Part I: The Long Arm of Asian American Activism, 37 Years of Vincent Chin

By Susan Park

We must never forget. We must constantly remain vigilant. It’s time for even more Asian American Activism.

All Rook Same

Anti-Chinese sentiment in America has been brewing for several years, even before Trump was elected. Trump is stoking the ashes for another blaze of anti-Asian sentiment. When racists come to attack us, they will not ask for our national pedigrees.

There is an eerily frightening parallel to the anti-Japanese sentiment that resulted in the murder of Vincent Chin at the bludgeoning hands of two white auto-workers who mistook him for Japanese; and the current wave of Anti-Chinese sentiment that’s festering. Chin’s murderers were a father and stepson duo named Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz. Charles Kaufman, presiding judge over the criminal case, said that Ebens and Nitz weren’t the kind of men that go to jail. Kaufman sentenced Chin’s murderers to three years probation and $3,780 in fines and court fees.

This outrageously light slap on the hands fomented a new Pan-Asian American activism in America that has not stopped for 37 years. What we need now is another generation of Asian American activists to keep the freight train going.

The American auto industry has been declining for decades because of poor business decisions. Analysts, think tanks, and investigative journalists have reported as much for years. You can find reports, data, and articles going back to the 1970’s. This one from NPR is from 2005 and this Bloomberg article is from 2019. American automakers were behind consumer trends, instead of being ahead of them. They built too many sedans, while consumer demand for them was waning. American corporations love to talk about supply and demand, yet fail to act on them. American automakers created their own glut through mismanagement.

In a series of blog posts, I will explore the long arm of Asian American Activism that was ignited by Chin’s murder in 1982. To this day, 37 years later Chin’s estate serves as a watchdog against his murderers Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz. I will further explore how American corporations (unelected government) stoke anti-Asian violence to cover up for their own gross incompetence and mismanagement.

By flashing back to anti-Japanese sentiment in 1970s and 1980s America, we can flash forward to Anti-Chinese sentiment in the 2010s. Anti-Asian sentiment has cycles in American history, it lays dormant and returns. This has been true since there have been Asians in America even before the United States was founded as an independent nation from Great Britain. When Anti-Asian sentiment returns, it most certainly leads to great violence against specific Asians and Asian Americans in general.

Finally, I will connect past Asian American activism with a current need for more Asian American activism to address George Tyndall who has been repeatedly accused of preying on Asian students (girls and women), even by his own colleagues.

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