Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Korean Americans Fear Backlash

"At least he ain't Black..." - Anonymous.

I think the majority of Black america breathed a collective sigh of relief after it was made clear that the gunman in Monday's rampage at Virgina Tech wasn't Black. Yet hearing the news that the gunman was Asian --an immigrant, at that -- has left many communities of color on edge. When racism becomes the bandaid for a national tragedy, communities of color all across the nation feel the effects, be it through hostile acts of violence or, as will probably be the case, increased social policies that hinder the mobility and civil liberties of people of color.

But this situation is even trickier because when it comes to important issues such as immigration and the myths that so often plague Asian American communities, homeboy done gone and fucked it up for errybody. From watching the recently released videos of Cho Seung-Hui's taped tirades, it's pretty obvious that he had serious mental health issues. Yet from what I've gleaned in the media so far, more attention has been given to his "legal alien" status than to the serious inadequacies of the American mental healthcare system.

With increasingly disturbing videos and writings by Cho Seung-Hui coming to light, Korean communities throughout the U.S. are bracing themselves for an onslaught of racially motivated antipathy. A recent story on outlines some of the concerns facing these communities, such as heightened tensions in an already fraught relationship between South Korea and the United States . Already, popular messageboards are filled with anti-Asian vitroil.

I'm curious to see how this plays out and what the racial dimensions of it will turn out to be. Blame my Cali ignorance, but I was a bit surprised at how many students of color there seemed to be at Virgina Tech --both victims and pictures of those mourning the massacre's aftermath. Will --or wait, no. To what extent will the tragedy be "white washed" and used as an example of immigration policy gone wrong?

Perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic.


I can't imagine losing a loved one under such public circumstances. There's news that "delays" have kept many families of the Virgina Tech massacre victims from claiming the bodies of their loves ones.

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