“And they looked around for someone to blame.”
~ in a Lisa Ling story on violence against
Asian-Americans in 1982
We are STILL playing the blame game.
The same game the Germans played when they looked for someone to blame for their economic downturn pre-Second World War. Their scapegoat was the Jews. Although anyone with half a brain can’t deny the horrors that unfolded, how smart are we, really, if we haven’t learned anything from that — and the hundreds of years of blame game that came before?
We’re still looking for someone to blame and it’s usually someone who is different than we are.
Oh, who are “we?” you might ask? “We” are usually the whites who run the show. Because we do run the show.
Why do we have to blame anyone?
Why can’t something just BE?
Why point a finger?
It is what it is. No scapegoat needed.
The eye-opening Ling piece discussed the violent, racially-motivated murder of Vincent Chin.
The murderers (who worked at the local Chrysler plant) thought he was Japanese, whom they blamed for the decline of Detroit’s American car manufacturers. So, why not beat him to death?
Ling’s piece reminded us that Mr. Chin’s vicious killers pled out to manslaughter and got only a minimal sentence. Three years probation. A $3,000 fine. No one sent to prison. Even one of the murders expected to go to jail. After all, he did admit to the killing.
The life of a good man wasn’t worth more than probation and a fine. Because he was Asian American.
Unequal justice is not justice
The case was never thoroughly investigated. A witness has said she heard one of the killers say “It’s because of you MFs that we are out of work.” She was never interviewed by police. In fact, no witnesses were interviewed. BTW, two off-duty police officers witnessed the crime.
Authorities never even notified his mother of the sentencing hearing. Maybe because she is Asian-American. Her son’s life wasn’t worth anything, so who cares about her?
Groups who believed Mr. Chin’s civil rights had been violated were told those laws did not apply because he was not Black and civil rights laws only applied to Black people.
Activists formed a group called American Citizens for Justice. It managed to exert enough pressure that the Feds took another look at the sentence. The result: a new sentence of 25 years.
But on appeal, a new trial was granted.
The killers were found not guilty.
Justice is obviously not color blind. As he lay dying, Chin last words were “It’s not fair.”
How right he was.
Why are we still shocked by this stuff?
Are you surprised there is an undercurrent of hatred toward those of Asian descent? I was, when I first learned about it a few years ago. Pre-pandemic. A hypnotherapy client came to me for help with social anxiety. Their condition began after non-Asian people began targeting them with racial slurs, aloud and under their breath. Yes, here in the Bay area, where Asian-Americans make up a sizeable proportion of our population. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shocked. But I was.
They were afraid to go out. Afraid that the slurs could turn into violence.
That was the moment my eyes were opened.
So when Asian-Americans were targeted during this pandemic, that kind of blame game, that kind of ignorance, wasn’t a surprise.
Vincent Chin died in 1982, nearly 50 years before that awful man’s use of the bigoted term “Kung Flu” or the “China virus.” What have we learned in the decades since?
We’re still looking for someone to blame.