Live, From Atop Schutze's Head, a Battle Between Races at Local Convenience Store
Well, I think my hat-cam is going to change my life. Now I can take you along on my daily adventures. You don't especially want to go? Come on. Try it. Be a sport. What I do every day may not be high drama, but it beats working.
I go to a lot of stuff that doesn't "make" as a story -- that is, it's interesting to me, but it doesn't quite amount to a news story yet. This is an example. It may be a news story soon, but right now it's still in the embryonic stage.
Yesterday afternoon I went to a Shamrock gas station at the corner of Harwood Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in South Dallas where a community coalition is carrying out daily picketing to protest what the coalition says is racist behavior by an Asian store-owner.
Sadly, as you will see, I was unable to chat with the owner, so I can't tell you too much about his side of things. Like his name. He looks Asian. Who knows? In this world, the guy could be Swedish. But I am told that he is Korean.
The community people accuse him of using the N-word all the time and sending his clerks out as goons to beat the hell out of people. You and I know there are two sides to every story, and this is only one side.
But the people on the community side include the Rev. Peter Johnson, the Rev. Ronald Wright, Joyce Foreman -- heavy hitters who don't jump into something unless they're sure of their ground.
An attorney for the owner makes a brief appearance in my cap-cam movie. His name is Richard Barrett-Cuetara. Seems like an OK guy, sticking up for his client.
The context is that almost all of the convenience stores in black South Dallas now are owned and operated by Asians. You will hear a snippet of a longer speech made by Wright about how well most of those Asian merchants get along with the community. This guy, he says, is an unpleasant exception.
When store owners have been willing to talk to me about this stuff in the past, their side of the story has been that they are engaged in a daily battle with shoplifters and robbers. They say the only way to stay in business is to be tough as hell.
But it's also the case that some immigrants bring racist caste-bound attitudes from their old countries that they have to learn to get over, and sometimes they have to learn the hard way.
The owner probably didn't talk to me because he doesn't get how reporters work here and hoped I would just walk out of his place and get hit by a bus or something. I get that at home too.
The guy sitting in a chair at the beginning says he tried to buy a can of gas for his car and ended up getting the hell beaten out of him by the store clerks. This is first blush of a story that needs to develop. Just thought I'd take you along.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.
- Margaret Hunt Hill's Heirs Are Still Fighting About Money, Making Judge Sad
- Downtown Dallas Inc. Says There Aren't Enough Cops Downtown, Asks For More
- I'll Eat Crow for Calling West Dallas "Nowhere," but that Bridge Is Still Stupid