Portrait of a Tragedy


I can’t help thinking to myself, why did the Virginia Tech shooter have to be Asian? As if the country, and the world was not prejudiced enough. When these kinds of tragedies occur, it is most often thought that a white male is at the end of the trigger. However, this incident produces a whole new stereotype and fear.


As a country, we are already wary of black men. They are the robbers, the rapists and the gangsters. Since September 11, we are wary of men from the Middle East – Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and any other person that looks to be questionable. These are the terrorists, the haters of America. We fear Hispanic and Latino men for being drug dealers. And up until now, we even feared white men. Those were the ones that went “postal” and on random shooting sprees, turned into serial killers and conspired to bomb buildings. These were the groups that we were comfortable pointing fingers at, and that we knew were an “at risk” group.


But now, there is an Asian male thrown in the mix. I’ve already seen some CL Rants & Raves about “crazy Asians” and guns. I’m sure there are blogs about it. I’ve heard multiple media sources speculate that he was from Shanghai, then Korea. He was here on a student visa perhaps. People have even gone so far as to question if he was from North Korea – as if being from a communist country (with a crazy leader) means you are more prone to violence.


In the end, what does it all mean?


It’s a terrible loss that occurred, and it’s horrifying to think that this young man killed 32 innocent people on a rampage. What’s even worse is the fact that since he took his own life, we may never receive a true insight into his reasoning. Reports may speculate on a motive, but there may never be a clear answer.


I can only hope that people will be smart enough not to look at Asians as just another group to fear. That any minute a young Asian male, under enough pressure, may pop. The sad reality is that it can happen to anyone. And, this could have happened anywhere. The human mind is a funny thing, and everyone has a breaking point.


For now, I think it’s important to remember that we are all human. There were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, neighbors, cousins, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, colleagues and classmates lost yesterday. It’s going to take a long time for the Blacksburg community to heal. But I know that the town and its people will pull together and get through this. Southwest VA is a tight area, and not equipped or prepared for something of this magnitude. Not that anyone should be.




Update: I think that this is a very powerful article. 




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13 Responses to “Portrait of a Tragedy”

  1. michelle Says:

    “I can’t help thinking to myself, why did the Virginia Tech shooter have to be Asian?”

    I thought the same exact thing. It’s scary to think that someone out there might think my 2 younger brothers may be threats.

  2. LJ Says:

    I guess the diversity involved in all of these types of occurances is truly leading to a feeling that threats like these really don’t have a “face”. Just reinforces that terror is blind to race/ethnicity/etc.

    I do have to say, it’s truly a sad thing to say that there are so many different tragedies such as these to ultimately lead us to that point anyhow.

  3. TheGreenMiles Says:

    This post reminded me of Chris Rock’s like that when he sees a report on the news about a heinous crime he thinks, “Please don’t let it be a black guy.”

    I remember when all the former FBI “profilers” were saying the DC snipers were probably white, because all American serial killers had been white — Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer, etc. But John Muhammad was America’s first black serial killer, that guy Angel Maturino Resendiz in Texas a few years back was our first Hispanic serial killer, and now this guy is America’s first Asian serial killer.

    I guess it’s a bizarre form of diversity — just like your skin color doesn’t make you incapable of great things, it also doesn’t make you incapable of monstrous things.

  4. GC Says:

    This article is a must read on precisely this issue:

    “Let it be some ‘other’ Asian”


  5. The Goo Says:

    I’m SO glad you said that out loud; I’ve been afraid to. It makes it ten times worse that he’s the son of a fairly typical Korean immigrant- hard working parents who work in a dry cleaners and are devout Christians. As sad as I am for the VA Tech community, I’m also sad for the Korean community and the shitstorm of hate they will have to endure now.

  6. Gil Says:

    Goo..I have absolutely NO hatred whatsoever of the Korean community. The actions of the shooter should not reflect on the entire Korean population.

  7. Bug Says:

    What difference does it make what race the shooter was? It demonstrates that there is no point in deciding that one race is worse than another. People are capable of horrendous things. Not just (fill in racial group here). People who decide that all Koreans are bad because this one Korean kid committed this heinous act can be categorized themselves as threats to society.

  8. Elle Says:

    I think reasonable, rational, regular people of all colors understand that there isn’t a link between race and action.

    Everyone stereotypes to some degree…it’s a form of distancing. When a white person commits a crime, for example, other white people may classify that person as a “redneck.” It’s all about distancing. You never want to identify with the person who did such a terrible thing. That distancing/othering can become dangerous.

    It’s the acts that we hate, not the race, not even the person–for what sane, loved person could behave in such a way? We have to remember it’s the acts themselves that we hate; it’s evil itself that is the enemy.

  9. Wyatt Says:

    “As if the country, and the world was not prejudiced enough.”

    I don’t think that the perpetrator being Asian American in this case fuels prejudice — these are not the kinds of crimes that Asians stereotypically commit, and one incidence does not create a stereotype. If anything, it only suggests that anybody could have committed the crime. If he had been white, or especially if he had been Muslim, then people would have used it to reinforce their existing prejudices. It wouldn’t have harmed whites, but it would have harmed Muslims, so if levels of prejudice are the concern maybe we should just all be glad that the guy’s name wasn’t Ali Khan. And that he wasn’t an illegal immigrant for that matter; Bill O’Reilly probably would have popped an aneurysm. Asian Americans, I think, were one of the best situated groups to handle the blow. I’m not denying that we may see hate crimes perpetrated against Asian Americans for this, but that’s only because there are people out there looking for an excuse to spew out hate against anybody. Unfortunately for me, a lot of those people are white.

  10. TheGreenMiles Says:

    For those of us who were hoping this incident would not lead to racial hatred, my answer for you is:


    And apparently North Korea = South Korea. Just an FYI.

  11. paully Says:

    The stereotypes against middle-easterners, black people, and latinos stems from being bombarded since we were little with images of them doing whatever they’re stereotyped to be doing. Maybe if Asians were running around all the time doing this stuff there’d be problems, but I think most people who aren’t already bigots would consider this incident more the exception than the rule. The only stereotype and fear fueled is of quiet, depressed loners who act like creepsters and write crazy shit. I don’t think the Asian community really has anything to worry about.

  12. bob Says:

    rK6MA0 hi nice site thx http://peace.com

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