Monday 19th February 2018,


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Detroit News: Story behind pivotal moment in Asian American history challenged

posted by Randall

Vincent Chin The story of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American beaten to death with a baseball bat in Detroit in 1982, is often cited as a turning point in the Asian American civil rights movement.

A blog in today’s Detroit News by Neil Rubin challenged the very core of the Vincent Chin story–that he   was beaten by unemployed autoworkers because he was mistaken for Japanese at a time when Japanese automakers were being blamed for unemployment in the US auto industry.

“The story makes all the sense in the world,” says Tim Kiska, who covered the case as a reporter and is now a journalism professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “But it didn’t happen that way.”

Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz never spent a day in prison for that killing despite three trials and both having plead guilty to manslaughter.

Kiska largely discredits the testimony of a stripper who witnessed the attack and testified the Ebens said to Chin , “It’s because of you (bleeps) we’re out of work.”

It’s unfortunate that Kiska feels this way. He speaks as if his opinion is gospel. He seems to think his observations are more credible than the investigation of federal prosecutors who twice tried Ebens and Nitz on civil rights charges. You don’t get brought up on charges like that unless prosecutors have strong reason to believe race was involved.

All this took place at a time when Asian Americans lacked both the numbers and power to pressure the feds to do really anything. It’s unfortunate Kiska has allowed his stereotypical view of a stripper to cloud his judgment.

Yes, prosecutors aren’t always right. But it takes a lot to move a mountain–a mountain of evidence.

 Why does Kiska not give much credibility to the dancer’s testimony? You can read about that in the Detroit News.


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