Virginia Tech and Ethnicity 17 April 2007Posted by Todd in News, Race & Ethnicity.
Update: A couple of smart commentaries have appeared about race/ethnicity and the shootings. Here are my two favorites.
First and foremost, my thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones to this tragedy. I don’t want to tread upon their grief.
Second, I’ve noticed an increasing trend in the news to refer to Cho, the assailant, as South Korean, and I’ve even seen a few news reports speculating on how Korean culture could have been behind this terrible event.
This begs some clarification. Cho came with his family to the United States when he was 8 years old. He was raised here, spoke English without an accent, and was a student at Virginia Tech. He wasn’t a foreign exchange student. He wasn’t an immigrant in most senses either. Research on young people who immigrate before age 10 is pretty clear: they are de facto second generation, and function in the society as Americans.
Cho was an upper-middle class, suburban AMERICAN, although his race may have played a role in his alienation, or whatever ennui it was that led to his becoming a brutal murderer. But for god’s sake people, he was a second generation American by culture, regardless of what his passport says. Get off the ethnicity angle and start asking the hard questions about why things like this happen in America.