“Who Killed Vincent Chin?” mirrors recent anti-Asian violence2 min read

Photo courtesy of Columbia University

Photo courtesy of Columbia University

San Jose State University and De Anza College screened the documentary “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” about a Chinese American man murdered by two White men.
Apryl Berney said the film, screened on Feb. 11 for the “Not Your Model Minority” series, mirrored recent attacks against the Asian American community.
“It’s sad because all this parallels today,” said Berney, who teaches film and theater at SJSU and De Anza. “There’s still a lot of the anti-Asian violence (but) there’s not a lot of media coverage.”
Berney said the screening is followed by a discussion so there can be dialogue on subjects that aren’t often talked about.
“The discussion is focused on anti-Asian violence and the fact that that’s not taken seriously in the United States,” said Berney. “(Since) it’s not taken seriously, it keeps happening.”
Giselle Santellan said the film was heart-wrenching.
“It was the first time I had even heard of the case,” said Santellan, a 20-year-old sociology major at SJSU. “I feel like it should not have been the first time I heard it because it was such a heartbreaking case.”
She added that it was distressing to see Lily Chin, the mother of the victim, fighting for justice for her son.
“I felt very frustrated and very heartbroken for Vincent Chin’s family,” Santellan said. “His mom couldn’t even speak because of the disbelief that her son’s murderer is a free man and her son is no longer there with her.”
In the film, Chin’s attackers were angered by Japan’s industrial successes and assumed he was of Japanese descent.
“I think it’s horrible,” Berney said. “Folks of Asian heritage are framed as outsiders: they’re either outsiders or they’re the model minority.”
SJSU student Azar Mazarei, 60-year-old theater major, said the evidence in the documentary pointed towards the attack being intentional.
“I thought it was so sad and disappointing that (although) everything was so obvious … they knew nobody was going to charge them,” Mazarei said.
At the end of the documentary, one of the attackers, Ronald Evens, was released with a suspended sentence and a small fine.
Pamela Insixiengmay, 23-year-old SJSU design major, said she found it shocking.
“With recent hate crimes towards the Asian community, work needs to be done,” Insixiengmay said. “The only way we can do it is if we actually come together and ignite change within the government.”

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