Abolition, Not Assimilation: A Retrospective of Christine Choy
- Organizer: A/P/A Institute at NYU
- Address: New York, NY United States
Christine Choy (NYU Tisch School of the Arts) has long demonstrated an abiding concern for the voices of the disenfranchised and a keen eye for the difficult intersections of individual and national histories, race, and class. Choy’s Academy-nominated Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987, with Renee Tajima-Peña) brought the murder of Chinese American Vincent Chin to national consciousness and mobilized a generation of Asian Americans to push for civil rights and political representation.
We are pleased to present four films directed by Christine Choy and produced by Third World Newsreel, a vibrant survey of Choy’s experimental and activist lens.Teach Our Children (1974, with Susan Robeson) captures the Black radical spirit of the Attica Prison Rebellion. From Spikes to Spindles (1976) shows Chinatown grassroots organizing around police violence and gentrification. The destructive legacy of American empire and Cold War militarism in Vietnam and Korea in Bittersweet Survival (1982, with JT Takagi) and Homes Apart: Korea (1991, with JT Takagi).
Rather than asking what it takes for Asians to be good Americans, these films interrogate the legacies of incarceration and imperialism that all Americans inherit; rather than assimilation, these films point us to the necessary abolition of prisons and military bases. Choy’s lens never loses sight of what is human and universal, whether it is the loss of a loved one or searching for home—but these things are never subordinated to the political, nor can they be thought of outside of a political context. In this way, Choy’s films are a valuable lesson in how to think productively about identity and politics today.
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