Vincent Who? and White Who?

I didn’t know who is Vincent Chin until I watched the video clip of Who Killed Vincent Chin (1988). The Chinese American man was enjoying his bachelor party with friends at a local bar in Detroit on the night of June 19, 1982. During the celebration, two white men, Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz accosted Vincent Chin and his friends. “It’s because of you we’re out of work,” the white men shouted to Vincent Chin and blamed him for the success of Japanese auto industry.

The fling abuses eventually turned into a fighting. Ebens bludgeoned Vincent Chin with a baseball bat until his head cracked open. Vincent was sent to hospital. Four days after Vincent fell into a coma. He died, at the age of 27, and left behind his beloved fiancée and heart-stricken mother. Ebens and Nitz finally pleaded guilty for manslaughter. They are sentenced to three years of probation and fined $3000.

I was very confused and angry about lawsuit. I held my breath when I saw Ms. Huang testified in the courtroom. The old lady choked and was unable to fluently speak one sentence. I shouted to myself, “What a ridiculous fate. What a pathetic United States of American.” I suddenly recalled a satire poem:

Dear white fella, something you should know:
when I was born, I black
when I grow up, I black
when I go in sun, I black
when I cold, I black
when I scared, I black
when I mad, I black
when I sick, I black
and when I die, I still black.

You white fella:
when you born, you pink
when you grow up, you white
when you go sun, you brown
when you cold, you blue
when you scared, you yellow
when you mad, you red
when you sick, you green
and when you die, you grey.

And you have the nerve to call me colored.

—-“Dear White Fella” by Anonymous

In my opinion, Vincent is not only a victim of parochial ethnocentrism, but also he is a victim of long-lasting fear of the yellow peril. Like Ken A. Ono had Vincent Pham had mentioned in the book Asian Americans and the Media that white people identified themselves by contradiction. In order world, white people earn the sense of presence by contrasting themselves to other so-called colored people. Thus, colored people become the reference to enable white people identify themselves. I think the concept of yellow peril represents the existential anxiety of white people. Of course they would never eulogize colored people, if they do that, according to the approach of self-identification-by-contrast, white people will have to admit that they are just the opposite of kind and civilized.

Dear white fella, could you identify yourself without barbaric trample other people?

==>See clips of the Documentary: Who Killed Vincent Chin?

==>See the Documentary: Vincent Who? (2009) by Curtis Chin.


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