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37 Years Ago Today: “It’s because of you little motherf*****s that we’re out of work!”

Summary:
On this day, in 1982,  at the height of the hysteria focused on competition from Japan, two unemployed auto workers chased down Vincent Chin — celebrating his bachelor’s party — and beat him senseless with a baseball bat (he subsequently died from his injuries). As we re-establish Camp Sill as an internment/detention/concentration camp (you pick the term), and the deportation campaign — real or imagined — is announced, it’s perhaps time to recall the warning signs: “On both sides” “Where are you from?” (and Part II) Purge at the NIH In context: “…Every time there is tension between any Asian country and America, Asian Americans face  problems, even if they’re not of that particular ethnicity.” That’s law professor Frank Wu, as quoted in the Guardian. One might be tempted to say that

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On this day, in 1982,  at the height of the hysteria focused on competition from Japan, two unemployed auto workers chased down Vincent Chin — celebrating his bachelor’s party — and beat him senseless with a baseball bat (he subsequently died from his injuries). As we re-establish Camp Sill as an internment/detention/concentration camp (you pick the term), and the deportation campaign — real or imagined — is announced, it’s perhaps time to recall the warning signs:

In context:

“…Every time there is tension between any Asian country and America, Asian Americans face  problems, even if they’re not of that particular ethnicity.”

That’s law professor Frank Wu, as quoted in the Guardian. One might be tempted to say that American born Asians have nothing to fear (the purged scientist at NIH was an American citizen). In any case, during WWII, 2/3 of the interned were native born.

Even if the Trump administration does not impose official sanctions on Asian American citizens, I worry about the rhetoric (including trade war talk focused on Huawei — although strangely not ZTE) impelling individuals to take action on their own.

The entire story: On June 23, 1982, Vincent Chin (no relation) died from injuries suffered after he was beaten outside the bar where his bachelor party was taking place, in Highland Park, Michigan, by Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens, with the help of his stepson, Michael Nitz. Ebens’ quote: “It’s because of you little motherfuckers that we’re out of work!” referring to the impact of Japanese imports on Michigan employment (Chin was a U.S. citizen of Chinese extraction). After a plea bargain, neither served any jail time, and were given three years probation, fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $780 in court costs. The judge said, “These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail… You don’t make the punishment fit the crime; you make the punishment fit the criminal.”

I suspect today, in Trump’s America, these two gentlemen would get a warm welcome at a ceremony at the White House.

And on cue, what pops into my mailbox today…

‘Committee on the Present Danger: China’ Threat Briefing Focuses on China’s ‘Unrestricted Warfare’ on Manufacturing, the Need for Indo-American Solidarity

Newt Gingrich, Steve Bannon and Shalabh ‘Shalli’ Kumar Join Other Experts and Electronics Manufacturers to Address Communist China’s Take-Down of the U.S. Industrial Base and the Emerging U.S.-India Strategic Partnership

Menzie Chinn
He is Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

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