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In 1987, Michael Moore exclusively interviewed Ronald Ebens, the former Chrysler autoworker who, along with his laid-off autoworker stepson, brutally beat a Chinese-American man named Vincent Chin to death with a baseball bat in Detroit 5 years earlier. A witness heard Ebens tell Chin and his Asian-American friend that they “were the reason we’re all getting laid off” — a reference to the scapegoating of the Japanese for the American auto industry cutting jobs (again, Chin was Chinese, but that made no difference to his killer). The killing of Chin and the fact that Ebens spent no time in jail and only paid a small fine set off a wave of new Asian-American civil rights activism.
In this special episode of Rumble, Michael recounts his 2 hour meeting with the defiant killer of Vincent Chin and notes the all-too-familiar “white-guy-as-victim syndrome” that Ebens exhibited due to his legal and media ordeal after he killed Chin. Michael is joined by an Asian-American public school teacher, storyteller, activist, and the cousin of the late Vincent Chin, Annie Tan, who explains the importance of Vincent Chin’s legacy and discusses the proactive, positive work that is being done to confront anti-Asian racism and violence.
Finally, March 23rd, 2021 is Michael Moore’s Liberation Day. After 379 days in a self-imposed quarantine and one month after receiving his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he’s finally leaving the house and he ponders all the places he will go.
‘The Man Who Killed Vincent Chin’ by Michael Moore
This article appeared in the Detroit Free Press Sunday Magazine on August 30, 1987.
Here are the links to the groups Annie mentioned that support Asian Americans:
NAPAWF: National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
CAAAV Organizing Asian American Tenants
Red Canary Song
Flushing Workers Center: Twitter @FlushingWorkers
Welcome to Chinatown
Send Chinatown Love
CACF Coalition of Asian Children and Families
18 Million Rising
Articles Annie mentioned:
Annie Tan, “Remembering Vincent,” The Moth
Nina Sharma, “Not Dead” in Asian American Writers Workshop
Music in the episode:
“If I Ruled The World” – MILCK
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