crushing cars and automobile aggresssion

It's funny our nation's anxieties over its failing automobile industry have a way of manifesting themselves in the form of racism and xenophobia. Anytime U.S. automakers seem to be in a bad state, the rhetoric starts flying, and people want somewhere and someone to place the frustration-fueled blame. It happened in the early 1980s, and it's happening again.

We've already heard about this idiot Ford dealer in Georgia with racist radio ads insulting "rice ready" cars. Now there's also news of the Chevrolet dealer in Hawaii who pulled a car-crushing stunt, which featured an SUV driving over and crushing—you guessed it—foreign cars. A Honda and a Hyundai, to be exact: Hawaii Chevrolet dealer crushes auto competition.

Island Chevrolet general sales manager James Severtson had a Chevrolet Suburban SUV outfitted with massive tires to drive over a Honda Accord. The funny thing, in its first attempt to crush the car, the monster truck blew a hydraulic hose, leaking fluid while the Honda remained intact. Turns out those cars a little tougher than you thought.

In the SUV's second attempt, a few repairs and several hours later, it drove over the Accord and a Hyundai Excel parked next to it, going over the cars' hoods and destroying the windshields... much to the cheering crowd's delight.

You know, I seem to recall a scene like this the documentary Who Killed Vincent Chin? They had news footage of an eerily similar event, where participants were encouraged to take baseball bats and demolish Japanese cars. It's been a while since I've seen the film, but I don't think I imagined that.

There's some serious aggression bubbling up here. As I've noted before, it's rhetoric like this, in hard economic times like these, that can lead to an Asian American guy getting his head bashed in with a baseball bat. It happened in 1983. I fear it's only a matter of time before it happens again.

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