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April 15, 1987 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-04-15

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OPINION
Wednesday, April 15, 1987

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

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No. 134
editorials represent a major
signed articles, and letters
y.

Itg an ,aIly
ents at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
rity of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
do not necessarily represent the opinion

Chin

Roots of racism
JACKSON'S recent economic gap between blacks and
ampus, he denied the whites has been growing in last
comforting assertion two decades. In 1967, the median
cing racism is an income for black families was 58.1
rend. Rather, Jackson percent that of white families; by
the publicized racial 1984, the percentage had dropped
nore "economic vio - to 56.9 (Bureau of the Census). A
relatively small number of blacks
comments came as a has benefitted from reforms like
lief from self-serving Affirmative Action and moved into
nsidered "hypotheses" better, more visible occupations;
e received popular but the majority of the black
f late. The most community continues to live in
nd revealing comments poverty secluded from white
ted from Washington, America's vision. In 1984, the
acterstic of the self- Bureau of Census reported that the
ice-issue experts in our majority, 51.1 percent, of black
is Assistant Attorney children under 6 years were living
William Bradford below the poverty line. This is the
highest level recorded since the
denied that there is Bureau began reporting such a
racial violence and statistic in 1970. Clearly,
his country. Reynolds conditions are deteriorating, not
ecent racist attacks in improving.
3each and Forsyth And conditions promise to get
Georgia, isolated worse. While in 1977, college
He attributed such attendance rates for blacks and
' to a breakdown of white were nearly equal, due to
ition and family values. cuts in student aid and other
e comments, Reynolds factors, a white person is now 45
the achievements of his percent more likely to reach'
ese in terms of fictional college. Another discouraging and
nd distorted inter - upsetting situation is endemic
igures from Reynolds' underemployment of young blacks:
y report 276 racial 43 percent of blacks between 16
st year compared to 99 and 19 years of age are
e Justice Department's unemployed, compared to 16
Relations Service). percent for whites. These are
racial attacks are not among the reasons one should not
currences. They are expect continuing growth of racial
amatic - read equity in the United States - racial
y"- indications of the equity has not been growing and,
wing racial injustice in barring dramatic and significant
y. Such tragedies change, will not do so in the
smissed with platitudes immediate future.
ptional cases' and 'the Several reports released recently,
)f public education and including one by the National
es. They deserve and Urban League, have documented
e thoughtful analysis. the relationship between growing
' "isolated incident economic inequality and increasing
1 probably meet with racist attacks. Specifically in the
acceptance considering case of the Howard Beach
myth that "the racial "incident," deterioration of cities
as been solved in this and accelerating concentration of
any people harbor the blacks in urban areas has caused
delusion that racial increased pressure for racial
s nearly eradicated by integration of traditionally white
Rights Movement. neighborhoods. This has led to
ly, this belief has no increased racial tension with
lity. The Civil Rights attempts, such as the Howard
won some significant Beach attack, to preserve
inges but did not ease segregated color lines.
ic plight of American Assistant Attorney General
2acism is, in part, Reynolds and other government
and reinforced by officials choose to ignore
equality. Thus, racism worsening economic conditions
cks will never be and their relationships to racism.
ithout eliminating their Those who wish to affect racial
pression. equity and justice cannot afford to
revailing beliefs, the do likewise.

By Raymond Lin
In Michigan, you can kill a Chinese-
American with a baseball bat for $3780.
That's the price, according to Judge
Charles Kaufman from the Wayne
County Circuit Court. And other than
spending three years out of jail on
probation, that's the only price Ronald
Ebens and Michael Nitz have ever paid for
murdering Vincent Chin in 1982.
However, the public remains unaware
of this for the most part. Almost five
years since Vincent Chin's death, most
people have forgotten about the racially-
motivated slaying that once received
extensive media coverage nationwide,
especially in the Detroit area. Most
people have probably assumed that Ebens
and Nitz are now serving long jail terms
as all convicted murderers do.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The story of the attempts to bring
Vincent Chin's killers to justice is almost
unbelievable, so ineffective has the legal
system been in punishing the killers
whose guilt is so blatantly obvious. The
story is not over, though.
Vincent Chin was a 27 year old
Chinese-American architecture student.
On June 19, 1982, he and three friends--
Jimmy Choi, also an Asian-American,
and Gary Koivu and Bob Siroskey, both
white--went to the Fancy Pants Club, a
go-go joint in Highland Park. Chin was
to be married in 9 days; to celebrate, he
and his friends were having a traditional
American "bachelor party."
While sitting at the club, Chin was
'noticed by two white men sitting across
from him: Ronald Ebens, a 42 year-old
Chrysler foreman and his stepson, 23
year-old Michael Nitz. Witnesses report
that Ebens began insulting Chin with
such racist remarks as "chink" and "nip."
After some shouting back and forth,
Ebens and Chin got out of their seats,
walked towards each other and began to
fight. Nitz joined in and was cut on the
head when Ebens accidentally struck him
with a chair intended for Chin. A bouncer
broke up the fight and kicked out both
parties.
Outside the club, Chin challenged
Ebens to renew the fight. Ebens walked
to Nitz's car, took out a 34 inch, 34
ounce Louisville Slugger baseball bat,
and approached Chin. Chin saw the bat
and fled. Choi ran with him.
Raymond Lin is a member of
UMASC. ,

leserves
Chin and Choi made their way to a
McDonald's on Woodward Avenue,
hoping they would be safe in the crowds
there and that Siroskey and Koivu would
find them. Ebens and Nitz found them
first. They spotted Chin and got out of
their car. Chin yelled "Run!" and he and
Choi ran towards the street.
Nitz chased Chin, tackled him and
caught him in a bear hug. While the two
struggled, Ebens caught up to them,
wielding the baseball bat. He swung and
missed. Chin broke free and tried to
escape. Ebens swung twice more and
struck Chin in the knee, then in the back.
Chin fell to the ground in pain.
Eben swung the bat again, this time
cracking open Chin's skull. Chin covered
his head with his hands, trying to stop
the blows. Ebens continued his attack.
An eyewitness said, "Mr. Ebens was
standing over him with the baseball bat
and he was just pounding him in the head
like he was hitting a golf ball. He hit
him four times. Four times. There was
blood coming from everywhere. Out his
ears and everywhere."
Two off-duty policemen saw the
attack, drew their guns and ordered Ebens
to stop. Ebens dropped the bat.
Meanwhile, Chin writhed on the ground.
His final words were, "It isn't fair." He
soon went into a coma. His brain stopped
functioning and 4 days later he died. One
of his doctors described his skull as being
shattered "like an eggshell."
Ebens and Nitz were arrested, but were
allowed to stay free on $5000 bail. They
were charged with second-degree murder.
However, the charge was reduced through
a plea-bargain: Ebens and Nitz agreed to
plead no contest in return for reducing the
charge to manslaughter. Unlike murder,
manslaughter specifies that a killing was
provoked in the heat of battle and that no
premeditation was involved.
The two claimed that they were not
looking for Chin after they left the Fancy
Pants. Rather, they were driving towards
the hospital in Highland Park to get
medical attention for the cut on Nitz's
head and just happened to see Chin by
chance.
In an act of great carelessness, the
prosecutor did not show up at the
sentencing, reassured by Ebens and Nitz's
,:guilty pleas. As a result, only the defence
was present when Judge Charles Kaufman
-- a Japanese P.O.W. in World War II --
decided upon the sentence. The defence
attorney proceeded to present Ebens and
Nitz in the best possible light.

justice

Judge Kaufman was convinced. He
sentenced the two men three years on
probation and $3780 in fines. "These
weren't the kind of men you send to jail,"
Kaufman told reporters.
This extremely leniant sentence caused
outrage nationwide. Groups such as the
Detroit-area American Citizens for Justice
(ACJ) formed to demand a retrial of Ebens
and Nitz. They were able to bring a
federal grand jury indictment against
Ebens for violating Vincent Chin's civil
rights. No charge was brought against
Nitz. Ebens was tried and found guilty.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
However, he appealed the decision and
was allowed to stay free on bond. Last
September, the Court of Appeals in
Cincinatti reversed the decision, on
grounds that the trial court judge wrongly
excluded evidence suggesting witnesses
were coached.
Public protest of the reversal caused
the Department of Justice to call for a
retrial of Ronald Ebens. On April 21, in
Cincinnati, that trial will begin.
It's not fair that Vincent Chin was
killed because he was Asian, because
Ronald Ebens saw him as reponsible for
the Japanese competition in the auto
industry. It's not fair that Vincent Chin's
murder has ruined the lives of Vikki
Wong, the woman he was soon to marry,
and his mother, Lily Chin, whose
husband had just died the year before
Vincent did. It's not fair that Vincent
Chin's life, full of promise of a bright
future, was cut short at 27 with the crack
of a baseball bat. It's not fair that people
like Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz can
willfully murder an innocent person so .
viciously and still remain free.
This Thursday at noon, the University
of Michigan Asian Student Coalition
(UMASC) will be holding a rally on the
diag to raise awareness of the murder of
Vincent Chin and the upcoming trial of
Ronald Ebens. Speakers will include
members of UMASC, UCAR, the ACJ
and possibly an appearance by Mrs. Lily
Chin. The rally will receive Detroit media
coverage, which will bring the killing
back into the public eye both in and
around the University community. Please
help bring justice for Vincent Chin;
attend the rally and show that students at
l iniversity will not tolerate racist,
brutal murders. like Vicent Chin's to go
unpunished. For more information about
the rally and the murder of Vincent Chin,
attend the UMASC meeting thisi
Wednesday at 7pm in 439 Mason Hall.

4

LETTERS:

Editorial not like WJJX racis

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To the Daily:
There is a great difference
between the racist jokes told on
WJJX and the "God is Dead
editorial" (Daily, 4/1/87). The
aspect of the racist jokes which
I believe makes them "bad" is
that the punchline depends
upon stating something
derogatory about someone
which is believed to be true.
Saying "How many MSU
students does it take to change
a light bulb?" is not a funny
joke unless you follow it with
a line suggesting that MSU is
an easier school than the
University of Michigan or that
their students are less
intelligent (such as: "One, but
he gets 3 credits for it").
Suggesting that they are rich or
short isn't funny because we
don't believe these things to be
true. This type of joke is bad
because one, it promotes these
derogatory ideas and two, it
must not be pleasant to be an
MSU student and realize that
someone thinks that way about
you.
The article in the Daily,
however, is funny, at least to
those who thought it was so,
because it is not believed to be
true. The situations described
are absurd and therefore funny
because we don't anticipate
what is coming. The article
was printed on April Fool's
Day which should make it clear

are offended tha
Tunisia

To the Daily:
We, the members of the
Muslim Students Association
of the University of Michigan,
wish to convey our deep shock
and abhorrence toward the
persecution and oppression of
the Muslims and the Islamic
Movement in Tunisia. Mr.
Rashid Al-Ghannoushi and a
large number of his supporters
were arrested and tortured in
prison for their active involve -
ment in Islamic activities.
Their arrest and subsequent
torture for religious activities
is a denial of their basic rights
established and guaranteed by
the International Human
Rights Agreement. Their con -
tinued detention is also a threat
to the ideals of freedom of
speech and religious practice.
We hereby express our
solidarity and sincere support
for the Islamic Struggle in
Tunisia. We demand that the

it humor is
systeA

to anyone who was unsure that
the jokes were false and only
intended to believed by "fools."
The only part which was of the
"bad" type described above was
the Woody Allen joke, but I
don't think Woody would
mind.
I realize that some people

being derived from a subject
that is very serious to them,
even though it made no serious
implications about the subject.
However, limiting jokes only
to things which are serious to
no one would leave little room
for humor (which is serious to
me).

t jokes
promoting the "tolerance" that
those picketing the Daily call
for, I suggest that they be
tolerant of those who believe
that humor can be brought to
serious subjects without
causing any harm.
-Alex Kasman
April 13

So, in the hopes of
natically persecutes Muslims 4
Tunisian President, Mr. Habib and the Islamic Movement.
Bourguiba, immediately release -The Muslim Students
Mr. Al-Ghannoushi and his Association of The
supporters and stop all op - University of Michigan
pression toward the Muslims April 13
'God is dead' saddens reader

To the Daily:
I am writing to you about
the "God is Dead" article (Daily
4/1/87). I was very shocked and
offended upon reading this
article. I can't say that it made
me angry, but it did make me
very, very sad. I feel sad for the
person who wrote this article-
how very empty and meaning-
less his life must be. Even
more so, I am sorry for the
editors' lack of judgement in

publishing it.
Blatant prejudism such a
this should not be published, it
is a direct attack on all who
have hope in their faith, it is
wrong to belittle that.
I hope that in the future you
will think twice before
publishing something like this
again.
-Miranda Lemmer
April 4

The Michigan Daily previously published
today's editorial, but with the paragraphs
out of sequence. Because of the continuing
relevance of the editorial, we are reprinting
it in the order in which it was written.

Wassermat

6

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