Statement from MAPAAC Chair Jamie Hsu on the Vincent Chin Murder Case
Contact: Vicki Levengood 517-241-7978 Agency: Civil Rights
As a metro Detroiter, an Asian American, and Chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, I am compelled to correct Neal Rubin's understanding of the record in the 1982 Vincent Chin baseball bat murder case. When Ebens and Nitz set out to find Vincent Chin after a melee in the Fancy Pants bar, it does not appear that the assailants cared what sort of Asian American Vincent Chin was – but they were undoubtedly anti-Asian. Chin was called "nip" and "Chink" and other epithets. Ebens and Nitz paid Jimmy Perry $20 to find "those Chinese guys." There is no doubt in our collective minds that if Vincent Chin was white, he would be alive today. The case record, complete with the racial epithets, clearly establishes a racial animus on the part of the defendants. To re-characterize the killing of Vincent Chin as simply a bar room brawl and not a hate incident 32 years after the case is revisionist history.
At the Michigan Asian Pacific Affairs Commission, we both practice and advocate for racial understanding and tolerance, and laud the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans to the betterment of the state of Michigan. While we on the commission and in the APA community are focused on these positive efforts, we cannot forget that the civil rights event that brought so many of us together was the need to seek justice for Vincent Chin at a time when others were unwilling to face the reality that such hate lives among us. Vincent did not deserve to die at the age of 27, and neither history nor his memory should be subject to this sort of revisionism now.
Jamie Hsu, Chair, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs CommissionMDCR - Statement from MAPAAC Chair Jamie Hsu on the Vincent Chin Murder Case