Race Reels: Vincent Who?

Mairin Quillen, Layout Manager

By Mairin Quillen

The MLK room is packed as students eat pizza and mingle before the start of the documentary. PHOTO BY MAIRIN QUILLEN

The MLK room was fully packed to the point where some people had to sit on the floor during the Friday, Nov. 6th Race Reels, a monthly event that hosts a screening of a movie followed by a discussion on topics relating to race and racial identity.  

The documentary shown that day was Vincent Who?, a film that details the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American man. He was beaten to death in a hate crime committed by two auto-workers that mistook him for Japanese and blamed Japan for the decline of the American auto industry.

The film explores the relative obscurity of Vincent Chin in the modern day despite the unifying effect his death had for people of all races, especially Asian Americans, to protest the injustice of both his murder and the acquittal of his murderers.

The guest speaker for the night was Heang Ly, an activist who currently works with the organization Teen Empowerment to encourage youth to address social justice issues within Boston. She spoke about her experience as a refugee from Cambodia growing up in the predominantly white town of Northampton.


Activist Heang Ly speaks about the discrimination towards Asian-Americans. Ly also runs programs for Asian-American women in leadership development. PHOTO BY MAIRIN QUILLEN

Activist Heang Ly speaks about discrimination towards Asian Americans. Ly also runs programs for young Asian American women in leadership development. PHOTO BY MAIRIN QUILLEN

Ly then led the room in discussion about how some people believe that the beating of Vincent Chin was not racially motivated. Ly also spoke about how Asian Americans are pressured into being silent about discrimination they face due to the fact that on average they have higher incomes than any other racial group and their struggles are often invalidated. However, the main focus of the night was on the progress that is possible if people from every background and identity come together and refuse to tolerate prejudice.  
The next Race Reels will be on Dec. 2 and will feature the film Unnatural Causes.