Please Stop Asking 'But What About...?'
Image: ATOMIC Hot Links/Flickr

As I follow the news reports of the protests and sometimes riots that have spread across the country, I often hear media pundits ask, “But what about minority owned small businesses?” They lament how these people bear the brunt of the violence that has broken out in a few cities. My parents were themselves minority small business owners who operated a variety of stores throughout Chicago, and so I am familiar with that context. And since people appear to be interested in that perspective, I thought I would share my thoughts. Of course, I hardly speak for everyone in that context, and my opinion is simply that—my opinion.

Being a store owner in the inner city is inherently dangerous, and looting a real fear. My father-in-law owned a store in Los Angeles, which sold beautiful musical instruments—guitars, pianos, and violins—all of which were looted during the riots of 1992. But these kinds of stores are not dangerous just during isolated periods of unrest, but every day of the week. When I was young, my father was robbed at gunpoint at his hat store. The robber struck my dad with the butt of his shotgun and then sprayed bleach into his eyes to expedite his getaway. I know half a dozen close friends whose parents have either been severely injured or murdered during robberies at their stores.

So when I see people looting during protests, I feel sick to my stomach. Breaking into a small and somewhat shabby store might seem like a victimless crime to the looters, but it is most certainly not. Those stores represent hundreds upon hundreds of hours of dangerous and hard work for those owners, all of which was performed exclusively for the benefit of their children, children like me. I have little ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Third Culture
Third Culture looks at matters of faith from the multicultural and minority perspective.
Peter Chin
Peter W. Chin is the pastor of Rainier Avenue Church and author of Blindsided By God. His advocacy work for racial reconciliation has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and the Washington Post.
Previous Third Culture Columns:
May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueWhat the Church Says to Terrible People
What the Church Says to Terrible People Subscriber Access Only
‘Welcome to the club.’
RecommendedWhy Jesus’ Skin Color Matters
Why Jesus’ Skin Color MattersSubscriber Access Only
That he was an ethnic minority shapes how we minister today.
Leer en español
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Three-Part Harmony
The Church’s Three-Part Harmony
Why evangelical, sacramental, and Pentecostal Christians belong together in one body.
Christianity Today
Please Stop Asking 'But What About...?'
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.