Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Who is Vincent Chin?

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If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’ve been involved with launching the Bay Area chapter for APAP over the last few months.  In April, we will screen the little-known (at least to members outside of the Asian American community) documentary Vincent Who? in SF.   Who is this Vincent referred to in the title?  I’m glad you ask.

Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old Chinese-American beaten to  death in 1982 with a baseball bat by two Detroit men.  They thought he was Japanese, and in their minds, was responsible for the loss of jobs in the U.S. auto industry during that time.  Chin had just happily celebrated his bachelor party when a man and his stepson verbally and physically attacked him until he fell into a coma for four days and was declared brain-dead.  Controversy followed not only because many minority communities labeled this abhorrent event a hate crime – the consequences both murderers faced were minimal and to this day, completely incongruous.  The County Judge Charles Kaufman justified his ruling by stating, “”These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail… You don’t make the punishment fit the crime; you make the punishment fit the criminal.” (Source: Wikipedia)  This circumstance of advantageous racial profiling allowed the murderers to simply be “let off the hook” and served as a painful reminder to Chin’s surviving kin, as well as his fiancé, that justice was not served.  Civil suits were filed thereafter, and both men were later financially indebted to Chin’s surviving estate; however neither were sentenced adequate jail time.

One of APAP’s founders, Curtis Chin, a Los Angeles filmmaker and media professional, produced the 2009 film, Vincent Who? in hopes of documenting what young Asian Americans know, or specifically what they do not know, about the legacy left by Chin’s murder.   Director Tony Lam, along with Curtis, went on to interview college students and individuals close to the case to analyze the effects this case has had on the Asian American community, as well as find relevance to today’s efforts to move forward as an ethnically diverse nation.

If you’re curious about the facts of the case and have time next month the night of the 7th, come to the Chinese for Affirmative Action center here in SF and check it out for yourself.  I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews and will be at the screening helping to set up the event and guiding anyone interested in joining the Bay Area chapter of APAP.  To help us with headcount (we’ll be providing light refreshments) and since space is limited (seating based on first-come, first served), please RSVP on the Facebook page here.


Written by winniewongsf

March 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

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