Pan-Asian Voices for Equity – Minnesota

Community | Action | Justice

Vincent Chin: 30 Years Later

Vincent ChinOn June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin was at his bachelor party at Fancy Pants, a strip club in suburbanDetroit.  Two white out-of-work autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, began trading insults at Chin from across the bar.  “It’s because of you little *expletive deleted* that we’re out of work,” witnesses say Ebens yelled at Chin.

 

At the time, anti-Japanese sentiment was high.  Many blamed the decline of the U.S. auto industry on Japan – I remember the pressure to buy products with a “Made in America” sticker or patch on them, even though I was just a boy.  Vincent Chin, a 27 year old Chinese American draftsman, was not Japanese, and had nothing to do with the auto industry.

 

After the altercation, Chin and his friends parted ways, but Ebens and Nitz weren’t done.  They went looking for Chin, reportedly paying a friend $20 to help look for him.  They found him at a McDonalds, dragged him outside, and one of them held Chin down while the other brutally beat him with a baseball bat.  Four days later, Chin died – five days before his wedding.

 

Both Ebens and Nitz got three years’ probation, a $3,000 fine, and $780 in court costs.  To this day, neither of them have spent a day in jail.

 

I will repeat that: Ebens and Nitz sought out an unarmed man, held him down, and beat him to death in front of witnesses, and to this day they haven’t spent a single day in jail.

 

How does one make sense of that.    In a few days, it will be the 30 year anniversary of his murder, and still, thinking about Vincent Chin is like ripping open an old, raw wound.  Even after years of struggling for change, of witnessing terrible injustice after injustice, of trying to educate yourself about institutional racism, how do you make sense of this.

 

How do you reason with people who *still* don’t think racism exists.

 

read more… [link to original post at Star Tribune]

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2012 by in community news and tagged , , , , .

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