Texas Gulf Coast In The 1970s — Vietnamese Fishermen And The Ku Klux Klan

When Vietnamese refugees first settled in the coastal town of Seadrift, Texas, they encountered prejudice and resentment from some of the locals. It culminated on Nov. 25, 1979, when the Ku Klux Klan came to the fishing village. They menaced the Vietnamese fishermen who were competing with white fishermen and told them to get off the water and get out of town. This was part of the hostile reception given to some of the 130,000 Vietnamese refugees who came to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon.

Four decades later, the Vietnamese are now a fixture along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The arc of the Vietnamese resettlement experience is instructive history, and it offers a lens through which to view current attitudes toward immigrants.

In 1979, a Vietnamese refugee shoots and kills a white crab fisherman at the public town docks in Seadrift, TX. What began as a dispute over fishing territory erupts into violence and ignites a maelstrom of boat burnings, KKK intimidation, and other hostilities against Vietnamese refugees along the Gulf Coast.

Set during the early days of Vietnamese refugee arrival in the U.S., SEADRIFT is a feature documentary that examines the circumstances that led up to the shooting and its dramatic aftermath, and reveals the unexpected consequences that continue to reverberate today.

1979 Incident (from Wikipedia):

Seadrift is remembered for a killing that took place on August 3, 1979. Prior to this date there had been several negative racial incidents between local white citizens and Vietnamese refugees. As the central area relied heavily on the commercial fishing industry for income, many whites felt threatened by the increasing number of Vietnamese. On the night of August 3, 1979, a fight broke out between Billy Joe Aplin, 35-year-old crabber and Sau Van Nguyen, a Vietnamese crabber which ended with the fatal shooting of Aplin. Within hours of the shooting, several Vietnamese boats were burned and there was an attempted bombing of a crab plant that employed Vietnamese workers. Sau Van Nguyen and his brother Chinh Nguyen were tried for murder and acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. The incident inspired the creation of both the 1981 documentary Fire on the Water and the 1985 film Alamo Bay. In January 2019, Title 8 Productions, LLC premiered an independent documentary called, Seadrift, in Park City Utah. It continues to be screened throughout the United States. The documentary series “Reel South” examined the 1979 incident in the 2020 film “Seadrift”.

Timeline (from the Asian American Bar Association of New York):

1865 In Pulaski, Tennessee, a group of men who had fought in the Confederate army form a secret society, which they call the Ku Klux Klan. The name was likely derived from the Greek word kyklos, which means circle.

1868 The Ku Klux Klan spreads to Texas.

4/30/1975 The Fall of Saigon: Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, is captured by North Vietnamese forces. The South Vietnamese government surrenders. Saigon is renamed Ho Chi Minh City, and the Vietnam War effectively comes to an end.

1975-1979 The fall of Saigon prompts a wave of Vietnamese emigration, as South Vietnamese refugees flee communist rule with urgency, often in small fishing vessels. Many of these “boat people” are lost to drowning, pirates and dehydration. The sheer numbers overwhelm Southeast Asian host nations, some of which resort to pushing the boats back out to sea.

late 1970s Thousands of Vietnamese refugees resettle in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, on the Gulf Coast. Many take up fishing and shrimping, creating competition for local fishermen and shrimpers.

1/1979 Nguyen Van Nam, a former Colonel in the South Vietnamese army, moves to Seabrook, Texas. He eventually becomes head of the Vietnamese Fishermen’s Association.

8/3/1979 Following two years of tension between Vietnamese and local fishermen and shrimpers, two Vietnamese brothers kill a local crab fisherman in Seadrift, Texas. In the aftermath, four shrimp boats owned by Vietnamese are set on fire and a Vietnamese home is firebombed. Eventually, the two brothers are acquitted on all charges, on the grounds of self-defense.

1/24/1981 Local fisherman Gene Fisher meets with Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon Louis Beam.

2/14/1981 The Ku Klux Klan sponsors a fish fry and rally, which includes a cross-burning ceremony, to support Texas fishermen and to protest increased competition from Vietnamese refugees. Some 750 people attend, including more than two dozen men wearing white robes and carrying rifles and shotguns. A fishing dinghy labeled “U.S.S. Viet Cong” is burned at the rally.

3/15/1981 Local fishermen and Ku Klux Klan stage boat ride to intimidate the Vietnamese. On board are robed, hooded, and armed Klansmen, some of whom are armed. They ride up Clear Creek Channel to Colonel Nam’s house. 

3/29/1981 Two Vietnamese fishing boats are set on fire in Galveston Bay.

4/16/1981 Vietnamese Fishermen file suit against Ku Klux Klan in Houston, seeking a preliminary injunction.

4/30/1981 Depositions start in lawsuit.

5/1/1981 Judge McDonald hears first motion for a protective order.

5/8/1981 Judge McDonald hears second motion for a protective order and motion seeking psychiatric evaluation of Beam.

5/11/1981 Preliminary injunction hearing begins, and continues for four days.

5/12/1981 On the second day of the hearing, the Texas legislature passes a law limiting the number of shrimping licenses that can be issued in 1981 and 1982.

5/14/1981 Judge McDonald grants motion for a preliminary injunction in part, barring defendants from unlawful acts of violence and intimidation against the Vietnamese.

5/15/1981 The fishing season opens.

7/15/1981 Judge McDonald files opinion granting the preliminary injunction in part, finding a likelihood of success on plaintiffs’ civil rights and antitrust claims and holding that “it is in the public interest to enjoin [the Klan’s] self help tactics of threats of violence and intimidation and permit individuals to pursue their chosen occupation free from racial animus.” Vietnamese Fishermen’s Ass’n v. Knights of Ku Klux Klan, 518 F. Supp. 993, 1016-17 (S.D. Tex. 1981).

8/13/1981 Judge McDonald issues order dismissing certain defendants and making injunction permanent against remaining defendants (including Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Louis Beam, and Eugene Fisher). The order notes that the only remaining issue is the request by the intervenor State of Texas and other plaintiffs for the Court to enjoin military operations of the Ku Klux Klan, otherwise known as the Texas Emergency Reserve.

6-3-1982 Judge McDonald files opinion enjoining the Klan from, inter alia, maintaining a private military or paramilitary organization, carrying on military or paramilitary training, and parading in public on land or water with firearms. Vietnamese Fishermen’s Ass’n v. Knights of Ku Klux Klan, 543 F. Supp. 198 (S.D. Tex. 1982).

6/9/1982 Final judgment is entered.

Al Pastor Papi – The Al Pastor King Of San Francisco (Street Food Icons)

Miguel Escobedo loves three things: San Francisco, DJing, and al pastor, a spit-roasted pork popular in Mexican cuisine. Originally from Mexico City, Miguel’s passions have spawned a career making some of the best Mexican food in the Bay Area, and his current project, Al Pastor Papi, focuses on perfecting the al pastor experience. Miguel talks about his journey deep into the history of al pastor, where he learned about the food’s roots in Lebanon, and about how giving back to the community he loves has made his culinary career even richer.

Faizon Love: Bruce Lee Would Beat Michael Jai White In A Street Fight; Deserves Respect For Teaching Martial Arts In Oakland During Height Of The Black Panthers Movement

In this clip, Faizon Love and Vlad continued their discussion about Bruce Lee and Michael Jai White. Faizon reiterated that martial arts is more about skill and technique than brute strength, which he thinks would pose an impediment for Michael if he were to fight someone like Bruce Lee. Faizon also pointed out that Bruce Lee deserves his respect for teaching martial arts in Oakland during the height of the Black Power era which wasn’t the environment for someone who couldn’t hold their own.

NYPD Finally Forms Asian Hate Crime Task Force After Months of COVID-19 Racism

afawf-1536x864.jpg

For the first time since COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., the New York Police Department created an Asian Hate Crime Task Force to address the surge of abusive incidents against Asian Americans.

Since March 21, the department has made 17 arrests from 21 anti-Asian hate crimes in the city, which became the pandemic’s epicenter in the same month.

“This increase was cultivated due to the anti-Asian rhetoric about the virus that was publicized, and individuals began to attack Asian New Yorkers, either verbal attack or physical assault. We saw a spike in every borough throughout the city,” Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said on Tuesday, according to ABC 7.

The NYPD released videos in April, where Harrison and Officer Regina Ou, condemned these attacks and urged victims of Asian bias-related hate crimes to report these incidents.

Harrison recalled Asian New Yorkers being attacked in public transport such as buses and trains, as well as in restaurants and even their own neighborhoods. But while the existing Hate Crimes Task Force has done a “good job” investigating those incidents, several complainants were reluctant to follow up.

Source: NextShark

Filipino American rapper MBNel: My mother didn’t immigrate to The U.S. for me to rap and join a gang

The latest clip showed MBNel explaining the line, “I’m dying for my family, give a f*** about this rap sh**,” from his track “In My City.” The Stockton rapper then broke down all of his face tats except for the cross on his left cheek.

The conversation transitioned back to his family and he described what his immigrant mother thinks of the direction he took in his life. According to Nel, many immigrant parents take a risk by fleeing poverty to move to America and provide more opportunities for their children. Because of this, they expect their children to go to college and join the workforce. The clip concludes with MBNel talking about wanting a better life for his daughter.

The White House agreed Sunday that Kamala Harris is eligible to become vice president, ending false suggestions by President Trump that she was ineligible to serve if elected in November because she was born in the United States to immigrant parents

Screen Shot 2020-08-16 at 11.07.13 PM.png

Harris, now 55 and picked last week by former Vice President Joe Biden to be his running mate in November’s national election, was born in in 1964 in the western city of Oakland, California. She is the daughter of an Indian woman who had emigrated to the U.S. to attend graduate school and a father from Jamaica, making her the first Black woman to be on a major party national ticket in the U.S.

Under the U.S. Constitution, she is an American by birthright, by being born in the U.S.

Source: VOA News

Digital marketing firm president and CEO Jason Wood (Actionable Insights) says he ‘got hammered’ when mocking bartender and calling her a racial slur

440879f4-a3a6-48ff-8f79-cd88efe018e1-large16x9_Capture4.jpg

Wood, president and CEO of the digital marketing firm Actionable Insights, called Out of the Barrel bartender Rebecca Hernandez a “Sand (expletive) mother (expletive).”

Hernandez wrote on social media that she started video recording the incident because she felt uncomfortable and unsafe and “tasked with filming our own abuse to prove that it actually happened.” She posted the video with her comments on social media.

In a telephone interview Wednesday with The Bee, Wood admitted that he was drunk at the bar and expressed remorse for his behavior.

The video shows Wood apparently mocking Hernandez’s voice.

After Hernandez is heard making a phone call to request someone to come to the restaurant, Wood says: “I’m leaving. Don’t worry about me. Don’t worry about me, Saudi Arabia.”

When Hernandez asks what Wood said and if she was called Saudi Arabian, Wood replies: “You’re (expletive) stupid like they are.”

Source: The Fresno Bee

San Francisco tech CEO Michael Lofthouse (Solid8) said he ‘lost control’ when spewing racist rant towards Asian family celebrating a birthday at Bernardus Lodge and Spa’s Lucia restaurant

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 7.54.51 PM.png

Raymond Orosa and his family were having dinner at Carmel Valley restaurant Lucia. “We were there just celebrating, having fun,” said Orosa.

The fun quickly disappeared as the man at the table next to them began ranting. “Suddenly I hear this loud voice, you know like f’ing Asians,” said Orosa.

Michael Lofthouse gave the family the finger, then said, “Trump’s gonna f— you. You f—— need to leave. You f—— Asian piece of s—-.”

“He was full of hate and anger,” said Orosa. “It’s sad that there are still people that are like that in this world, let alone in this country,” he continued.

A Lucia employee quickly stepped in. “Get out, you are not allowed here. You do not talk to our guests like that. They are valued guests. Get out!”

Source: ABC 7

San Jose teacher who coughed on 1-year-old baby in Yogurtland fired by Oak Grove School District

covid-karen-san-jose.jpg

“As many know, there have been allegations that a District employee was involved in a videotaped incident in which the person appeared to have intentionally coughed on a baby at a local Yogurtland. We want to inform our community that the District employee who was alleged to have engaged in this conduct is no longer an employee of our District. The Oak Grove School District’s highest priority is the safety of our students and the well-being of all of the children in the community we serve. We do not tolerate conduct from any employee that compromises any child’s safety. As we welcome our students back for learning this summer and in the fall in these unprecedented times, the District’s commitment to creating and maintaining a safe environment for our students is unwavering.”

The boy’s mother, Moreya Mora, says police have shown her a photo lineup and she’s identified the woman.

Source: ABC 7