May 1990 marked the first Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, for which the designation was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.
More than 30 years later, much of Asian American history remains unknown by many Americans, including many Asian Americans themselves.
Some milestones are often taught in classrooms, such as the incarceration of Japanese descent during World War II and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
To say that the events have not had impactful consequences to the lives of millions from the racial group would be inaccurate.
Still, at the same time, it is only appropriate to consider just a tiny fraction of the long history of anti-Asian racism in the United States.
Prejudiced sentiment toward the racial group has never really gone away. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, when the global oil crisis drove the U.S. automobile industry to the brink of collapse, American automakers blamed Japan for that.
Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, was bludgeoned to death by two White Americans for no apparent reason other than him looking like Japanese.
His killers were fined and sentenced to probation. They never spent a day in jail. The leniency sparked widespread outrage.
10 /10 Out Of Work
On June 23, 1982, in Detroit, a city that prides itself as the “automotive capital of the world,” or did, a young soon-to-be-married man named Vincent Chin died.
Not a week earlier, he was having a good time at his bachelor party with his friends at a local bar when two white men confronted and blamed them for the decline of the auto industry in the city.
The two white men – Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz – were said to have shouted that they’re out of work because of people like the group they confronted, likely referring to Japanese descent.
9 /10 We're Not Japanese
When Vincent said, “We’re not Japanese” to Ronald and Michael as he was, in fact, of Chinese descent, a fight ensued.
Michael Gardner, a police officer, working as a security guard at a fast-food restaurant on the night of June 19, testified that he saw Ronald clutching a baseball bat and standing over the Chinese American.
Gardner identified himself as an officer and ordered Ronald to drop the bat. At that time, Ronald and his stepson had already beaten Vincent with the baseball bat until his head cracked open. He died four days later.