Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A sense of community and community broken

I can't work, times like this I am just seeking meaning, and having a community like APIAblogs is comforting. We're all trying to process this together. cynical has a copy of an insightful email by a Philadelphia woman.

And I just read Andrew Lam's thought piece, Let it be some other Asian, and he is spot on. Unfortunately, regardless of what specific ethnicity the shooter is, people who are small-minded will take out their anger on APIAs indiscriminately. I've been confused for a Korean, Mexican, Vietnamese and Filipino (and all this in non-hateful settings prior to this incident), and I have friends who are Korean who have been called gook or chink. To the world, we all look the same, so the Korean American students on VT's campus are correct to fear backlash, being doubly victimized - dealing with the fallout of nearly being shot at, and then fearing being tainted with the same psychopathic brush as the suppose shooter. They are leaving campus because they are fearful for their security, not from a shooter (who is already dead), but from some random individual on the street, or even their own classmates. For them, the sanctity and safe space of college will most likely remain shattered, in a double breach of trust. Will they ever truly again feel like part of the Virginia Tech community?

I ask this because when 9-11 happened, my Muslim friends at universities across the country told me of their fears of walking across campus at night, of being lumped in with the terrorists, of being physically harmed. Some of them never quite regained their sense of peace, whether they were undergrads, grad students or professors. It is the distrustful look in your neighbor's eye, one day after some national incident happens, when the day before hellos were cheerfully exchanged. It is in the cold hard stares of strangers, evaluating your threat level.

So I hope the media is careful in reporting to say that the victims were not just white.
And I wonder about that photographer that the police have pinned down in a photo, the one on the angryasianman site. I can't help but think: Was he pinned down because he was Asian?

Now onto notoriously messed up Kenneth Eng. angryasianman posted a video by Kenneth Eng (is this really him? It sorta looks like the guy who was on FOX) and he says that the massacre was "the funniest thing I've ever read in my life. The instant that I saw that it was 32 students murdered, I knew that it was an Asian guy, even without reading it. I tell you, I'm laughing at the death of your people. Let's see, 31 white or black people murdered, I'd say that's pretty much 5 times better than the Chai Vang murders."

Eng;s casual humor, the flippant chuckles. It totally creeps me out. The weird thing is, reading Cho's plays, I got the same sense of hostility towards humanity that I read in Eng's works in asianweek. Also, Eng fails to mention how several victims were Asian American. If we needed any confirmation about how deranged Eng is, look no further than this brief and chilling video caption: "we win."

Kenneth Eng, I don't know who you think won. This is not a race war. This is 33 people dead, and part of it could have been prevented if the university had acted quicker. This is reality, and in real life, a whole campus is shell-shocked, a nation grieving. People of all colors, including Asian Americans, are going to have to try to piece their lives together afterwards, to fix what has been so devastatingly broken.

As I understand it, your hatred of whites and blacks stems from getting beaten up. I am sorry that you were beat up and mistreated. But don't you see that by mocking the deaths of these 33 innocents, you are pouring gasoline all over the flames and just inciting more anti-Asian violence? That you are helping to perpetuate the cycle that you detest? These people were INNOCENT. You would also probably consider yourself innocent, back then.

I understand that you write to express yourself and your frustrations, your anger. As a fellow writer, I understand that need to voice your thoughts. But here is my sincere plea: please stop. Stay at home, take a breather, go on vacation. Spend time with your family. Do yoga, or find some constructive way to work out your issues. Don't add hate to hate.

As a fellow Asian American, I ask you to stop, because the Korean American students on campus
are already leaving for home, afraid of death threats and anti-Asian violence. The Korean consulate has also expressed fears of hate crimes. National Korean American groups have responded by setting up a fund for the victims, and want to prevent innocent Asian Americans from being harmed as part of the backlash. As a community, we really ARE being doubly victimized, and the answer is not to indiscriminately hate, or to turn that hate back on ourselves.

Because there is an APIA pride that doesn't have to be destructive or demeaning. One that celebrates our history of struggle and accomplishments without diminishing others'
. One that unites in peace and harmony, and that works to improve relations through respectful dialogue and understanding. Please find some outlet that doesn't ricochet back onto us.

Better yet, as your fellow human, I ask you to seek some therapy. Something to deal with the rage that flows out of you like a volcano. Because the simple truth is that murder is not funny. And your nonchalance about human lives lost scares me. Each life is valuable, each life worth living. No life is minute. I don't want to see you wind up like Seung-Hui Cho. I don't think any
one does, but the stuff on your youtube makes me worry.



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