"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Margaret Cho reluctantly responded to the Virginia Tech shooting on her blog, commenting on white privilege in our society:
Our Humanity
"Whenever anything really bad happens around Korean people, that is when I would like to hide, go to Hawaii and eat spam sushi until it blows over. I don’t want to comment on it because I don't want to escalate the situation and I don't want to implicate myself in it. I don't want to 'come out' as Asian because therein lies a tremendous responsibility that I never volunteered for, that I don't have any real control over, and that is as mysterious to me as it is to someone who isn't Asian.

So here is the whole terrible mess of the shootings at Virginia Tech. I look at the shooter's expressionless face on the news and he looks so familiar, like he could be in my family. Just another one of us. But how can he be us when what he has done is so terrible? Here is where I can really envy white people because when white people do something that is inexplicably awful, so brutally and horribly wrong, nobody says – “do you think it is because he is white?” There are no headlines calling him the “White shooter." There is no mention of race because there is no thought in anyone's mind that his race had anything to do with his crime.

So much attention is focused on the Asian-ness of the shooter, how the Korean community is reacting to it, South Korea's careful condolences and cautiously expressed fear that it will somehow impact the South Korean population at large.

What is lost here is the grief. What is lost is the great, looming sadness that we should all feel over this. We lose our humanity to racism, time and time again.

I extend my deepest sympathies to all those who lost their loved ones, their children, their friends and family, in this unimaginable tragedy. I send them all the love I have in me, and I encourage everyone to do the same."


DivineLavender said...

It is incredibly courageous to speak from a place of grief and unanswered questions. No one benefits from this regretful even his family. I hope they are given time to mourn their son, brother, cousin, and grandson. He was someone too and he killed himself. Any suicide is hard for all of us left in the living to deal with the death.

EGH said...

Thanks so much for linking to this statement from Cho. It's a point I hadn't seen anyone in the MSM make (unsurpsrisingly) but a critical one, nonetheless. And good of her to put herself out there like this. It's what makes those of us who adore her, adore her.