September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document


Article Order:2

Title:Who killed Vincent Chin?

Author:Jung-sook Sung

Publication:Korea Daily

Original Language:Korean

Translator:Jeongwoo Han


Blurb:On the day Korea beat Italy in the World Cup, the New York Times recognized 25th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. Only greater Asian political power cn allow us to say with confidence that those days are gone.


Body:On the day Korea beat Italy in the World Cup, the New York Times was dealing with 25th anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin.

Two white workers, fired by Chrysler Motor Corporation, killed Chin by beating him until his brain ruptured. Chins last words were Its unfair.

Anti-Japanese sentiment rose as the United States began to lose automobile business to Japan in the early 1980s. The two workers misidentified Vincent Chin, who was Chinese-American, as Japanese and took their anger out on him with a baseball bat.

But Ronald Evans and his stepson, Michael Nits, who killed Chin, got a light sentence, only three years probation and a $3,780 fine plus court expenses.

It was unfair verdict. A decent, 27-year-old Asians life cannot be worth so little. Despite Asian Americans arguments that the murder was a hate crime, the judge decided that Chins death was the result of a tragic fight.

All Asians and Asian-Americans were outraged that Evans and Nits killed Chin because he was Asian. Vincent, born and raised in the United States, was a U.S. citizen. His father was a veteran who fought for the United States in World War II. Vincent himself was working in the U.S. automobile industry as a draftsman. Despite the fact that he was working in the same field as his attackers, they killed him just because he had an Asian appearance regardless his actual nationality or origin.

It is now 25 years since Chins murder, and since then, a lot has changed with the effort end racial discrimination. Thinking about the American governments internment of Japanese in internment camps, isolation of Asian communities and seizure of Asian property during the Yellow Peril fears of World War II, can we say with confidence that those days are gone; that those are old stories?

Can the problemthat Asians have been always more alien than European immigrantsbe solved without changing Asian features through intermarriage?

It is a tragedy that immigrants cultures are fading and becoming Americanized (just as Indian culture has been disappearing). New immigrants have always suffered abuse from the better established, earlier immigrants. Even relative late comers to this country, such as Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants, are now equal members of American society and centerpieces in the American mosaic.

Though it is hard to predict the extent to which Asians will be accepted by society because of their appearance, we can expect that Americans recognition of Asians will improve as Asians roles in the world increase. I want to believe so.

It was great to show to the world Koreas amazing development overcoming the previous stigma of being a war orphan export country by beating Portugals soccer team, and by that win, allowing the U.S. team to proceed in the World Cup. It is a dream that Korea is now fighting for quarterfinal-qualification. It shows the energy of Korean people, who accomplished a Han River miracle.

Using this passion and energy, let us, the Koreans in America, build our dream. Improving our political power is the fastest way to enhance our status. Voting, political participation and fostering elites are the most urgent things. We are actively campaigning for voter registration and political participation, but fostering talented men is still not happening.

There are many competent one-and-a-half or second generation Korean-Americans in U.S. society, but they are not well-connected within Korean society in America. The saying, a book that remains shut is but a block is immediately appealing to us. We should search for the men of ability and look after them. I look forward to seeing an Asian-American cabinet member, representatives, Supreme Court judge. Lets wish for Asians to be influential in this society.

The title Who killed Vincent Chin? a documentary by Korean-American Christian Choi asks a desperate question. The answer is, Vincent Chin was killed by Asians inability to advocate here in American society.

If we cannot make our voice and corral political power, who knows when Asians will again become a scapegoat when the economy goes bad? Who knows when Asians will again be stigmatized when white Americans are laid off?

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