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     Sometimes this fear is directed at Asians. During the L.A. Riots, Houston and Atlanta Blacks attacked Korean businesses in their downtown locations. Less astute Black community leaders, Asians say, still organize the occasional harassment of Asian businesses and neighborhoods. When Asian-owned convenience stores service Black neighborhoods, they say, the store owners become targets of frustrated Blacks.
"Dr. Jeong, had it not been for you, I would have joined that demonstration, but I respect you so much that I decided not to."
     To ease racial tension, Asian Southerners have turned to promoting their culture and concerns. For the last 15 years, Houston Asians have publicized themselves with the Asian American Festival, a two day event founded and still operated by Joe. The October festival cost over $60,000 to produce and involves over 600 performers. The audience consists of a racial potpourri. When free from the festival's demands, Joe and other arts backers produce cross cultural performances and exhibitions, hoping to evoke interracial empathy by presenting side-by-side the work of Blacks, Hispanics, Caucasians and Asians.
     "When people aren't exposed to you, and you're not out there in the community, they'll stereotype you," says AAPC founder Gondo. "When they meet you one-to-one, they realize you're no different than they are."

     Besides easing racial tension, exposure builds a strong racial identity and confidence, says Dong-Kuen Jeong, a Korean American economics professor at North Carolina A&T State University and founder of the Carolina International Cultural Council.
     After the L.A. riots Jeong says he understood the danger of dividing communities into racial enclaves, and to encourage integration he devoted the CICC's entire annual symposium to fostering better relations between Durham's Asians and Blacks. He invited Jessie Jackson Jr., one of his former students and current vice president of the Rainbow Coalition, to deliver a speech titled, "Peace, Unity and Progress in the Multi-Racial Society: Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Rodney King Era." More than 100 Black and Asian students and community members turned out for the speech and to participate in an open forum on racial relations. Afterward attendees mingled at a formal dinner.
     Later that evening Jeong and Jackson Jr dined in private. "I was in a position to talk to him about anything," Jeong says. "He told me, and he moved me by this remark, that there had been a demonstration in Washington D.C., where he works, against Korean businessmen. He said, 'Dr. Jeong, had it not been for you, I would have joined that demonstration, but I respect you so much that I decided not to.' That really gratified me. And that's why we should be out in the community." [End]

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