Some African American leaders are calling for a boycott of Asian American businesses in the Dallas, Texas area. The event at the center of this call came from a December 9th dispute between a minister at the local Nation of Islam mosque and the Asian owner of the Diamond Shamrock gas station and convenience store over use of the minister’s debit card. The minister, Jeffrey Muhammad, wanted to use the card for five dollars, below the posted minimum limit. An argument ensued in the store in South Dallas, the center of the local African American area.
Minister Muhammad, admitted he told the owner to “Go back to China,” but claimed he did so only after the Asian American owner told him he was a slave and should to go back to Africa. The owner claimed Minister Muhammad made the slurs to him first, calling him “a Chinaman.” The owner however made no recorded comments on the incident.
The local NAACP joined the Nation of Islam and two dozen demonstrators outside the gas station and tried to prevent the many African American customers from patronizing the site, with limited success. In comments to the press, speakers spoke of Asian American business owners disrespecting the community members. They also made comments implying Asian Americans as foreigners, proclaiming African Americans’ longer tenure in the U.S. One customer spoke of fighting alongside of Asian Americans soldiers in the Iraq war.
There have been past tensions between Asian American business owners and African American residents in other areas in the country, such as New York and Los Angeles.