The Memory and Legacy of Vincent Chin

 The documentary by Curtis Chin that was presented at this event, discusses the murder of an Asian American named Vincent Chin. However, what sets this documentary apart from an average murder documentary though, is the reason for its name of the film itself. The reason the documentary was given that interesting name, was to note the fact that no one had ever heard of this man and his story, or how his tragic and brutal death was a catalyst, for major contemporary movements.

         To explain the event that took place, Vincent Chin was an Asian American man that was murdered for no reason other than simply being Asian, in a time and place where people we made at Asians for supposedly “stealing” their jobs. What makes the event even more chilling Is the brutal way he was murdered that was gruesome and full of unbelievable hate, (to avoid going into gruesome detail I suggest looking up details if you are interested to avoid making others uncomfortable). To make matters even worse, after this horrifying murder was committed, the criminals responsible, were let off the hook with no charges at all. This shocking act of violence and outlash of unjust hate was the final straw after a long series of Asian American hate crimes that acted as a beaconing wakeup call, that united Asian Americans together under one common goal and cause. What is shocking to think about is that this event rallied together groups that had not only never before protested in America to such a large extent- but also united them together in ways they never had been before. Before this event, Asians from different countries had never before united together under one term or identity. This was the first time people from places like China, India, the Middle East, and countries in Southeast Asia saw something in common that could bring them together in solidarity. This is where the films comes in, to make the claim that this is where the term Asian American came from and how we as American’s began to see racism more than just black and white- finally extending it to other minorities, sexualities, and genders. Thus, it can be seen not only how this event acted as a catalyst for the major movements we see against racism in recent years, but also a factor in the coining and uniting factor for Asian Americans.

    In the way of personal reflection of how this event made me think deeper, this documentary really made me think about America today. I found it shocking and scary that this event not only occurred out of such hatred but also how recent it was. The fact that this murder didn’t almost any media attention, highlighted the question -who gets media attention, and what that says about who those media outlets place higher in the value of their life when discussing murders like this. What was going through the mind of the media at the time, did they simply not find his murder one worth mentioning? Was there any deeper reason for it concerned with race or other elements? Or simply was he just ignored? Either way, no matter what the answer is, it is a shocking notion to reflect on, about whose death is deemed worthy enough to be mentioned and remembered, and whether or not elements of who you are that are out of your control will have to do with that. Reflecting on that and the questions it leads you to think really made me scared as we look at where we are today and the issues we are still facing.

Photo of Vincent Chin and his mother who is part of the documentary mentioned above
Photo of Vincent Chin and his mother who is part of the documentary mentioned above
Vincent Chin
Vincent Chin
Asian American movement after Vincents death
Asian American movement after Vincents death

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