The Six, executive-produced by James Cameron, revolves around Titanic survivors who were denied entry into the United States after the April 15, 1912 sinking.
What We Know:
- The documentary, which premieres this Friday in China, has “chillingly relevant” survivors’ stories. It discusses Lee Bing, Fang Lang, Chang Chip, Ling Hee, Ah Lam, and Chung Foo’s experiences. Although some reports depicted them as stowaways, they were professional mariners. They were traveling aboard the Titanic to get to their next job.
- The six stayed in third-class transport, where they had “probably some of the nicest accommodations on a ship that they had ever encountered.” Others barely noticed the travelers on the ship, said Steven Schwankert, the film’s lead researcher. Despite this, they faced scrutiny when they survived.
- People accused the group of cramming themselves under seats and disguising themselves in women’s clothing. Schwankert states that most of these accounts came from grieving survivors. A majority of these people were women who lost their husbands and older sons and gave skewed descriptions. They felt pain and trauma, and, because of this, they made the Chinese passengers scapegoats. Regardless, Schwankert declared nobody should have to apologize for surviving. He also mentioned that the six did not cause anyone’s death.
“If they have a legitimate opportunity to get into a lifeboat seat… There was no reason to choose death for death’s sake and not survive, but there was definitely a feeling after it was all over that if a man survived, he automatically took the place of a woman or a child, and that just simply isn’t the case,” affirmed Schwankert.
- When the Carpathia, the ship that picked up Titanic survivors, entered the U.S., the men were denied entry. At this time, anti-Chinese discrimination was codified and legalized in 1912. NBC News reports that the pilgrims were treated with the same attitudes the United States maintained toward the Chinese under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The six survivors unwillingly spent the night on the Carpathia then traveled to Cuba.
- Nancy Wang Yuen, an associate professor of sociology at Biola University, said the passengers’ reputations were common at the time. This is because of the Page Act, which banned Asian women from coming to the United States. It also prevented them from marrying someone outside of their race. Schwankert also declared that their lives post-Titanic would have been worse. They lived in the West “during a time of rampant racism and discrimination.”
- While the film explains details about their lives, there is still little information on them. Yuen states this is a reflection of how people viewed the subjects as dismissible.
“The erasure of Chinese survivors compared to the mythical celebration of white Titanic survivors sheds light on how Asians have often been treated in the United States: as casualties of disasters,” Yuen vocalized.
- One of the six has a special connection to the film Titanic. The scene in which the titular characters, Jack and Rose, are floating on a piece of wreckage, was inspired by Hong Konger Lang’s rescue. Despite this, not a lot of information is known about Lang or the others. The public may never get many details on these people due to history’s erasure.
- Schwankert aims to find streaming services to provide the documentary to a wider audience. He asserts that the film was an opportunity to return dignity and honor to these victims. “In a few of the cases, we’re talking about people whom even we now know very little,” he indicated. Regardless, Schwankert wants people to know the Chinese Titanic survivors deserve integrity and respect.
Chinese immigrants today still face similar prejudice. Just last month, a mass shooting in Georgia targeted Asian-American women. Due to the increasing amount of Asian-American hate crimes due to COVID-19, the Senate passed a bill that will outline how to report such actions. It will also detail practices to “mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing” the pandemic. The Six just emphasizes an issue that has circulated for many generations. With the current climate, it is a call for solutions in ending xenophobia. It urges people to work towards acceptance of all communities.
Keystone XL Pipeline Project Cancelled
Developer TC Energy terminated the project Wednesday after failing to persuade President Biden to reverse his permit cancellation from January.
What We Know:
- Former President Donald Trump gave the project a green light after stagnation from the Obama administration. Construction began last year on the 1,200-mile pipeline that would have moved 35 million gallons of crude oil daily. The pipeline would have connected Nebraska to other pipelines on the Gulf Coast.
- Biden canceled the border-crossing permit on his first day in the White House, which has been considered a win for activists. Concerns that burning oil sands crude could make climate change effects worse or harder to reverse were a major part of the decision.
- TC Energy warned that this decision would lead to the layoff of thousands of union workers. Attorney generals from 21 states went on to sue to overturn Biden’s decision as the pipeline would have created thousands of construction jobs. Robin Rorick, Vice President of midstream and industry operations at the American Petroleum Institute, stated, “This is a blow to U.S. energy security and a blow to the thousands of good-paying union jobs this project would have supported.”
- The Canadian government had invested more than $1 billion into the project. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau objected to Biden’s decision which has caused tension between the U.S. and Canada. Alberta officials reached an agreement with TC Energy to exit the deal and they plan to try and recoup the investment.
- Activists are counting this as a major win in their fight for environmental justice. A lot of credit is being given to indigenous communities that have engaged in this fight for years. “We stood hand-in-hand to protect the next seven generations of life, the water, and our communities from this dirty tar pipeline,” the Indigenous Environmental Network said in a statement.
Biden’s decision to revoke the permit aligns with the environmental initiatives of his administration. David Turnbull, Strategic Communications Direction at Oil Change International, said, “The cancellation of Keystone XL is a reminder that this project was never needed and never in public interest, and that it is time for the fossil fuel era to rapidly come to a close.”
France, Belgium Ease Virus Curbs
On Wednesday, France and Belgium announced they would begin easing their COVID-19 restrictions; the countries would do this by allowing cafes and restaurants to serve indoors, dropping overnight curfews, and more.
What We Know:
- The two nations’ leaders made the announcements, respectively. France’s Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter for his declaration. In his tweet, he emphasized the French citizens’ longing to return to normalcy while also advising people to continue following precautions. French people may now enjoy outdoor dining and stay out past 11 P.M. Additionally, Macron intends on removing the overnight curfew by June 30.
Nous y sommes !
S’asseoir à la table d’un restaurant.
S’évader le temps d’un spectacle.
Vibrer à l’unisson dans des gradins.
Retourner à la salle …
Cette vie nous avait tant manqué !
Pour que cette reprise soit durable, continuons à respecter protocoles et gestes barrières.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 9, 2021
- Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated the country will now permit parties of up to four people to dine indoors. Indoor events can now function with no more than 200 people, or 75% capacity. Furthermore, their work-from-home mandate is still in effect, but employees may request to spend one day in the office. Employers may accept this request as long as larger offices maintain a daily capacity of 20% of workers.
- The vaccine rollout across Europe facilitated the newfound lenience. Across the continent, nations are encouraging their subjects to get vaccinated in an attempt to “strike a balance” between public health and reviving industries. Europe wants to renew tourism across the continent, as pandemic travel restrictions devastated the sector the most.
Parliament gives its final green light to the EU Digital Covid Certificate to facilitate travel within the EU and contribute to the economic recovery. Press release → https://t.co/Lx4eAAL4h0 pic.twitter.com/dKMyiwqYui
— European Parliament (@Europarl_EN) June 9, 2021
- To boost travel, the European Parliament voted on Wednesday to approve the Digital Covid Certificate. The new document will permit those who received the vaccine, tested negative, or recently recovered from COVID-19 to travel across the European Union (EU) countries.
Currently, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, and Spain already issued millions of certificates to EU residents.
Judge Overturns California’s Assault Weapons Ban
US District Judge Roger Benitez deemed the 32-year-old California Assault Weapons Ban unconstitutional in a 94-page decision. The reasoning Benitez applied has come into question by experts.
What We Know:
- Benitez was nominated in 2004 by President Georgia W. Bush. Despite being overwhelmingly opposed by the American Bar Association, the Senate confirmed him on a 98-1 vote. The ruling stems from a 2019 lawsuit filed by James Miller and the San Diego County Gun Owners, who alleged that the 1989 ban violates their Second Amendment rights.
- In his decision, he likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army Knife. He also claimed that studies prove that the harm of an assault rifle being used in a mass shooting is “infinitesimally rare.” He further affirmed that more people have died from the COVID-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California. None of these claims were accompanied by evidence.
- California has had more than a dozen mass shootings this year, and since 2017 more than 50 people have died from mass shootings in the state. The CDC has investigated 4,900 reports of post-vaccine deaths and has been unable to find a causal link.
- Benitez did cite an emergency room physician’s testimony and wrote that injuries from AR-15’s are no different from other legal firearms. Dr. Heather Sher, a radiologist who treated Parkland shooting victims, stated, “Handgun injuries to the liver are generally survivable […] An Ar-15 bullet wound to the middle of the liver would cause so much bleeding that the patient would likely never make it to the trauma center to receive our care.”
- He has made other rulings in the gun control debate, such as tossing out the 10 round magazine limit and the use of background checks for ammunition sales. A rule in Southern California has established that cases go to judges with prior experience with the issue, which is how this case ended up with Benitez in the first place.
- There is potential for this case to come before the Supreme Court, which is now overwhelmingly conservative due to the former administration. It could be used in the battle to overturn regulatory measures and rule that banning military-style weapons is unconstitutional.
The current ban will stay in place until the appeals court hands down the final ruling to the entire state. Benitez has enacted a 30-day stay so Attorney General Rob Bonta can file an appeal. Law Professor Jessica Levinson at Loyola Marymount University stated, “I think it’s incredibly problematic when a federal judge quotes things that are factually incorrect because it hurts the integrity of the branch.”
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