Roof Koreans: How Civilians Defended Koreatown from Racist Violence During the 1992 LA Riots


The riots of the spring of 2020 are far from without precedent in the United States. Indeed, they seem to happen once a generation at least. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots are such an example of these “generational riots.” And while most people know about the riots, less known – though quite well known at the time – were the phenomenon of the so-called “Roof Koreans.”

The Roof Koreans were spontaneous self-defense forces organized by the Korean community of Los Angeles, primarily centered in Koreatown, in response to violent and frequently racist attacks on their communities and businesses by primarily black looters and rioters during the Los Angeles Riots of 1992. Despite their best efforts, over 2,200 Korean-owned businesses were looted or burned to the ground during the riots. It is chilling to imagine how many would have suffered the same fate had the Koreans not been armed.

Standing on the rooftops of Koreatown shops they and their families owned, clad not in body armor or tactical gear, but instead dressed like someone’s nerdy dad, often smoking cigarettes, but always on alert, the Roof Koreans provide a stirring example of how free Americans of all races can defend their own communities without relying upon outside help.

The Koreans of Los Angeles were the ultimate marginalized minority group. They were subject to discrimination and often victimized by the black community of the city. Due to language barriers and other factors, they lacked the political clout of other minority groups, such as the large Mexican community of Los Angeles County. This in spite of their clear economic success in the city beginning in the 1970s and 80s.

The reasons for the tensions between the Korean and black communities of Los Angeles pre-dates the riots, which were largely just the match that ignited the powder keg that had been this region of Los Angeles for years. To understand what happened in Koreatown in 1992, it is necessary to understand much more than simply the Rodney King trial and the resulting riots.

The Roots of Korean Business Ownership in Black Communities

How is it that the Korean-American community of Los Angeles ended up owning so much property in what were largely black neighborhoods? The answer, ironically, lies in a previous riot, the Watts Riot of 1965. This riot, which included six full days of arson and looting, was kicked off when a black man was arrested for drunk driving.

The riots occurred roughly at the same time that the Koreans started showing up in America. This meant that, among other things, businesses and real estate were very cheap to purchase. The newly arrived Korean immigrants began buying up the businesses that no one else wanted. By the 1980s, it wasn’t limited to Los Angeles – Koreans were dominating the mom-and-pop shops from coast to coast. But the resentment in the City of Angels was growing.

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I remember that very well. There wasn’t an American born patriot to be found for a thousand miles during that mess.


Industrious hard workers like the koreans pass the lazy like their riding a rocket ship.
Bodegas are the rule in cory bookers memorial zoo. Big stores left long ago.
Towlie owns most liquor stores
Most behind bullet resistant glass.
Trumps fault. LMFWAO


A person doesn’t have to be born an American to be an American Patriot


pa•tri•ot pā′trē-ət, -ŏt″►
One who loves, supports, and defends one’s country.

A person who loves his country, and zealously supports and defends it and its interests.
Patriotic; devoted to the welfare of **one's country:** as, patriot zeal.


(wʌnz )

  1. determiner

Speakers and writers use one’s to indicate that something belongs or relates to people in general, or to themselves in particular.

Nationality and citizenship are one of the most misconstrued terms, in the world. For a layman, the term nationality works as a substitute for citizenship and vice versa. But in reality, the difference between nationality and citizenship is quite evident, that we cannot ignore it. The nationality of a person, reveals his/her place of birth, i.e. from where he/she belongs. It defines the belongingness of a person to a particular nation.

On the contrary, citizenship is granted to an individual by the government of the country, when he/she complies with the legal formalities. It is the status of being a citizen of a country. So, have a glance at this article if you want to know more about these terms thoroughly.

Ergo… A natural born American Patriot is DIFFERENT than a legalized citizen becoming a Patriot for a country.


I could care less where someone is born if they believe in the idea of America and the principle it was founded on. As a matter of fact I wish I could throw about half of American born citizens out to make room for those that truly understand freedom. What it cost to obtain and keep.


I fully agree and ergo my statement… not a single American born Patriot was to be found but, immigrants banded together to defend their piece of America… dirty shame we don’t team up more often.


I’m glad we agree on this. :smiley:


Since we are on the subject, I will go down the rabbit trail. By the book…A nation refers to an ethnic group of people. A country refers to a geographic location. A state is a sovereign body. I am guilty for using terms interchangeably, when I should not. I know some of my fellow patriots here are sticklers for detail, and notice that in original documents, it says “united States”. That was not a typo in the Declaration of Independence, our most important document.


The term state is the single most disputed term in recorded history.


It certainly is controversial.