Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cho's race as an issue in Virginia Tech massacre

MTV's SuChin Pak wrote an article a few months ago about her feelings on the Virginia Tech massacre. Here is an excerpt:

"I've been continually stunned to see how in very subtle ways people have been trying to create a false sense of truth by attributing Cho's "foreign-ness" as part of the answer. When we are continuously bombarded with media headlines or sound bites that use the words "Virginia Tech Massacre" and "Korean National," a subtle connection is made. The assumption is made that somehow Cho's place of birth, his immigrant status, has something to do with the massacre. It doesn't matter if the rest of an article goes on to talk about Cho's schizophrenia or troubled past or gun control or violent movies, the implication is there. Cho is a foreigner, let's get that straight from the beginning, let's make sure that's part of the conversation.

I've been struggling to understand how some have found comfort in identifying Cho Seung-Hui as a foreigner, as an immigrant and as someone who is certainly not American. It's just a seemingly slight change of language, dropping the word "American" from "Korean-American" and replacing it with "national." You also put his last name first, like they do in "other" countries. There you have it; suddenly, he's not one of us.

There has been a proliferation of groups on Facebook, blogs and online chatter about how Cho's foreign status should factor into the conversation about the deadliest shooting massacre in American history. I'm confused why anyone would want to discuss if Cho should be allowed to be buried in this country, or how someone would write that a "foreigner should never be allowed in this country to kill real Americans." "


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