On June 23, 1982, Vincent Chin died from wounds sustained in an attack from two racist working class white men who assaulted him, one holding him in a bear hug so the other could strike him in the head with a baseball bat, four times. As his brains leaked onto the sidewalk, Chin's last words were reportedly "it isn't fair." His wedding guests attended his funeral instead. The men who killed him to this day have not spent a day in jail nor paid any of the $3,700 fine. The judge presiding over the case said "These aren't the kind of men you send to jail."
Listen carefully: this is how white people tell you
"you can be anything you want as long as you work hard enough"
does not apply to you or your children.
If you forget, they will apply pressure
on the sidewalk, in front of witnesses.
Lily and David Chin, in laundries and restaurants, in a brush factory
worked all their lives to see their son murdered twice.
If ever I am to stand in front of a judge
to measure the dollar amount of my life
and he cannot decipher
what kind of man I am
and how I will haunt history
I will tell him
I am what I always have been:
I am a dead man.
Monday, June 23, 2014
from poet Bao Phi
from poet Bao Phi, reprinted with permission: