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"Asians aren’t discriminated against!" and the case of Vincent Chin.

On June 23rd, 1982, in Detriot Michigan, a young man named Vincent Chin died. Four nights prior, he had been attending a bachelor party with friends at a local bar when he was abruptly attacked by two white men.

They blamed  Chin - a Chinese American man - for the success of Japan’s auto industry. They claimed “it’s because of you that we’re out of work”.

The two in a combined attack bludgeoned Vincent Chin, 27, with a baseball bat until his head cracked open. He died days later from the injuries.

The two men were a Chrysler plant supervisor named Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michel Nitz. They never died these acts, but instead claimed that what happened was simply a “bar fight gone wrong”.

Instead of being prosecuted for the blatant murder, they plead to manslaughter and were sentences to three years of probation and a little over 3 grand.

Amongst Asian Americans, “Remember Vincent Chin” turned into a rallying cry. This racially bias attack sparked immense outrage, enough so that Asian Americans of every background angrily protested in cities across the country.

This wasn’t the first time such disillusioned rhetoric had been heard. In the early 1980’s, unemployment rates were at their highest since World War 2. Governments and media painted a picture of “Japan Inc.”, an entity that threatened to devour Detroit manufacturing entirely. Import cars became a fearful symbol of the yellow encroachment.

Federal prosecutors brought civil charges against the two men a year later. The step father was convicted of violating Mr.Chin’s civil rights and sentences to 25 years in prison. However, the conviction was overturned. The decision for federal procedures to pursue these charges were spurred by Asian-American activists who worked diligently for the assailants to be brought to justice. Unfortunately, both the activists who worked so hard for Vincent Chin and his family who had to live with the immense grief, never did see this justice come to life.

Vincent Chin’s case showed the power of the saying, “you all look the same”.

He was a son of Chinese immigrants that somehow came to be identified with what was seen as the enemy; Japanese automakers. An entirely innocent man, not remotely related to the auto industry or the assailants, murdered for looking like an “other”.

Just another bit of White history / culture for you today.

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