I don’t remember exactly when this happened, but it was when my family lived in the Bronx. We lived in Bedford Park with a number of other Korean families. We attended PS 8 and moved on to MS 143 or MS 181, or some other numbered middle school.
This happened to me and my brother after we graduated from elementary school.
We were walking home after piano practice. Three boys came up to us. They demanded that we give them money. (We had none.) They asked us if we had anything else. My brother and I had our gameboys — mine was in my backpack, which I wore under my parka, and my brother had his gameboy in his pocket. One of them, I forget what their names were, found the gameboy and started hitting my brother. They knocked him to the ground and started kicking him. I ran out into the middle of the street to try and flag a car down. One of them noticed and quickly stopped the others. They picked my brother up and dusted him off. They pretended to be nice. They gave back the gameboy to my brother.
We saw a police cruiser parked on a corner and the boys grabbed our shoulders and forcefully marched us away from the car. I remember one of the boys placing a hand over my brother’s mouth. I remember the police officers watching us from their cars. They never got out to investigate.
The boys, in the end, stole the gameboy and some cash from us. We called the cops. They wouldn’t do anything. They said there were no leads to go on. The three boys were white. My brother stayed up all night handwriting a letter to the NYPD, asking them why they wouldn’t investigate.
I wonder today, if we had not been non-white, if the NYPD would’ve paid more attention to us.