In the aftermath of last week’s Virginia Tech massacre, the national Korean-American community has reportedly suffered a backlash similar to that unleashed against Muslims in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, but Asian Americans on campus largely agree that they are being treated with respect and sympathy and credited the media’s portrayal of the attack as objective and fair.
A number of Facebook groups, such as “Cho Seung-Hui does NOT represent Asians,” are continuously amassing new members, while a YouTube post with the words “I belong in Korea” over Cho’s face is receiving hundreds of hits per day.
While the Virginia Tech shooter, Cho Seung-Hui, was South Korean, other ethnic groups have expressed empathy for Asians in the wake of last week’s attack. Ahmed Ashraf ‘07, vice president of the Muslim Student Awareness Network, said he had similar fears before the identity of the shooter was disclosed.
“I know that when I first heard about the Virginia Tech tragedy, I was very, very nervous about the gunman’s background,” Ashraf said in an email to the Daily. “If a Muslim student were involved in the massacre, it [would have] hit way too close to home.”
Media coverage of the shootings has drawn an ambiguous reaction from Asian students and faculty members at the University.
“This shows that race and ethnicity is still a key source of collective identity in the United States,” said Sociology Prof. Gi-Wook Shin. “Non-white ethnic groups and females can be self-conscious and extra careful precisely because they are still minorities in American politics of identity.”
Others said they were pleased with the focus on Cho’s mental state, rather than his ethnicity.
“The media has been pretty good at being neutral,” said Kenny Kim ‘08, co-president of the Korean Students Association. “As a member of the Asian-American community, I was inclined to think of the worst possible outcomes, but the discussion has now turned more to Cho’s mental health than to his ethnic background.” [Link]
Labels: virginia tech
DNSI direct link 0 comments Email post: