I just came back from a screening and Q & A session with the director of the documentary “Vincent Who?”. It discusses the Vincent Chin case from the 1980s.
Vincent Chin was a Chinese autoworker, who was happily living his life, and had went out to a bar with some friends to celebrate the day before his wedding. Now, at this time, the Japanese auto industry was rising, and more people were buying Japanese cars, and the sales of American cars were going down. So, in the bar, two white men, who were also in the automobile industry, saw Vincent, and mislabeled him as Japanese. They were throwing slurs, and accusing Vincent of taking their jobs.
They tracked Vincent down that night, after leaving the bar, and beat him to death with a baseball bat. The last words Vincent uttered before slipping into a coma were: “It’s not fair”. He died a few days later in the hospital.
The men who beat him weren’t even put into jail for a single day. They were only put on probation.
This documentary is saddening, beautiful, and powerful, in that is shows how from that point on, the Asian American community started to come together and protest. It wasn’t just the Chinese American community protesting. There were Filipinos, Indians, and even African Americans joining in. And from there, though the Asian American community is not as strong as others, more instances of support have come through (for example, Japanese Americans supporting South Asian Americans after the 9/11 attacks).
It encourages Asian Americans (as well as all communities) to identify the injustice in our society, and try to make a change.
It’s an excellent film, and I recommend everyone (especially Asian Americans, though) to view it if possible.