DO.

THIS GOES BACK BEFORE WE ARRIVED IN THIS COUNTRY.

WE KNOW THE HISTORY OF HOW THE JAPANESE OCCUPIED CHINA.

THE ATROCITIES SIMILAR TO THE HOLOCAUST BUT THERE ARE NO MUSEUMS OR TEXTBOOKS IN THESE COUNTRIES THAT PRESERVE OR MEMORIALIZE THIS KIND OF TRAUMA AND PAIN.

SO WE'RE CONDITIONED NOT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

WE'RE NOW TALKING ABOUT IT WHETHER IT'S PHYSICAL ATTACKS OR VERBAL VIOLENCE OR EVEN POVERTY.

ALL OF OUR STRUGGLES WE HAVE BEEN A PART OF HIDING THAT AND I THINK WE'RE --

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

I WOULD LOVE TO TALK WITH YOU FOR HOURS ABOUT THIS.

AS YOU KNOW, THE TYRANNY OF TELEVISION, WE HAVE CERTAIN TIMES HERE.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

I HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF.

THE STORIES TALK ABOUT OTHERNESS AND HOW OTHERNESS CAN CARRY THIS BLANKET OF DISCRIMINATION.

YOU, YOURSELF A PERFECT ILLUSTRATION.

YOU'RE BORN IN RAISED IN PHILADELPHIA, YOU SERVED IN THE AMERICAN MILITARY.

ARE YOU AT ALL OPTIMISTIC THIS MIGHT BE A MOMENT?

I HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE FOR THE ANSWER.

THIS MOMENT MIGHT HELP TO PUSH IT TO THE POINT WHERE PEOPLE WON'T LOOK AT YOU AND SAY YOU'RE AN OTHER, YOUR OTHERNESS MAKES YOU DIFFERENT?

I DO.

I THINK THE COVERAGE ITSELF HAS HIT A MOMENTUM THAT CANNOT BE SORT OF STOPPED.

AS LONG AS VICTIMS KEEP SPEAKING ABOUT THIS, THE ISSUE DOESN'T GO AWAY.

IT MAY BECOME SOMEWHAT NOR NORMALIZED.

WHAT I MEAN IS IF YOU NORMALIZE IT WE LOOK AT AS NOT SO MUCH A MOMENTARY TREND BUT AS THE REALITY WE LOOK LIKE.

AS LONG AS WE CAN KEEP THAT GOING, VICTIMS SPEAKING, THE M HEE MEDIA COVERING IT, WE'RE NOT JUST THE OTHER.

THAT'S THE KEY.

THIS HAS BEEN AN EXTRAORDINARILY THOUGHTFUL AND ILLUMINATING CONVERSATION WITH YOU.

I'M REALLY GRATEFUL FOR YOU TAKING SOME OF YOUR TIME AND SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS WITH US.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING WITH YOU AGAIN.

ABSOLUTELY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

YOU TAKE CARE.

YOU TOO.

BYE-BYE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, PATTI ASKWITH KENNER.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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