Award-Winning Journalist, Host and CNN Executive Producer
What are you having there?
I’m drinking a cabernet sauvignon. I don’t normally drink when it’s still daytime, but I’m going to enjoy this.
I’ve noticed many people are reexamining their relationship with alcohol lately because of COVID. What is your typical consumption?
I’ve never really been a big drinker. I’m a lightweight, so I’m a one-drink-date. But since COVID got rooted in our country, I have to admit that I have about one drink — no more than two, usually two full glasses — every single night, just to calm myself down. As you know, things were pretty overwhelming for a long time. They still are with two kids in the house all the time. So, the moment they went to bed, I’d think, “I need my wine.” But fortunately, I’ve always been pretty good at tempering myself and not ever going overboard. Just that little bit.
“This is Life with Lisa Ling” is returning to CNN on Sunday, October 10th. In the first episode, you explore the origins of Asian American hate. What’s the impact you’re hoping to make with this show?
Our show has been on the air for eight seasons. Our eighth season is about to launch on Sunday. Back in June 2020, people on social media were posting about Juneteenth. Now, we all know what Juneteenth is; it’s now been made a federal holiday. But back when people started posting about it, I just thought to myself, “I’m so embarrassed that I didn’t know what Juneteenth was. I didn’t know that it was considered the official end of slavery.” This propelled me to think about all of the events that have happened in American history that didn’t make it into our history books, and how many of them have actually gone to impact how we live and how we think today. So, that was the impetus for season eight of “This is Life.” Every episode is grounded in one moment or event in our history. We dissect it to look at where we are today with the issue. The first episode is about the murder of a young Chinese American man in Detroit in 1982. As we all know, Detroit was the automotive capital of the world. And in the early ’80s, a severe economic downturn began. People were starting to lose their jobs in the automobile industry and blaming it on Japan, because Japan was producing all these fuel-efficient cars. An anti-Japanese, anti-Asian sentiment began to penetrate the city. This young Chinese American man was at a bar celebrating his bachelor party. He was about to get married and two out-of-work auto workers got into an altercation with him. They accused him of being Japanese and taking away their jobs. They waited for Vincent Chin outside of the bar, and they beat him to death. Those two men never served a day in prison. This case became the first ever Civil Rights case involving an Asian person, and really galvanized the Asian-American community. When you think about what’s happening now, since COVID got rooted in America, Asian Americans are again, being scapegoated and have been blamed for bringing this virus to this country. So, so many Asians have been attacked. Attacks on Asians in this country have increased 1,300 percent since the start of COVID. We’re looking at this pattern of scapegoating and discrimination that Vincent Chin experienced, but that was predated by centuries. For me, going to history class in high school was really boring, because history seemed like it was told through one lens. History can often be dry, but I like to think that we’ve produced episodes that are really entertaining and interesting.