Since the election of Donald John Trump, hate crimes have been increasing, especially towards Muslims. The article below, copy and pasted from NPR, is about hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are underreported, at times because Asians don’t want to seem overly sensitive, while other times, they feel intimidated by law enforcement. Because of this lack of reporting, it makes them more of a target. The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC, same as Asian Americans Advancing Justice) posted incidents of hate crime against AAPI and sharing that info. with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization that fights discrimination through litigation.
I think it’s important that this is finally being tracked. The article lists incidents of hate crime. But a monumental, often forgotten hate crime was against Vincent Chin. His story is copy and pasted from Remembering Vincent Chin.
Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old Chinese American raised in Metro Detroit. A week before his wedding, June 19, 1982, he went to the Fancy Pants strip club in Highland Park with a few buddies for his bachelor’s party. There, they encountered two autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, who, like many at the time, blamed the Japanese for the U.S. auto industry’s troubles. At the time, the American auto industry was in a crushing recession and much of the hostility was directed at Japan. Mistaking Chin for a Japanese American, two white autoworkers began to harass Vincent with racial epithets and a fight broke out. Even though Chin was not Japanese and worked in the auto industry himself as a draftsman, Ebens was heard saying, “It’s because of you little m—f—s that we’re out of work,” as well as other anti-Asian racial epithets.
The men were thrown out of the bar, and the fight continued in the parking lot and into the night. Ebens and Nitz searched for Chin and his friends, and upon finding them after a half hour pursuit, Nitz held Chin in a bear hug while Ebens struck Chin’s head four times with a baseball bat, cracking his skull.
Vincent Chin died four days later. His wedding guests attended his funeral instead.
On March 18, 1983, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz pleaded guilty to killing Vincent Chin. Judge Charles Kaufman sentenced them to 3 years probation and fined them $3,780. Explaining the light sentence, Judge Kaufman stated, “These aren’t the kind of men you send to jail . You fit the punishment to the criminal, not the crime.”
Neither man spent a single day in jail for beating Vincent Chin to death.
The brutal murder and light sentence outraged the Asian American community. In Detroit on March 31, 1983, Asian Americans founded the American Citizens for Justice to lobby for a federal trial for Chin’s murderers. The campaign was spearheaded by journalist Helen Zia, lawyer Liza Chan, and Lily Chin – Vincent Chin’s mother. Rallies in Detroit, San Francisco, and Los Angeles awakened sleeping Asian American communities and attracted national media attention.
The national API mobilization succeeded in winning a federal trial. On June 5, 1984, federal prosecutors charged Ebens and Nitz with violating Vincent Chin’s civil rights. After 23 days of deliberation, a Detroit federal jury acquitted Nitz but found Ebens guilty of violating Chin’s civil rights. At last, after 2 years of struggle, justice came for Vincent Chin.
Defense lawyers won a federal retrial for Ebens and Nitz in Cincinnati. On May 1, 1987, the jury acquitted Ebens and Nitz of violating Vincent Chin’s civil rights. Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz never spent a full day in jail for the murder of Vincent Chin. Crushed by the failure of the justice system, Lily Chin left America and returned to China.
Although the movement for a federal trial did not gain justice for Vincent Chin, it was far from a failure. The movement gave a resonant political voice to previously silent Asian American communities across the nation. The murder of Vincent Chin was the seminal event that sparked the Asian American civil rights movement. In his death, Vincent Chin was immortalized as a symbol of the Asian American struggle for acceptance.
If something happens to you, report it. If you see something, say something.
First-Ever Tracker Of Hate Crimes Against Asian-Americans Launched
After years of declining numbers, hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are rising exponentially. A report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations found that crimes targeting Asian-Americans tripled in that county between 2014 and 2015. In addition, the FBI found that the number of hate crimes against Muslim communities rose dramatically between 2014 and 2015 (67 percent). That’s the biggest increase of any other group listed in the Hate Crimes Report. However, national statistics on hate crimes against people who fall under the AAPI label are still scanty.
Two days before the inauguration, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil and human rights nonprofit, launched a website to rectify the issue. The website, standagainsthatred.org, documents hate incidents and crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders by tracking stories about hate incidents received from people around the country. The stories are vetted by AAJC staff and posted anonymously.
“We’ve always recognized that hate incidents have been an issue,” said AAJC Executive Director John Yang. “We realized that we really needed a better tracking tool.”
Documented hate crimes against Asian-Americans extend as far back as the 1800s, when the white supremacist group Arsonists of the Order of Caucasians murdered four Chinese men whom they blamed for taking away jobs from white workers. The men were tied up, doused with kerosene and set on fire. In 1987, a Jersey City, N.J., gang calling itself the “Dotbusters” vowed to drive Indians out of Jersey City by vandalizing Indian-owned businesses. The gang used bricks to bludgeon a young South Asian male into a coma.
In a headline-grabbing case, two men from Queens, N.Y., were charged with a hate crime for attacking four Asian men, including one left with a possible fractured skull in a then-predominantly white neighborhood. “There’s an undercurrent of suspicion of the new immigrant — what are they doing, what are they building, what are they putting in that store?” Susan Seinfeld, the district manager of Community Board 11, told The New York Times at the time.
In recent years, law enforcement bias has also surfaced: In 2014, video footage showed a New York Police Department cruiser running over and killing 24-year-old Japanese-American student Ryo Oyamada. The court later ruled in favor of the police department, stating that the incident was unavoidable. In January of this year, a 60-year-old Chinese-American man playing Pokémon Go in his car at night was shot and killed by a security guard in Chesapeake, Va. The guard was charged with murder.
Hate crimes targeting AAPI often stem from the fact that they’re seen as the “perpetual foreigner,” said Yang. That anti-foreign sentiment has only increased under the new administration, he said. In one of the stories posted on the new AAJC website, an older white man approached an Asian-American woman in downtown San Francisco and pretended to hit her over the head with a book, yelling, “I hate your f****** race. We’re in charge of this country now.” The anonymous submission added, “He was not intoxicated.” In another entry, a Muslim teacher in Georgia was told to “hang herself” with her headscarf.
As disturbing as these stories are, they often don’t show up in national data, said Yang. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders frequently underreport hate incidents because they feel intimidated by law enforcement or are afraid of being seen as overly sensitive. Unfortunately, their silence on the issue makes them an even more attractive target for hate crimes. Racially motivated incidents that are reported are often filed as generic offenses and don’t show up in national data about hate crimes.
AAJC plans to share data gathered from its website with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes through its Hate Map and Hatewatch blog. The center began segmenting out its hate crime numbers for Asian-Americans last December and relies on grass-roots organizations like AAJC for those data.
“We need to raise public awareness that hate incidents against AAPI are not one-off incidents. They happen in much greater numbers than we’d like to admit,” said Yang.