Virginia Tech: We’re all not like Cho and the Media Circus

25 04 2007

“Why does he have to be Asian?”

 All across America, in every Asian American community, that is the question running through everyones mind.

Why?

Why not? By asking this question are we not focusing more on the killer’s ethnicity than what should be more important, why this happened? All over the major news networks and throughout major media outlets both in the online and print industry there has been a ton load of information pertaining to the “vessel” of these senseless killings.  Yes,  he was a 100% mentally deranged individual yet, principally I’ve always believed no person is born to be conformed into anything. 32 innocent bystanders died by the hands of someone that gave up on himself and his reliance on this society-sounds simple enough.  Yet, it annoys the hell out of me when all these media outlets are reporting on things that don’t even have any revelance to the tragedy, “Oh, his sister went to Princeton”, “His parents immigrated from Korea and now own a  laundry mat”, or “He grew up in a local Korean community” . I mean, you can even check out two of the plays he wrote online if you really want to know how the inside of a killler’s mind works. Go CSI on everyone! That’s what the media wants, for you to come up with your own conclusions based on whatever information that could be dug up. This is just another example of the sensualization of tragedy and that is why, I believe, people in the U.S. are more numb to it nowadays. You rarely hear in a conversation, “Oh, did you hear about the band member who recieved such and such honor” or “The professor who was a role model to his/her students and was always the consummate professional”, of course they were profiled and their lives were celebrated as well, but not to the degree of coverage Cho Seung-Hui was and is still getting, not even close. Cho has in  a way become an infamous celebrity through death as far as I’m concerned which I think is a shame. 

In terms of how Asian Americans are going to be percieved as from now on, well it’s not as bad as it looks or sounds. Here’s one example:

My friend and I had to return our 7 month old microwave to Fred Meyers because it crapped out on us and we didn’t have a receipt or anything so we went to the local Fred Meyer to at least exchange it for a working one. So, we made a little fib that we just got the thing a few weeks ago but we recieved it as a gift so we didn’t have any receipt whatsoever. Anyway,  to make a long story short we were able to get a brand new one without any hassle. The thing is, when I told my mom about it she was like “Well, maybe the customer service rep thought you guys were going to shoot her if she didn’t let you return it, hahaha.”  First, please excuse my mom, she likes to joke (Hey I laughed too, i admit it). Second, at that level perhaps the VT shootings will effect how people see Asian Americans from now on but Asian Americans as a collective group? Nah. I remember reading about the fear of backlash towards the Asian American/Korean communities and I thought it was kinda ridiculous. We as a minority group in this country don’t even have enough historical baggage to spell out Waco compared to everyone else.  Cho Seung-Hui was obviously an exception but as an Asian American myself, I admit I felt a bit of an uneasiness that day and the day after the shootings when we were going around Kent/Auburn but then again that’s how we usually feel around there anyways.  It’s a black eye that will go away with time.