Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Resistance is futile...

Edited from a piece originally written in response to the article "Killer Reflection," on Salon.com.

While we continue to search for explanations for the inexplicable acts of Seung-Hui Cho, one thing should be kept in mind. This was the work of an individual who felt obviously felt no connection to any sort of community. From the evidence we have been presented with it seems clear that Cho was completely alienated from his classmates, friends, and family -- Asian, American, or whatever other imaginary construct we would like to assign to him. This being the case, I do not think it is particularly relevant that the accused is of Asian extraction.

I too felt fear that this incident would fuel the flames of the latent hatred and discrimination against Asians in America, however so far I believe the mainstream media has been relatively restrained in this case. Of course the right-wing blogosphere has given us its usual dose of venom, but this is no different than what you would usually find on such sites. What I do find equally abhorrent is the reaction amongst many in the Asian media (especially the Korean Language based media), which I think has been too quick to react to a backlash that has yet to manifest itself. I am not even sure that I know what the Asian community is, and it sure is news to me that we have ever been members of a united community of common values and ideas.

Many news outlets have reported that the Korean-American community feels partly responsible for the actions of Mr. Cho. Well my wife and I also members of the Korean community in New York and while we are certainly loathe to acknowledge that a fellow “Korean,” might be capable of such unspeakable violence, we certainly don’t feel any more responsible than any other member of American society. Even if the peculiarities of the “Korean-American” experience might have contributed to Mr. Cho’s psychosis, many other people including those who fit in the vanilla mold of “Typical Suburban White American Male” certainly have their own issues, and the vast majority has not committed acts of mass murder.

In other words, I feel as though we (whatever that means), in the Asian-American community are simply using Mr. Cho’s acts as an opportunity to air whatever misgivings about we might have about American society, and the minority experience. This has happened to such an extent that many have lost sight of the immediate tragedy.

This is not say that there are not valid issues that need to be addressed; but, perhaps what is most disturbing to so many of us, is that despite all of the indignities that we may have faced as the result of discrimination, we too are just like everyone else, we too are just regular Americans. Seung-hui Cho has done what so many of us have asked for so long. He has shattered the mythology of the model minority. We have been assimilated.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring Finally Comes to New York

After enduring an April that has been largely wet and unseasonably cold, it seemed as though spring would never come. Interestingly enough on 4/20, the weather finally began to turn around and by today (Earth Day) it seems as though the planet has finally awoke. It was almost as if the all inhabitants of the city, floral and faunal had suddenly burst forth from their dormancy. Crowds of people filled the streets, parks, bars, restaurants, and whatever other public place would accommodate them. Daffodils,plum, and cherry trees have begun to bless us with their blossoms. Such a time truly enlivens the spirit, and inspires us to live.