The Asian-American Experience: Increasing Violence
In July of 2003, a mentally disturbed 25-year-old Vietnamese mother of two, Cau Bich Tran, was shot and killed by San Jose, California, police officer Chad Marshall in front of her boyfriend and young sons (Gathright A21). Marshall was brought to the Grand Jury, which heard testimony that resulted in a refusal to indict the officer for murder or manslaughter after seven days of testimony during a rare public grand jury probe of the incident, in which Officer Marshall testified that he was forced to shoot Tran because she was wielding an "edged weapon" which she refused to drop. Officers had been called to the scene because one of Tran's children was seen wandering alone on the streets; when arriving at the victim's apartment, the officer was told by her boyfriend that she "was crazy," and Officer Marshall claimed to have acted in self-defense after warning her to drop the weapon (Gathright A21).
Response to this shooting was immediate. Asian-Americans in general and Vietnamese-Americans in particular claimed that this was merely the latest in a long string of official violence directed against members of their community by authorities (Gathright A21). At issue was the question of whether Marshall and other officers acted too hastily, failed to analyze the situation, and ultimately acted in a manner that led to the death of a woman who was not dangerous and who could easily have been subdued (Gathright A21). This case introduces questions of whether or not Asian-Americans are increasingly being targeted for discrimination and victimization by authorities and whether or not this minority group is poorly served by public policy in the U.S.
The thesis to be explored here is, stated as an argument: Historically and to the present day, Asian-Americans have experienced various forms of discrimination as a consequence of either institutionalized policies biased against this g...