Restaurants and neighborhoods like Little Tokyo contend with a rise of racist incidents as celebrities come together to raise funds for struggling eateries.
Shirley Chung, a Top Chef finalist and owner of Culver City’s Ms. Chi Cafe, recalls an incident last year in which a group of diners made her staff sanitize their outdoor table — twice. “It was very passive-aggressive racism against us,” says Chung, a Chinese American who says she now goes far above health requirements to overcome the racist connections some people make between COVID-19 and Asian people. “I stepped up service to protect ourselves.”
In the past year, Asian-owned businesses throughout L.A. have been doubly hit — by the pandemic shutdowns and by a rise in racist hate crimes. On March 2, the LAPD announced 15 anti-Asian hate crimes reported in the city in 2020, compared with seven in