I was struck by two stories in today’s New York Times. One is titled “In East Harlem, ‘Keep Out’ Signs Apply to Renters”, which addresses the landlords of residential buildings who are only renting the bottom floors as retail space, such as a Chase bank for the building pictured above. By keeping out tenants, they are able to buy time until the market allows them to raise rents again, which will essentially drive out the working class Latino immigrant families that make up a majority of the neighborhood. The other story titled “Soldier’s Death Raises Suspicions in Chinatown” is about the mysterious death of Private Danny Chen, who was found shot dead on an American outpost in Afghanistan. The article states that “Private Chen had been subjected to physical abuse and ethnic slurs by superiors” and that “Asian-Americans have had an uneasy relationship with the military” for decades. The Chen family is unsure if they will ever know the true cause of their son’s death, as officials have unconvincingly attempted to declare it a suicide.

 

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