April 18, 2007

"My parents are actually worried about retaliation against Asians."

Said Virginia Tech student Lyu Boaz, a Korean-American. “After 9/11, a lot of Arabs were attacked for that reason.”
Asian-American students at Virginia Tech reacted to news about the gunman’s identity with shock and a measure of anxiety about a possible backlash against them....

Mr. Boaz, a resident adviser at Pritchard Hall, said many Korean-American students had left campus immediately. Parents of other Korean-American students were preparing to pick up their children on Tuesday afternoon and take them home.
Is this a realistic fear? There was notably little retaliation against Arabs (or Muslims) after 9/11, and that incident was not only much larger, it involved a group of people with a particular ethnicity/religion, who acted out of an ideology that they openly tied to their group characteristics. Americans deserve credit for making the important distinctions and not succumbing to bigotry.

Let's see what Margaret Cho -- who shares the murderer's name -- has to say on her blog:
I look at the shooter's expressionless face on the news and he looks so familiar, like he could be in my family. Just another one of us. But how can he be us when what he has done is so terrible? Here is where I can really envy white people because when white people do something that is inexplicably awful, so brutally and horribly wrong, nobody says – “do you think it is because he is white?” There are no headlines calling him the “White shooter." There is no mention of race because there is no thought in anyone's mind that his race had anything to do with his crime.

So much attention is focused on the Asian-ness of the shooter, how the Korean community is reacting to it, South Korea's careful condolences and cautiously expressed fear that it will somehow impact the South Korean population at large.

What is lost here is the grief. What is lost is the great, looming sadness that we should all feel over this. We lose our humanity to racism, time and time again.
Do Americans deserve this criticism? Is "so much attention is focused on the Asian-ness of the shooter"? If we want to avoid bigotry, let's also think about whether it's right to characterize Americans this way. But, of course, it is important not to look on this madman and imagine that he represents Koreans or -- more absurdly -- Asians. Even when a person is quite ordinary, we should resist thinking of him as being the way he is because of his group.

Meanwhile, I'm not seeing a lot of attention paid to the murderer's Koreanness. On NPR this morning, they called him "the English student"! Get it? He was an English major, and attention is being paid to his writings -- which you can see here. Should we worry about bigotry and retaliation aimed at fiction writers who go in for violent fantasies? Or don't worry. Go to the movies. May I recommend "Grindhouse"?

101 comments:

joe said...

Has anyone other than Margaret Cho suggested that he committed the crimes because he is Korean? What an idiot.

Mister DA said...

I think it's remarked on because it is unexpected. Maybe reverse racism of a sort -- the average white (or black) American does not expect Asians to commit this kind of crime.

kettle said...

'There are no headlines calling him the “White shooter."'

I think this is more because for one reason or another 'white' is often considered the racial default by media in the U.S. Right or wrong, I find that this often leads me to instinctively assUme that when a label isn't used, that the figure being described is white.

Odd I've never really considered that before, but there it is.

rsb said...

...I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Jeff said...

Oh, please. Race ("whiteness") was mentioned all the time during the the 90's "Unabomber" period. The only terrorists that the Clinton WHite House wanted to talk about (and fight) were white rural militia types. What's disgusting is how quickly Margaret Cho played the race card. Meanwhile the media bends over backwards to massage the facts "English student", to suit their liking.

SteveR said...

Some of this too is an artifact of 9-11. We are sensitive to another "attack" and once it was not seen that way, the focus moved to his other characteristics.

MadisonMan said...

If this killing had been in any other country, wouldn't the shooter's Korean roots also be noted?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Heh…I should have made a bet as to how long it would take for the race issue to be thrown out there. What upsets me is the assumption that after an event such as this, we’ll all grab our pitchforks and torches and start marching on the nearest Korean store/home when in fact, nothing like that will occur or had occurred even after 9/11 against Muslims/Arabs.

Boaz and Cho’s concerns reminds me of the parody news headline: Muslim groups fear backlash over tomorrow’s suicide bombing.

Anil Petra said...

Every serial killer expose I read in the mainstream media says the profile fits because he's a white man in his late twenties or early thirties.

(Hasn't the predominance of "whiteness" among serial killers been debunked, by the way?)

I don't think we burned all the late twenties, early thirties white loners after Jeffrey Dahmer

Irene Done said...

I just re-read a post of yours from yesterday, the one that quotes student Erin Sheehan as saying "He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit." She matter-of-factly notes his ethnicity but it's part of an eyewitness account that gives more emphasis to his clothes. Is that being focused too much on "his Asian-ness?"

(Just a normal-looking kid" was also my first thought when I saw the photo yesterday.)

El Presidente said...

I expected it to be an "angry white man."

ada47 said...

For the record, dr. helen (http://drhelen.blogspot.com/) has a post about his South Korean-ness. OK, OK, it's from a predictable corner, not exactly representative of the general population, and, to the credit of this generation of students, not at all representative of what I've come to see as their unassuming comfort with the "diversity issues" that people my age and older try to shove down their throats. I expect little or no retaliation, or even focus on the shooters ethnicity, from the college age population. They know better.

David53 said...

If a white American had killed 30 plus students at a University in Korea you can bet the media would emphasize his race and nationality.

Wade Garrett said...

Jeff,

Please, this is not the proper space to wheel out those old, erroneous attacks against Clinton.

I haven't heard or overheard anybody link the attacks to his Asian-ness in the least bit. The Muslim terrorists of 9/11 linked their attacks to their racial identity. The white terrorists of the 90's linked their attacks to distinct political philosophies. The early accounts out of Blacksburg suggest that this was just a troubled kid who snapped, and those people exist in every race and religion.

Melinda said...

I didn't notice an inordinate amount of attention being paid to the shooter's "Asian-ness," but then again, I'm not Asian. Margaret Cho's comments seem a tad over the top. They've been seeming like that a lot to me lately.

I remember being momentarily surprised when I first saw the shooter's picture. "Asians are the new Crazy White Guys?" Because that's usually a Crazy White Guy crime.

I didn't see it as a particularly Asian thing as much as I saw it as an immigrant assimilating into the mainstream, even if in this case it means "the mainstream of a tiny percentage of really psychotic people in this country." I'm thinking in this case about Mr. Mike calling serial killers "American Folk Artists." But then again, he was just a tad over the top, too!

Jeff, I don't think of NPR as "the media." They're so politically correct they're like an Onion parody of themselves.

Wade Garrett said...

If there are retaliatiatory attacks, don't expect the attackers to be very discriminating. In the south, a Puerto Rican man was beaten to death shortly after 9/11 because somebody assumed he was an Arab. Similarly, I don't expect prejudiced rural Americans to know the difference between Koreans and other people of East Asian ancestry.

It is worth nothing that none of the retaliatory attacks after 9/11 occured in New York.

Internet Ronin said...

Wade, While I agree with your first comment, I wonder why you later automatically assume "rural Americans," as opposed to those living in urban area, would not know the difference? I imagine a survey would show about the same results for each.

paul a'barge said...

Have you been to Korea? Or to any oriental country, for that matter?

Here's a clue-by-four: in each oriental language, they have a special derogatory word for white people.

You really have to witness this to believe the unbelievable sniveling hypocrisy of any of these orientals blaming white Americans for racism.

Oriental cultures are inarguably the most racist cultures on planet Earth. The list of racist behaviors with which they treat white people, and each other for that matter, is practically endless and particularly vile.

Only in America do we allow these simpering victimhood-embracing ninnies to say stuff like that without a quick, immediate bracing splash of the cold water of truth.

Cho is a moron.

Kirby Olson said...

Last night on CNN an FBI profiler argued that the play Mr. McBeef (I think that was the title of the playlet) represented Cho's inability to handle his own homosexual feelings which he then projected violently on to others. It was ridiculous.

Imagine what such a profiler would think if she read Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Cho's playlet wasn't too bad. In about twenty years after all this becomes a footnote it might make a good evening for the punk crowd along with Valerie Solanas' plays. They both have a sick sense of humor of a kind. Perhaps Manson's songs could also be played.

But probably the most important thing is not to make too close a relationship between the plays and the man. What he's reading and writing is probably irrelevant but still interesting.

Margaret Cho's spin is predictable.

ada47 said...

I wonder what it would be like to have a serious discussion, about anything, without anyone saying or writing the words "politically correct". It's never been clear to me exactly what that meant or how it is relevant in this case.

It is a serious problems that universities are hamstrung by laws that protect individual liberties on the one hand, and parents who will sue their a**es off if anything happens to their child that could have possibly been prevented, on the other.

I'm not a lawyer, and don't have deep knowledge of the law, and would like to see Prof. Althouse address some of these issues here. I'm a biologiy professor trained in doing biology research and teaching biology to undergraduates, with no background in the law or in mental health or family relations or civil liberties, and I feel increasingly less qualified to participate in university life in any meaningful way, lest I get myself killed or my university sued. Perhaps this is the subject for another thread, but I would like to see a discussion on how universities are supposed to adjust to
a) the increasing mental health complexity of college age populations (I'll elaborate on that if necessary)
b) the fact that college students are legal adults but in most cases mom and dad are the paying customers
c) the desire to avoid protracted legal battles, that suck time and resources, over administrators inability to control the behavior of adults so as to produce the outcomethat their parents want.

Obviously the VT case is an extreme example, but much less consequential examples of the same conflicts are an every day occruuance at colleges and universities.

Internet Ronin said...

As far as Margaret Cho's comments, they are pretty tame by her recent standards. They do not strike me as being particularly over-the-top at all, because I really do think her sensitivity about race in this instance is a projection of her own views on to others - as in, "Koreans/Korean-Americans don't do this kind of thing - others do.

The focus she mentions, however, is entirely media-driven. That criticism is fair but will be lost in the claim that they are somehow "reflecting" the American public's viewpoint. Does anyone here know ANYONE who really cares what the South Korean government or South Koreans think about this?

reader_iam said...

You mean the "Grindhouse" which has a inspired the the infamous Grindhouse Rapist #1 (the actual product name) action figure, which while not available at your local Toys 'R Us, can easily be purchased over the internet? (And of course the word "grindhouse" itself has a specific meaning.)

Althouse, this may be one of your most clever references ever.

boldface said...

Actually, the reaction from some Asians is fairly typical of immigrant groups and ethnic minorities. My parents were always mortified when a Jewish person was indicted for something or other, and you can imagine their horror when it came out that the Son of Sam's last name was "Berkowitz." I'd imagine Asian families feel similarly.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

I disagree with those who say there wasn't an over-emphasis on "Asian" on at least one outlet, and sloppy references to it elsewhere. I noticed that on Monday, and I sure as hell did think there was a meme or two to it, and I even posted on that specific topic. People have a tendency to go into "otherness" mode generally, and this really gets exacerbated when the story involves an "Other" of an entirely different sort, which transcends ethnicity and most other things.

Plus, there was an element of politics to it (i.e. immigrants etc.), and a linking into a narrative which has been ramping up a bit lately more generally. (Think O'Reilly and the fatal-drunk-driver story, and also that fire in the Bronx in which eight children died, which somehow became an illegal immigration issue in some people's minds.)

So, yeah, I think there's some meta to all this.

Wade Garrett said...

Internet Ronin - You might be right. Having lived in Brooklyn, everybody knows which bodega is Lebanese as opposed to Moroccan, and which is Korean as opposed to Chinese. But now that I lived in Madison, and have had exposure to other big cities (like Indianapolis and Cincinnati) that look totally different than Brooklyn, I think you're probably right in say that, on average, urban Americans wouldn't do too much better than rural Americans on a quiz.

Also, I based what I said on the difference between the way that people in New York reacted to 9/11 and the way that people reacted elsewhere.

Internet Ronin said...

Wow, Paul - do you feel a sense of relief getting that off your chest? I sure hope so. BTW, the "special words" you mention are not targeted at "white people." They are almost always terms used for "foreigners" regardless of race and some of them are so universal that they have completely lost their "bite," unlike "Chink," "Oriental," "Jap," & "Gook" (to name just a few we have in the English language).

Are there racists in Asia? Sure! You bet, just like here. Are there MORE racists in Asia? Don't know - never seen a scientific survey that said there was.

Sorry Paul, but I believe that this statement of yours is quite arguable, but I'm not interested in arguing it with you:

Oriental cultures are inarguably the most racist cultures on planet Earth.

Doug said...

The white card was played out in the DC shootings, when early on, profilers were saying it was probably the "angry white male" doing the shooting.

Boldface is correct, there is extra bit of reaction from immigrant and minority communities when one of theirs does something horrible. A white friend of mine was complaining to a black co-worker about an idiotic white guy, she told him in the African-American community, they use the term "embarrassment to the community"

Der Hahn said...

Ya just gotta love lectures on how we need to treat criminals of different ethnicity or relgion as individuals from people who identify the threat as ignorant, bigoted, white, Christians from rural areas.

Daryl said...

Let me go on record as hoping that all retaliation and bigotry resulting from this situation will be directed at English majors and not Asians.

In fact, any campus that wants to protect itself should consider slashing its English department in half.

What percentage of English majors haven't written a short story about rape, murder, torture, pedophilia, coprophagia, necrophilia, incest, etc.?

PatCA said...

"Margaret Cho's spin is predictable." So is that of the so-called "paper of record." I wondered how long it would take before this turned into an anti-American fest.

How do they know why the kids went home? Maybe their parents were just scared, like any VT parent would be!

Note the contradiction in Cho's thinking, and racial dogma in general, that guarantees we will never be right. Racialists demand to be called Whatever Americans and then are upset that their race is mentioned. Also note that Korean culture is never analyzed or mentioned.

Bruce Hayden said...

Realistically, this is far different from 9/11. Firstly, it is far smaller. Secondly, it was a lone crazed killer. And, third, there is no evidence that this has anything to do with a real ethnic problem, as compared to militant Islam where Islamic terrorists were making ever bigger attempts as time went on and we didn't really respond.

In short, I see ethnic profiling of young middle eastern men with Islamic (esp. Sunni) names who are flying on one way tickets with minimal baggage eminently sensible. But as far as most of us know, 99% of the Oriental Asians in our midst are productive members of our society. (I distinguish here between different types of "Asians" because Arab Asians do appear much more likely to commit terrorist acts than do Indian Asians or Oriental Asians).

Bruce Hayden said...

Following on to my previous post, the use of the term "Asian" here is extrodinarily misleading.

Asia is the biggest continent, and is thus home to a large percentage of the world's population. Thus, the term "Asian" identifies a vast range of ethnic groups, ranging from Semites in the Middle East, through Indians, and then into the Orientals to the east.

I doubt that there are few who mistake an Arab for a Korean. But I sometimes can't tell right off the difference between Korean and some other Oriental groups. And I think that is true for most of us who live outside large communities of Oriental Asians.

So, the real fear is that this will feed an ORIENTAL Asian stereotype, not an Asian one. It is just political correctness that prevents Cho, et al. from making this point.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think race would only be important in this case if the person did it for some sort of cultural or racial grievence. For example, one could argue that Timothy McVeigh was fighting against what he saw as an anti-white government, or the muslim terrorists committing their crimes for the sake of islam. These are examples of corrupt relativism - people rationalizing that going to the dark side is "good."

In these latest shootings, the criminal did it for no reason other than he is a deranged whacko. His race isn't an issue because he apparently wasn't killing because of race.

Internet Ronin said...

Also, I based what I said on the difference between the way that people in New York reacted to 9/11 and the way that people reacted elsewhere. .

Wade, would you care to amplify? I recall no widespread anti-Islamic riots or demonstrations in the United States. I recall only a few isolated instances of violence and other things, some of which, IIRC, turned out to be typical opportunistic hooliganism.

Internet Ronin said...

Well said, Sloan! Well said!

Todd and in Charge said...

To me it's impossible to escape the media references to his "Asian" or South Korean heritage, or that he was a legal immigrant.

What any of this has to do with the story is unknown. It's like writing repeatedly that "the bespectacled killer" did this or that.

As sloan said, unless there is some dimension to the killing that relates to his race or immigration status, these two facts are as relevant to the story as his glasses.

Maxine Weiss said...

Whites aren't overrepresented on College campuses everywhere.

Of course that's the real issue here, that isn't going to be talked about.

That, and why Colleges are now going out of their way in these sorts of "sob-story" admissions of the emotionally unstable who had a "tough childhood" growing up.

Universities are fostering and inviting this onto Campus with all the new admissions procedures that don't look at grades anymore. Potential for academic success should be predicated on grades, not how much trauma you've had in childhood.

Internet Ronin said...

Bruce, where I live, the descriptions people generally use when talking about such things are East Asians (China, Korea & Japan), South Asians (India subcontinent), Southeast Asians (Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) and Pacific Islanders (Philippines, etc.). While not everyone appreciates it, most Asians I know feel the same way about the word "Oriental" as most blacks feel about "coloured:" not the worst thing they've ever heard, but not the best either, and they'd prefer something else.

Richard Dolan said...

So many agendas, so little time: it's amazing how quickly those agendas take over a truly horrific story. What happened was that a deranged loner killed a lot of people for no apparent reason, and then killed himself. Within a day, what it's turned into is: (a) the usual back-and-forth about gun control (guns kill! no, murderers kill!); (b) the usual victimology (beware the backlash against the racial/ethnic group of the killer! what backlash, you PC ninnies!); (c) the usual politics (pass a law! do something! you're either part of the solution or part of the problem! how can this be spun to help the Dems/Reps!); and (d) the usual Freudian/sexual angle (he was a crytpo-homo woman hater! he was a woman-obsessed loser at love!). You can also start to see the pro/con immigration crowd getting into the act (Asian immigrants don't usually do this! a third of the California prison population is immigrant!). No doubt, there are any number of additional agendas that are in play as well.

That Cho was a misfit, a loner and all-around nut seems clear enough. That he was young, single, Korean, male, a gun owner, an English major, a poor playwright and an immigrant, among other things, also are now beyond dispute. Yet in the wake of the horror wrought by Cho, there hasn't been any backlash, as far as I can tell, against young people, single people, misfits, loners, nuts, Koreans, males, gun owners, English majors, poor playwrights, immigrants or anyone else.

A tragedy like this has the unhappy consequence of showing, for all to see, how difficult it is to get public discourse out of the agenda-driven ruts it seems condemned to follow. That's a form of poverty that could really benefit from being the object of a war.

Internet Ronin said...

Richard, if there is one good thing about the round-the-clock "news" cycle we are subjected to these days, it is that spin cycles like you just mentioned are so much faster that we don't usually have to endure day after day of the same thing.

Soon enough, some new outrage, real or imagined, will pop up and this will all disappear. Nothing much useful or constructive will result from all this, but that is the way it has always been and always will be.

ada47 said...

Maxine, are you on the admissions committee at a college or university? I ask that in all seriousness. I'd like to know. I can't imagine what you say is actually true, at least not at any good place, but if you have some other information, please let us know.

Internet Ronin said...

Speak of the devil, Richard, the Supreme Court may just have knocked this story right off the front page.

ShadowFox said...

There was notably little retaliation against Arabs (or Muslims) after 9/11

Ann, are you smoking weed again? You don't recall attacks on Sikhs and Pakistanis? You don't recall local police in RI removing a number of Sikhs from a train and detaining them simply because they were wearing a turban? This was not official conduct--this was local cops' zeal in rooting out "ragheads". Make no mistake about it--there was plenty of vigilantism, especially in the lower Midwest.

Wade Garrett: If you have not seen anyone commenting on ethnicity of the killer being related to what he did, you have not been looking. The best whipping post, at the moment, seems to be Debbie Schlussel--a really, really stupid person (and a lawyer to boot). First he claimed that Asian could imply "Paki". When someone complained that "Paki" is an insult, she first dismissed it with "What is this? Don Imus?", then followed it up with a comment that "Dick Cheney used Paki" in an interview.

When confronted with facts that, in fact, it was not a Pakistani, she switched her descriptor to "Chinese on a student visa". She then focused on "too many foreign students". If you want more, take a look at my post.

Maxine Weiss: every point you try to make is baseless. Are you sure there isn't some dark corner you could go into and meditate? Because, if you keep spouting this nonsense, someone might call you a bigot.

Internet Ronin said...

Shadow Fox: While you can produce isolated instances, in the end you cannot provide evidence of widespread instances of anti-Muslim behavior in response to 9/11 to justify your apparent indictment of the American people (or their government, for that matter). Because there weren't any.

Internet Ronin said...

And Debbie Schlussel is representative of who? A kook fringe. You are sounding like you belong to another kook fringe, BTW.

MrBuddwing said...

As a 50-year-old Korean-American, I really didn't want this guy to turn out to be Asian, much less Korean. Neither wish came true. (Of course, it's all about *me*, isn't it?)

In the wake of this outrageous, despicable atrocity, I do note that, from my observations, the online reaction to the shooter's "Korean-ness" has been, IMHO, relatively muted. This could be because there really is a generally positive stereotype of Koreans out there. So maybe there won't be any notable backlash.

As for this whole issue about how much "whiteness" counts when it comes to a white killer, all I can say is: If someone can cite a specific instance in which white Americans felt ashamed or chagrined or apolgetic about the fact that a fellow white person committed a horrendous crime, I'd like to know about it.

ShadowFox said...

I keep reading what this bunch commented on Margaret Cho and re-reading Cho's comment, and I just have one question:

What the hell are you talking about?

Where did Cho suggest that being Korean had anything to do with the cause of the crime? Where did she blame anyone for overhyping the Asian-ness of the shooter?

She is simply expressing the anguish over her own loss of anonymity, which is what most Asian-Americans feel every day. It seems that people who comment on this blog often lack crucial critical reading skills. Or, perhaps, they simply read a portion of Ann's quotation of Cho and did not bother reading the whole piece.

And Cho is right in one sense--you don't read in the news, "A white man shot up an office full of people in Chicago," even when the man's exact identity is known. But the "Asian" identification of the shooter was one of the first distinguishing characteristics that popped up as the news developed. Yeah, the Korean community at VTech was probably a bit paranoid just to get up and leave, but are you sure you would not feel the same way in their place?

One thing I do have to agree with--had the situation been reversed, and a long-term white American resident of Korea shot up a bunch of students at a university, more likely than not, there would be anti-American demonstrations on the streets of Seoul. On the other hand, if it happened to be a Korean-American students who came to Korea to study, there might be no similar outrage.

Profane said...

There is another interesting thread on this issue here:

http://hugoschwyzer.net/

joe said...

Todd, someone's ethnicity is part of who they are. When this happened, everyone wanted to know the identity of the killer; who was he, where was he from, was he a student or not, etc. It's America, we are all from somewhere else. Leaving out ethnic derivation is just as bad as focusing on it to the exclusion of everything else.
And I must agree that after 9-11-01, there were a few incidents against Arabs/Muslims or those perceived to be such, but relative to the magnitude of the attack, they were mild, few and far between.

Jennifer said...

Internet Ronin - Growing up in Hawaii, we always used the term Oriental. I hadn't really even heard the term Asian used to describe people, much less myself, until I moved to the mainland in high school. And I was taken completely off-guard to go on to college and experience a huge uproar and protest by students when the Dean used the term Oriental.

Gary Carson said...

There were a few arab-americans who were attacked shortly after the OKC bombing.

It's not an insignificant risk.

Internet Ronin said...

That doesn't surprise me, Jennifer. (I didn't mean for my comment to Bruce to come off as a criticism - more of an observation of what terms are used around here.)

Jennifer said...

I hear you, IR. It's interesting how that happens. I found "Asian" a little distasteful at first. It just sounds ugly. And yet, many more people are completely offended by "Oriental". Fascinating.

Gary Carson said...

An addition to my comment just above.

This kind of stuff isn't new in America. Here's a personal story from 1951 told to me by my parents and grandparents

Daryl said...

Two incidents in 56 years apparently means you should start wagging your finger and scolding us for being racist Americans

After any shooting people want to know who did it and why; that necessarily involves finding out information about them including their identity

If the shooter was a white ultra-conservative evangelical the people who whine about the use of the word Asian wouldn't have anything to say

Beth said...

I think it's remarkably self-centered of white people to turn Asians' worries into some sort of indictment of white Americans. What a "it ain't about you" moment.

This weekend is, I believe, the Asian Lunar New Year, and there are a number of festivals going on. I just noticed this morning that the Asian Students group has a table in front of the library with their info and some display items. They've included a memorial to the slain students.

ShadowFox said...

Joe, IR: I find your interpretation uncompelling. The issue is not whether there were "widespread" attacks on Arabs/Muslims, but whether there were attacks precipitated purely by the victim's perceived ethnicity or religion. Even one would be too many, but that's a radical notion, I suppose.

But it would be a mistake to look at a bunch of isolated cases, see that they had no connection to each other--other than being a self-righteous response to a disaster--and proclaim that there was no widespread backlash.

I also don't understand the qualifier "relative to the magnitude of the attack"--is this some sort of an "eye for an eye" argument? Do you mean to say that you would have expected more innocent people attacked based on their perceived religion and for no other reason? You are on thin ice if that's the yard stick you are going to use.

I simply cannot comprehend this state of mind. The number of attack within months of 9/11 that were attributable to anti-Muslim sentiment was in low hundreds. This is not "widespread"?

IR: You have an even weirder specific argument. You wrote, "You produce isolated instances," but you summed up, "There weren't any" Any? Even Ann admits that there were some, even though she underestimates them by at least an order of magnitude.

IR: You're right that Schlussel is a nut job. Yet, she sends out thousands of press contacts weekly in the hopes of getting a spot on a national TV or radio show. Sometimes she succeeds, unfortunately.

But do you consider Malkin a "fringe kook"? Her opinions are usually kooky, but she certainly passes for mainstream conservative talking head.

As for my own kookiness, I wonder how far one has to deviate from the Republican talking points before you start calling them "fringe kooks". If that's how you define your criterion, I'd be honored to be a "fringe kook". Thank you!

The problem with Schlussel is not that she's mainstream, but that there is a bunch of idiots out there--quite numerous bunch, in fact--who silently nod in agreement at her drivel. A therapist should analyze her blog for clinical symptoms of paranoia--I bet they'd be easy to find. But, at least, she did not grab a couple of guns, go out and shoot 60 people (as far as we know).

Ignacio said...

The classic "profile" of serial killers is always "white male." See Jodie Foster in "Silence of the Lambs," (which is quite dumb), or see any episode of "CSI" or any other TV show.

Actually, there have been a number of black serial killers, some Hispanic, at least two Vietnamese-American, but these have not been very well publicized.

But Cho is not classified as a serial killer, but as a "spree" killer.

John Muhammad, the DC Sniper, was black, and a Muslim, but he was ignored by police many times -- even stopped and then let go -- because they were fixated on their profile which said the killer must be a white male.

Beth said...

As I've come to expect, reader_iam has something meaningful to contribute (9:45 am post). Thanks for cutting through the hype to the nuance.

hdhouse said...

just wait until Rev. Al shows up to counsel.

Beth said...

I recall only a few isolated instances of violence and other things, some of which, IIRC, turned out to be typical opportunistic hooliganism.

That's true so far as I recall. But in the case of these students and their parents, that would be enough for them to worry about being among the very few who might be targeted by a hooligan.

Last week, a friend told me of going to see a client in the French Quarter and seeing two young white guys, tattooed with Aryan symbols, following a Sikh, male, down the street yelling "Go home, you *&(( Arab!" and threatening him for about two blocks, before enough people noticed. The hooligans ran off. If it had been later in the evening and the street more empty, who knows what would have happened?

Beth said...

Several have pointed out that law enforcement generally looks for a white male when they're looking for a serial killer. That profile was a disaster here in Louisiana several years back, as evidence leading cops toward Derrick Todd Lee, a black man who'd been reported stalking in the same areas where some of the serial killing victims lived, was ignored for more than a year. He kept killing in the meantime.

Internet Ronin said...

Shadow Fox: Nice job of selective editing of my remarks. I'll let mine stand. Your definitions of "isolated" and "widespread" are certainly different than mine, considering we live in a country containing 300,000,000 people.

(Oh, BTW, I also question your numbers, the definition of what constitutes an "attack," and whether or not so-called "attacks" that would have occurred whether or not 9/11 happened are included in those numbers. There is a decided tendency to ascribe all crimes as sourcing back to 9/11 when they weren't. For example, in my area, a local grocer was shot in a robbery: was it because he was Arab or because he was the grocer?)

Not that it matters, but, as I've written repeatedly here, I have a very low opinion of Michelle Malkin. I have no idea what she really believes, but I do think she will write, say, or do just about anything in her relentless quest for fame and fortune.

Wade Garrett said...

Well, Asia is a continent, so calling people "Asian" isn't offensive. In college, I always made the point that the word "orient" is derived from the Latin word for "east," in the same way that "occident" is derived from the Latin word for "west," and that therefore it was not meant as an offensive term. At that point I was reminded that, for years and years, it had all sorts of negative connotations (strange and exotic, "the other," etc) that therefore people prefer to be referred to as Asian.

Having said that, most Asian-Americans I've met vastly prefer to be thought of as "Koreans," "Japanese," etc as opposed to simply "Asians."

Ann Althouse said...

Beth: "I also don't understand the qualifier "relative to the magnitude of the attack"--is this some sort of an "eye for an eye" argument? Do you mean to say that you would have expected more innocent people attacked based on their perceived religion and for no other reason? You are on thin ice if that's the yard stick you are going to use."

That's not my quote but it reinforces my statement. The point isn't that retribution is justified, but that there was an immensely inflammatory incident for people to react to. There were a few isolated acts of violence, but on the whole, in relation to the event, people behaved with extraordinary good sense and did not fall prey to bigotry. We should be very proud of how we responded. People who point to the few things that did happen as proof that Americans are given to bigotry have it exactly backwards.

Beth said...

Ann, that's not my comment you're quoting.

Revenant said...

Cho doesn't know what she's talking about.

Every time there's a mass shooting, we are once again subjected to the poorly-sourced factoid that spree killers are almost always white men. If the current shooter isn't white or male, we get a spiel about how unusual it is that he isn't white and male. When he IS white and male, we get speculation about why while males are supposedly so much more likely to commit mass murder. Yadda yadda McYadda.

But in any case, the reason for mentioning that this guy is Korean isn't because he's racially Korean, but because he is a Korean citizen. rather than an American one. That's unusual among American spree killings.

Beth said...

Okay, sorry, I see you were using to direct another statement to me. I'm not sure what in my comments you're responding to, and I don't think we substantially disagree. I understand these particular students being nervous, but I don't fear that we'll see widespread backlash. But there might be a few bad incidents, and just the fear of that is enough to make the students apprehensive.

What I don't understand is taking those fears and viewing them as attack on white people and our integrity. The students on that campus have experienced a trauma; if one result is that the Asian students feel a bit paranoid, that's not surprising. It will pass, and any wounded white American ego will survive, and be bolstered by what you and I both think is true, that those fears won't come to fruition.

Here's an angle I hadn't expected: a student group I referred to earlier has a memorial for the victims. The student group is Vietnamese. One of the messages on the memorial, signed by a Vietnamese-American student, says "For the victims of Korean violence." What does that mean?

joe said...

Ann, thank you for backing me up re Shadowfox's criticism; I don't know what his point is except maybe that if even one American unjustly retaliated after 9/11, that gives him the right to label all Americans as bigots.
SF goes on:
"But it would be a mistake to look at a bunch of isolated cases, see that they had no connection to each other--other than being a self-righteous response to a disaster--and proclaim that there was no widespread backlash."
Isn't this just what critics of the war on terror do? Say that the 9/11, London, Bali, Madrid bombings, etc., are not related? As opposed to those of us who see the entirety of Western civilization under attack?

Internet Ronin said...

As far as that's concerned, I'm with you, Beth: anyone who wants to go home, should. For whatever reason, real or imagined (or feared).

It appears that the Vietnamese students are intentionally differentiating themselves (perhaps out of fear of repercussions). If I was there, I would walk up and ask them. I doubt anyone there would mind. AFAIK, there aren't any Korean-Vietnamese tensions of note, such as there are Korean-Japanese tensions today and historically. BWDIK?

Kat said...

I can't remember which station it was, but this morning one of the major network news reports (and not Fox) showed a full screen picture of the VT shooter with a graphic of the South Korean flag waving behind it.

And I saw same picture last night on Nightline, sans the flag.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The number of attack within months of 9/11 that were attributable to anti-Muslim sentiment was in low hundreds. This is not "widespread"?

In a nation of 300 million people? Not in my opinion. Is one, one too many? Sure if you want to go by the zero tolerance rule. But what you are referring to is hardly an indictment of the vindictiveness of Americans post 9/11 but rather the random acts of some individuals as opposed to a major groundswell of vengeance by the populace.

ShadowFox said...

I don't know what his point is except maybe that if even one American unjustly retaliated after 9/11, that gives him the right to label all Americans as bigots.

Nice try, Joe! Where did I refer to "all Americans as bigots"?

I did say, however, that even one attack based on that premise was one too many. It's a result of a combination of bigotry, adverse propaganda and mass hysteria.

Revenant said...

the number of attack within months of 9/11 that were attributable to anti-Muslim sentiment was in low hundreds. This is not "widespread"?

According to the CIA World Factbook there are 2.98 million Muslims in the United States, which would mean that approximately 0.01% of American Muslims faced a religion-based attack. When 99.99% of an ethnic group doesn't get attacked, saying "attacks against that ethnic group were widespread" is obviously a hysterical exaggeration. Indeed, on a per-capita basis there were more attacks on American Jews during the post-9/11 period than there were on American Muslims.

On a related note, if you want to blame 9/11 backlash for attacks on Muslims, what matters isn't the number of post-9/11 attacks, but the INCREASE in attacks, post-9/11.

joe said...

Sorry if I mischaracterized, SF, but I was just trying to figure out the point of your argument. Sure, even one unjustified attack is too much, but so what? It was not a widespread phenomenon and I don't even buy that there were "hundreds" of such attacks.

Beth said...

IR, I should have stopped to chat with them about it. It was just that one message; everything else was perfectly average, condolences, prayers and so forth.

No, I don't believe we're a nation of bigots poised to pound somebody. But I still understand any Asian person's fear that maybe, just maybe, he or she could be among the few is unlucky enough to meet up with, perhaps, those punks in the French Quarter.

Theron said...

For Cho and those like her it will always be about identity politics, and about making sure they can portray themselves as victims of whites so they can feel superior to whites.

historyman said...

I found "Asian" a little distasteful at first. It just sounds ugly. And yet, many more people are completely offended by "Oriental". Fascinating.

I think it's because there used to be many cultural associations to the word "oriental", esp. before WWII: e.g., mysterious, intriguing, feminine, soft, incomprehensible (speech, sometimes manners), etc. Think Madame Butterfly on the one hand and the upstairs Japanese neighbor in "Breakfast at Tiffany" on the other.

historyman said...

In the wake of this outrageous, despicable atrocity, I do note that, from my observations, the online reaction to the shooter's "Korean-ness" has been, IMHO, relatively muted. This could be because there really is a generally positive stereotype of Koreans out there. So maybe there won't be any notable backlash.

Though not knowing of online reaction, I am not surprised if your observation is true. From comments I've read at NYT and one other site, shock at the magnitude of killing (rather than at the killer) seems to be the main register in this case.

Independent George said...

Ok, I am Asian, and have a Korean-sounding name (though I'm actually Chinese), and my reaction to this is... huh?

It honestly never occurred to me that there might be a backlash against Asians until I read this post, and now I'm afraid there will be a backlash against Asians because we won't shut up about a backlash. I'm actually more offended by Margaret Cho's comments than anything I've seen, heard, or read anywhere else. Sweet merciful crap, this is asinine.

Kirby Olson said...

It must be very rare for English majors to do this kind of thing. Is it not the first of a kind? I would think that English majors are the least likely to know how to handle a gun. I myself have never held a gun. Have no desire to ever hold a gun. The very sight of them on TV makes me want to throw up. the whole idea of being an English major means that you think PERSUASION and COMMUNICATION are more important than slaughtering people to make your point.

The pen is mightier than the sword and all that.

But Cho wasn't a very good writer and was getting tossed from a lot of his classes. The poet Nikki Giovanni tossed him from her poetry class.

How many English majors have ever done anything like this? Can anyone think of any other killers who were English majors? I believe that we are a pretty benign lot in spite of all the fuss we make about commas and narrative flow.

One thing we can be fairly certain about: Cho as a playwright was not the second coming of Shakespeare.

Kirby Olson said...

I'm ashamed for my discipline and hope that there is no retaliation against English majors.

Maxine Weiss said...

"Because, if you keep spouting this nonsense, someone might call you a bigot."---ShadowFox

Let's look at what I said. I said this:

"Whites aren't overrepresented on College campuses everywhere."---Maxine

Well, they're not. But we all know which Non-Caucasian ethnic group is. I don't know why that statement is considered bigoted

Was it this statement I made earlier?:

"Potential for academic success should be predicated on grades, not how much trauma you've had in childhood."--Maxine

Nothing bigoted about that. That's what we all want, right?

ShadowFox--- do you even know what bigotry is? Let me help you out:

If, for example, I'd said that the shooter was nothing but a dirty slanty-eyed Gook....now that may indicate slight bigotry. But, you see, that isn't what I said. I never called the shooter a filthy Gook, nor did I call Margaret Cho a skanky slanty-eyed diesel-dyke Gook---either.

Never said that, and you simply didn't hear it from me.

ShadowFox, do you really think I'm the type of person to just start in calling people such epithets as..... Gook, Chink, Jap, Wop, Kike, Mick, Spik, Fag, Monkey, Wetback, etc....

Shame on you, ShadowFox, you know I'd never use such terms as those, therefore I can't possibly be a bigot.

Love, Maxine

peter hoh said...

As for the fears of 9-11 backlash, Dennis the Peasant had an interesting post in which he describes a group of Muslim elders asking him if they should expect to be rounded up and/or deported in the wake of 9-11.

ShadowFox said...

Revenant wrote:
According to the CIA World Factbook there are 2.98 million Muslims in the United States, which would mean that approximately 0.01% of American Muslims faced a religion-based attack.

You can't just read statistics, you need to interpret it. I'll give you a hint--what is the largest ethnic group that self-identifies as Muslim in the US? Here's another hint--they are not under threat of anti-Muslim violence.

On the other hand, the group that found itself the most vulnerable after 9/11 is the Sikhs because they are the only group that routinely wears turbans in the US. Contrary to the beliefs of Middle America, Sikhs are not Muslims.

Many, if not most, Lebanese Arabs in the US are also not Muslims. Other people that have been misidentifies as Muslims or Arabs are Armenians of all origins (former Soviet Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey) and Assyrians (largely Iraqi Christians--neither Arab nor Muslim).

Beth makes a good point which I am going to adopt and modify here. To understand the threat, you have to take on this issue not from the point of view of the Majority. Put yourself in a position of a Muslim or someone who could be misidentified and singled out as Muslim. For them, the risk appears much more substantial even if the numbers don't bear the fear out. Every incident hits home. With each incident, each such person feels vulnerable.

The importance of 9/11 is that it made virtually all American feel vulnerable--even though 3000 people, mostly New Yorkers is a very small number, statistically. If one claims that a couple of hundred Muslims out of 2-3 million (the totals are disputed) is an insignificant number, would not the same argument apply to the number of WTC victims compared to the population of Metropolitan NYC (over 20 million)?

I am not making such comparison to minimize 9/11. Quite the opposite--I am pointing out a glaring flaw in your statistical arguments. We feel the impact of 9/11 because the number of victims was disproportionately large from a single disaster. We are immune to dozens of people dying from gun violence, as it happens in every large city in the US--largely because the daily numbers are small and the impact is not felt all at once.

But when one lunatics kills 32 people in a spree, it hits home. For the same reason, people are concerned about plane crashes, even though air-travel is safer than driving a car, statistically.

We also tend to be immune when this happens somewhere else--consider the fact that nearly 200 people were killed by car bombs today in Iraq, most in Baghdad. How does 198 compare to 32? And they have higher casualty counts on a daily basis.

Revenant said...

If one claims that a couple of hundred Muslims out of 2-3 million (the totals are disputed) is an insignificant number, would not the same argument apply to the number of WTC victims compared to the population of Metropolitan NYC (over 20 million)?

There are many things wrong with your argument, but I'll try taking them one at a time.

First of all, you are equating the Americans who were killed, in a single day, by the same group of terrorists, to the Muslims who were attacked over a period of *months* by various random assholes acting alone. The actual body count for anti-Muslim sentiment in the year following 9/11 was three. If late 2001 had brought a wave of attacks by scattered Muslims in which 3000 Americans were beaten up over the course of a year there would be a lot of hemming and hawing and demands for law and order, but it would not have inspired the kind of emotional reaction that 9/11 did. The average daily murder rate for the United States is approximately 45 people per day, spread out over the entire country. When you factor out the criminal-on-criminal murder it is more like 20. So it is obvious why the mass murder of thousands of completely innocent people made a huge impression.

Secondly, you've moved the goalposts. Your initial claim was that attacks against Muslims were "widespread". Now that that has been proven false you have retreated to the argument that the number of Muslims attacked isn't "insignificant", which so far as I can tell isn't a claim anyone's actually made.

Thirdly, I would roughly estimate that around 1% of the white people I've personally been close friends or associates with over the years were at one time or another physically attacked, by black people, just for being white (mostly back in high school). This has not inspired me to live in fear of The Black War On White People or any other such silliness. I correctly recognized that I was in no real danger.

Fourthly, if you want to argue that people were attacked for "looking Muslim" rather than for BEING Muslim then talk about race-based attacks, not religion-based attacks. Don't complain about allegedly "widespread" attacks on "Muslims" and then dodge the fact that they didn't happen by talking about what happened to the unlucky Sikhs.

Finally, you completely ignored my earlier point that it is the *increase* in attacks on Muslims which matters when looking at the 9/11 backlash, not the overall number of attacks. The fact that the spike in attacks was (a) temporary and (b) didn't even rise to the level that groups like gays and Jews face on a yearly basis is sufficient to demonstrate that the hype about "anti-Muslim backlash" is a load of hooey.

Balfegor said...

Meanwhile, I'm not seeing a lot of attention paid to the murderer's Koreanness.

In the US. Last night, I was browsing Korean sites (on completely unrelated errands -- I was not looking for this), and saw sidebars and message board posts and all that with Cho Seung-Hui's face, saying things like "Look at the face of Cho Seung-Hui!" Koreans are certainly paying attention to his race. And many of us are ashamed.

It's not only the Koreans, I expect. Certain segments of the Japanese population, well-represented on popular message boards, seem always to be looking for evidence of Korean misbehaviour. For example, the 1992 LA riots, when Koreans were targeted, turns up from time to time as evidence that Koreans cannot live with other peoples (yes, blaming the victims). This incident will almost certainly join the list. I haven't seen it yet, but I've actually consciously decided not to look, because I don't want to see the orgy of anti-Korean gloating I know I'm going to find if I actually look for it.

That said, I think it's appropriate to be ashamed here, that our community, as it were, put forth this murderer. I am also embarassed (if not ashamed) at the Koreans for whom it's all about them, all about how there's going to be a backlash against them etc. etc. That's just self-centred.

Downtown said...

Oh right - there's absolutely zero referrals to him being Asian.

Yeah right.

Meanwhile - here's Weblog Award Finalizst Debbie Schlussel going on an anti-immigrant rampage.

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2007/04/who_is_the_asia.html

But we'll pretend this doesn't exist.

PatCA said...

Thank you, Kirby and Independent G. for the truest and funniest statements about the "backlash" that all the multiculti's are dreaming of. Dopey Lisa Ling opened her shot on Oprah today with a statement about how scared all the Asians there are, and she is, about that backlash.
Well, sez Her O, has their been any yet?
No, sez Lisa, ruefully.
Oh.

A Dr. Susan Lipkins tho made a lot of sense (a rare find today) who said schools need to toughen up, follow the spirit not the letter of the law and protect students from people like Cho; need a warning siren; and need to teach students self-defense. Amen, sistah!


O/T all this talk about a text warning system is beyond ridiculous. A freaking siren would do the trick nicely.

Tom T. said...

Wade Garrett's suggestion that people in New York are less likely to commit race-based crimes overlooks obvious counter-examples, such as Bensonhurst, Howard Beach, Crown Heights, Red Apple, and Freddie's Fashion Mart, not to mention Tawana Brawley, the railroading of the Central Park "wilding" youths, Abner Louima, and Amadou Diallo. I think it's a mistake to suggest that people in NYC are any better or worse than people in other parts of the country when it comes to occasional incidents of race hatred.

Wade Garrett said...

Tom T - You are absolutely correct about those other incidents; i was referring to acts of violence specifically in retaliation for terrorist attacks. I don't know of any that happened in the five boroughs in the aftermath of 9/11, though I may have missed some. There were several in other parts of the country, though.

ShadowFox said...

I find myself in an odd position of having to quote myself in response to Revenant's complaint:

"The issue is not whether there were "widespread" attacks on Arabs/Muslims, but whether there were attacks precipitated purely by the victim's perceived ethnicity or religion. Even one would be too many, but that's a radical notion, I suppose."

There is a reason why I put "widespread" in quotation marks--it's because IR used the term first. So don't accuse me of "moving the goalposts"--my argument has been consistent on this point: "widespread" is too vaguely defined to worry about it as a meaningful distinction; "isolated" is not opposite of "widespread"; even a single episode would be too many.

Note the last bit--that meshes just fine with the idea that the backlash was "not insignificant".

Second, I am not comparing the severity of the crime between "killings" and "attacks". My point is that we should be careful how we use statistics to claim that something is "insignificant"--which is what you, joe and IR were doing. The number of violent bigoted attacks in the country is comparable to the number of violent deaths. Saying that these numbers are comparable does not mean that the acts are comparable. But with the averages overall being comparable numerically, it would be reasonable to compare subgroups numerically as well, which is what I did.

Your third argument is utterly meritless for what should be obvious reasons. If you don't see why, consider the weight of your "evidence".

Your fourth argument is another point of fiction. You again grasp for "widespread", which was not my term, and compound it with an argument about attacks on Muslims. My comments have been consistently about backlash being represented by attacks on "perceived Muslims"--that's the point! These attacks are based on someone's mistaken belief that they are paying back the Muslims for 9/11. Never mind that the belief is delusional to begin with.

Like I said, you have learn to interpret statistics instead of just reading them.

Your final point is likewise irrelevant, which is why I ignored it to begin with. It is undisputed that the number and nature of attacks because the attacked believed that their victims were Arab, Muslim or "Middle-Eastern" escalated in "months following 9/11". Similarly, there was another spike after the WTC bombing in '93. We are not talking about taunts here--the issue is violence.

Your complaint is that anti-Semitic and anti-gay violence might have gone up at a higher clip during the same period. So what? What does that prove? Are you suggesting that the increase in this specific kind of attacks was a result of random fluctuations? Whatever the reasons for changing numbers of attacks against specific groups, they need not have any relationships to each other. If you want an explanation for the disparity in the rates, I could give you one, but your query has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Ann Althouse said...

Beth, I apologize for the misattribution.

PatCA said...

Apparently backlash is common in Korea against the US, if this account is accurate. Maybe that's why we hear about "fear of backlash" here.

http://www.usinkorea.org/1st/TRAGEDY/index.html

Internet Ronin said...

Yes, Pat it is. The man's grandfather in Korea has mentioned "taking responsibility" for his grandson's actions. That is a euphemism for suicide to atone for the deaths caused and help erase the shame brought upon the family. That is not common these days, but I am sure the family there are watching him closely lest he actually do it.

betaband said...

your post today surprised me in its lack of awareness about stigma around race issues. i hope, as a law professor, you make it a point to understand the complexity of the issue a little better, rather than assume you know are an authority on what it's like to be perceived as a racial minority. just fyi - there is currently a climate of fear going on in which muslims/arabs are being lumped together and discrminated against. check out your colleagues's work on this issue: http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/home.asp

Annie said...

There is only one group of which this kid is representative, and that is crazy people. That is, the subset of mentally ill loners who act out their violent fantasies. I have the impression that almost everybody recognizes this. If being from an immigrant family was one of the stressors that isolated this kid and made him feel alienated, other stressors had the same effect on Dylan Klebold, Kip Kinkel, Charles Whitman, etc., all of whom happen to have been white. The personality type and the pathology cut across all ethnic groups.

Annie said...

The real question is: are crazy people overrepresented in English departments? English and psych!

Joon Bae said...

As a korean I don't feel the press has emphasized on his korean-ness or asian-ness. All analysis has been quite fair from my viewpoint. If people are concerned about the mentioning of him being "korean" just read the article about the recent shooting at NASA. That guy is mentioned as being "slim and white". Rascism is overblown. On the flip-side I do see the concern of korean-americans. Unfortunately in the history of the US there has been racial backlash to violent events carried out on minority groups (religious, racial, economical), however few and far between. A fairly recent event of memory for korean americans may be of the LA riots. It is still ripe in the minds of some.

Treefrog said...

As a Korean-American, I understand why the communty is afraid of retaliation, even though I doubt we will see violence.

The Los Angeles Riots of '92 are often attributed to Rodney King's beating, but the reason why the looting and torching primarily focused on KA-owned businesses is that a KA store-owner had shot to death an African-American teen, Latasha Harlins, over a bottle of orange juice.

Some KAs figure that the national attention on a Korean responsible for kiling 32 will cause an even greater backlash than the Riots.

What I think is more likely to happen than violence against KAs is that Americans will remember the killer was Korean and *subconsciously* discriminate against KAs on admissions committees, in job hiring, renting, etc.

Already according to stories I've heard on the radio, at least a few KA children have been spat on & teased about having the potential to follow in Seung Cho's footsteps. I can only imagine how that must feel, as my own childhood was peppered with jokes and comments about Koreans eating dog meat, beating their wives, being alcoholics, North Korea, and the "crazy" armed Korean men on the rooftops guarding their businesses during the LA Riots.

I hope that the Virginia Tech massacre underscores the importance of treating mental illness and I also hope that it prompts immigrants to seek professional help for autistic, poorly socialized children like Cho. I also hope parents and schools take greater measures to protect children from being bullied and ridiculed basically his whole life, as my own personal theory is that lifelong bullying either created his mental illness or escalated a pre-existing mental disorder.