Asian American Dreams and Communities

Vincent Chin

Circumstances of his murder and how he was murdered

It has been considered that Vincent Chin was murdered in the Detroit suburb, as a victim of a racial hate crime. At the onset of the 1880s the depression suffered by the auto industry in the US and the Americans, mostly whites faulted the Asians for the depression. At a bachelor party on June 19, 1982, he was confronted by Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz, who had been laid off and a fight ensued but was broken up. After the party, the two followed him, and Ebens struck Chin with a baseball and shot him on the head. Despite being taken to the hospital, Chin died on June, 23 in a coma due to the injuries he had sustained on the head.

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Legal trials and outcomes

Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz pleaded guilty to manslaughter during the trial of the murder, on March 16, 1983. A plea bargain was entered, and they only received a slap on the wrist, receiving a three-year jail term, which was to be served on probation, and besides, they only had to pay legal fees amounting to $3800; in the court process. The two did serve any jail term. The second trial undertaken by the Department of Justice on violations of civil rights commenced on April 21, 1987, on civil rights violations and conspiracy.

Nitz was cleared of both charges, but Ebens was found guilty of violating Chin’s civil rights. Ebens was later cleared because the prosecuting attorney was accused of coaching the prosecution witnesses. The third trial was in Cincinnati, and the court cleared them of violation of civil rights and conspiracy. The fourth trial was a civil suit filed by Chin’s wife and she was never paid the $1.5 million in the settlement as Robert Ebens fled with the money.

Impact on the AA communities

The sentence meted on the two individuals angered the AA community and various rallies were staged, demonstrations, and a massive letter-writing campaign was initiated to claim that the Department of Justice had violated Chin’s civil rights. The AA from different communities such as Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos joined together to form the Pan-Asian movement to fight for justice for Vincent Chin.

AA stereotypes

The portrayal of the AA community in movies and TV

The role played by AA men and women in movies is at times attributed to the fact that they are considered to be quiet and passive. The American mainstream media has stated that Asians are underrepresented and even if they are represented at all, they are usually misrepresented. It is also considered that Asian males are impotent, passive, and ‘geeky’, while Asian females are portrayed as submissive and exotic. The media continues to consider AAs as foreigners and strangers from a different land and that Asians in movies can never be Americans.

Media Stereotypes and impact on AA self-perception

Stereotypes and media portrayals of Asians do have impacts on self-perceptions and images of the AA community. This is because the media is the main source of information for everyone and hence, it affects the general public perceptions by casting the Asian Americans in minor roles in the moves. Their image is also tarnished based on the fact that the media states that they cannot be compared to the American actors.

Self-perceptions and behavior of Asian Americans

Stereotyping of AAs does affect behavior this is because it shows that people are different based on their racial or affiliations and hence would make the minorities feel betrayed by the society they interact with. AA would also want to change the way they talk and learn a different culture, to limit how they are perceived. Zia states that she had to learn English and not Chinese when she was little because of the need to be accepted by society. The AA would resort to mass action and demonstrations for them to assert their existence and fight for their rights as American citizens.

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How Minority stereotypes affect the AAs

The” model minority” stereotypes AAs as being people who are quiet and passive. This has been demonstrated by the way the judicial services and the society has treated cases brought before them in courts and also how the society perceives them. The voice of AAs was first heard through staged rallies, demonstrations, and letter-writing, which ensured that their opinions were heard. Their quietness only shows that they cannot be capable of voicing their needs adequately to the public.

Wars cove

Why Wards Cove Cannery is prominent in AA labor history

Since the 1800s, the Salmon industry in Alaska was dependent on the supply of cheap labor from China, Japan, and the Philippines, and these workers were housed in deplorable conditions. There was discrimination because the whites were better treated than the AAs who worked there. Wards Cove has a historical and contemporary significance in the civil rights of workers in remote Salmon canneries. Wards Cove is one of three cases organized by Asian American and Pacific Islander Cannery workers after they formed the Alaska Cannery Workers Association at the end  of the 1973 salmon-canning season.

Wards Cove and Supreme Court ruling of 1989

The class-action suit was filed by the minority workers against Wards Cove Packing Company, citing discriminatory practices by the company. The workers claimed that skilled jobs were reserved for the white Americans, while the minority non-whites were forced to work in the unskilled section. This also raised the issue of the gap in wages. The district court sided with the company. The Supreme Court held that the comparison between the racial compositions of the high-and-low paying jobs was flawed because the data failed to take into account the pool of qualified job applicants. The AA community was disappointed because it shifted the burden of proof from the employer to the employee, in class actions alleging discrimination in workplaces.

1989 Supreme Court ruling and the 1991 Civil Rights Act

The decision by the Supreme Court cut back on the scope and effectiveness in addressing employment laws under Federal Law. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 was a reflection of the outrageous decisions made by changing the employment discrimination landscape. This is because the statute was no longer for equitable relief, like a tort statute that allowed for jury trials and damages for claims relating to intentional discrimination.

The minority communities have always had to suffer from employment discrimination. Some of them can only afford to work in low-paying jobs that are sometimes illegal, while some of the minorities are in the country illegally and, therefore, some employers take advantage of the situation. Since 1991, the situation has gradually improved, and more jobs are given to minorities. Wards cove’s decision was overturned by the Civil Rights Act 1991 that shifted the burden of proof back to the employers, thereby making it easier for plaintiffs to win employment discrimination suits. The Act only restored some of the rights that workers had lost in the Supreme Court decision, and it could not be retroactively applied to the 2,000 Wards Cove Workers who were part of the class-action suit.

AAs “missing in history”

Meaning

Helen Zia tells us that as she grew up, she was only confronted with stories of China’s past and the teachers only gave her plenty of American history. This was one of the reasons she asked why people like her (AA), were missing in history (MIH). The contributions made by the AAs community in the recent past have made a mark in the History of America, in ensuring that their role in America is achieved.

Impacts of AAs missing in history

The impact of this statement has made the AA community engage in efforts to ensure that they fight against racial discrimination. The instances include, as noted by Zia, the demonstrations on the brutal murder of Vincent Chin in Detroit in 1982, which resulted in the perpetrators failing to serve a jail term for the offense of murder.

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The devastating riots in Los Angeles in 1992, where $1 billion was sustained by Korean- American shop owners. The embattled South-Asian New York City cab drivers, in 1998, banded together with New York Taxi Workers Alliance and staged a citywide strike. This demonstrated that the AA community is a force to reckon with and that it was protecting civil rights, regardless of whether they were Americans or of any minority group.

There is also an incident of literal battles between black patrons in the states of New York and Los Angeles against Korean grocers. This conflict proved that there is racism amongst small minority groups. Moreover, the Wards Cove case only highlighted the fact that the judiciary needs to be challenged to ensure that civil rights accrue to the AAs people and that they should not be discriminated against racially.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, January 23). Asian American Dreams and Communities. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/asian-american-dreams-and-communities/

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