“Seadrift” was in the making before Donald Trump’s presidency started spreading xenophobia throughout the U.S.
But the 2016 election made it hard for director Tim Tsai to unsee the nearly word-for-word similarities between the archival footage of the Ku Klux Klan rallying against the the Vietnamese refugee community of Seadrift in the 1970s and the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite The Right” rally.
In the mid 1970s, the small town of Seadrift, Texas had their crab-catching economy disturbed by change. Vietnamese refugees, escaping the ravages of the Vietnam War, settled into Seadrift to forge livelihoods in the crabbing business.
As the refugees had little guidance or understanding of the Seadrift fishing customs, the white native fishermen became wary of the competition—xenophobia mixed into their attitudes—as the Vietnamese weren’t provided translators or assistance to understand long-established customs.
Vietnamese fishermen inadvertently crossed fishing boundaries and trouble brewed between the two sides.
Disputes peaked when Vietnamese fisherman Nguyen Van Sau shot and killed local white fisherman Billy Joe Alpin. When the jury acquitted Sau on the reason of self-defense, the Ku Klux Klan banked on the discord by burning the boats and homes of the refugees.
Read the story at /Film.
See upcoming screenings of the documentary at the “Seadrift” website.
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