Posts tagged ‘prejudices’

November 6, 2008

My thoughts on the 2008 election

I am proud to be an American. I am proud of this country. I think we made the right choice for President.

Election day Tuesday and the day after were days you could feel such excitement in the air. I went to the polls before work since I had school after work and thought that would be the only chance I had to do it. I couldn’t find a close parking spot. I waited in line for a while. It was crowded. And you know what, THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE! I was glad! It felt great to not be the only young person there. It felt awesome the vibe that I felt from others. You would think with so many people in a small area that problems would arise, but people were respectful. It was an exciting time. I remember when I first voted in the 2000 elections (that was the first election I could vote), I barely waited. There was hardly anyone there. The person there who was closest to me in age was about 35 years older than me. In 2004, it was definitely more crowded than the previous presidential election, but this year I think there were even more people there. And again, more young people were there. People younger than me were there.

One thing I keep hearing is that no matter who or how you were voting, people were respectful at the polling places. I’m really glad to hear that. I really wouldn’t know firsthand because my voting area is overwhelmingly Democrat. (And those who aren’t Democrat are Green, independent, Libertarian, etc. I think there are more of the independent and "third" party voters than Republicans in my area). For a couple mile radius around where I live, you see Obama signs everywhere. I have not seen one McCain sign. In front of the elementary school where I voted, there were nothing but Obama Biden signs and Vote No on Question 2 signs. (FYI, I voted yes on Question 2 and most of Maryland also voted yes, allowing slots in the state). I didn’t see as many people standing out front with literature or stickers as before. Then again, I think I went earlier than previous years. When I walked in, I only saw one man. We talked briefly and he handed me some literature. I realized he was Maryland Delegate Stephen W. Lafferty. He also gave me an Obama/Biden sticker. I did see two more ladies who were together standing in front as I was leaving but that’s it.

When I arrived to work, there was excitement in the air. Almost everyone had either voted or they went after work. "I voted" stickers were seen on a bunch of employees. I walked around smiling all day. i felt this connection to the people I work with, even those I barely know.

When I went to school, several students either arrived late or were absent. My teacher, who is otherwise not lenient, said he expected this and he ended class short so that those who didn’t vote yet would have a chance. I thought that was cool.

When I went home, I immediately went online and turned on the television. I had to know what was happening. Obama was ahead. Obama was way ahead. I had hope that Obama would win, but I was afraid of voter fraud and all that. And I thought we wouldn’t know for days. I thought that whoever won would only do so by a few electoral votes. But not only did Obama win, he won by a lot. The media knew he won before they called it. They announced it at 11:01 PM EST, which was 8:01 PST and the polls on the west coast were closed. They didn’t want to announce it while polls there were still open.

I was so excited! I couldn’t believe we already had an answer. I wanted to run around yelling in joy. In 2000, when the Ravens won the Superbowl, the people of Baltimore went outside and ran in the streets, partying and celebrating the victory. I wanted to do the same thing on Tuesday night for Obama.

Every few seconds, I would refresh my screen on the homepage of MySpace. The status messages were pouring in with people being so happy about Obama winning. There were only a very few who posted status updates that were upset that he won. Most were glad (in my friends list anyway). I loved seeing people’s enthusiasm. Even the people who were upset, it was good to see them even caring enough to post about it.

I even liked McCain’s concession speech. You know, I think McCain would have been a better President than Bush if McCain had won the nomination and then the presidency back in 2000. I’m not saying I know for sure whether or not he would have been a great president, but I think he would have been better than Bush.

Wednesday morning at work, you could feel how the company was in a great mood. Most people did not reveal who they were voting for. A lot of people would talk about voting but not say anything about what their views were. They wanted to stay professional. Well, that pretty much went out the window when everyone was like "I’m so glad Obama won!" 

So I’m happy about who won the Presidency. I’m happy about how some of the local Maryland issues turned out. I am bummed about how several states voted to disallow gay marriages. I thought Prop 8 in California would have been voted No (no means you’re not in support of banning it), but most people voted Yes. It makes some feel that if California couldn’t get the proposition defeated, what state really has a chance in the future? But I have hope that someday gays will be able to get married or at least civil unions with the same rights throughout the United States and that we will look back at the time when it wasn’t legal as one of our crazy, close-minded mistakes.

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May 28, 2008

Chicken Teriyaki

Have you ever seen that episode of Chappelle’s Show where he wants to order fried chicken on a flight, but he choses the fish instead? He does this because he doesn’t want to be a stereotype.

This is how I sometimes feel at Subway, ordering the chicken teriyaki sub. Haha. Except I just order it.

Yes, teriyaki is Japanese and I’m Korean-American. But most people don’t know that nor do they think about that.

April 27, 2008

“Average Asian”

Haha, someone else who knows how I feel sometimes.

August 22, 2007

An Asian-American perspective of Affirmative Action

From “Model Minority”:

Asian American status in affirmative action

Because of their high degree of success as a group, Asian Americans do not benefit from affirmative action policies the way other minority groups do. In fact, most schools routinely choose lower-scoring applicants from other racial groups, including European Americans, over Asian Americans, in an attempt to promote racial diversity and to maintain some proportion to the society’s racial demographics. [11]
A 2005 Princeton study showed Asians (not whites) bear nearly 80% of the cost of affirmative action in college admissions. Nearly four out of every five spots given to any other race in an affirmative-action regime would go to Asians in a purely merit-based system. 1


From “Affirmative Action Bake Sale”:

Asians not counted as minorities

Asians are generally not included in the minority-discount category in bake-sales because they do not benefit from affirmative action policies. For example, some schools have had restrictions on the proportion of Asian students admitted, in favor of lower scoring students of other racial groups.1 African-American Dr. Walter E. Williams, a libertarian professor of economics at George Mason University further elaborates that:

“A minority group is not (counted as) a minority if, as a group, it is successful. Asian median family income is $55,525, the highest of any racial group in America. More than 44 percent of Asians age 25 and over have bachelor’s degrees; the rate for all other Americans was 26 percent. Other indicators of group success include low crime rate and high family stability.” [1]

From “Affirmative Action in the United States”:

Libertarian view

Some free market libertarians argue that employment discrimination is only made possible by pervasive market failures. Under a regime of highly competitive labor and goods markets, companies would not be able to afford to hire on any basis other than merit. According to Libertarians, this would render affirmative action unnecessary.
Regardless of the willingness to pay and profitability for private persons or groups to discriminate, other libertarian-oriented persons further argue that affirmative action and non-discrimination policies violate individual rights of freedom of association and the enforcement of such statues violate individual freedom of speech. They argue that such central authority to dictate moral and social improvement is a power that will be fought over on all sides and ultimately cause more harm than good. For example, private female-only gyms have been forced to hire male workers, American colleges have discriminated against Asian students (on the grounds that they are “overrepresented”), and in Washington DC, individuals have been forbidden to advertise that they wish to share an apartment with another Democrat, homosexual, or with someone of similar faith. They conclude that application of affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws to the conduct or property of an individual or a private group is a threat to civil liberties.[20]

Centrist view

Certain people have a different point of view about specifically first world affirmative action which, for lack of a better word, will be referred to as “centrist” here. They claim that affirmative action makes sense, but only to the point where it helps the disadvantaged members of minorities, as opposed to the middle and upper class. They believe that affirmative action, as it is now, is not fulfilling its original purpose (to bring minorities out of poverty) as the vast majority of minorities, in the first world at least, are already middle-class. There have been cases of middle-class minorities receiving better jobs or college acceptance rates than whites of equal or lower income or social standing. According to this point of view, affirmative action should be eliminated and joined with the normal welfare system that helps both whites and blacks that are lower-class. They believe that affirmative action should only be used to bring the lower class, not a specific racial group, out of poverty. This view is particularly associated with the liberal academic and author Walter Benn Michaels. [21]


Why am I posting this? Well, with going back to school next week and hearing a discussion about affirmative action on The Ed Norris Show right now, this is a side to the debate that I do not hear people talk about!
When I first moved from Dayton, OH to Baltimore, MD in the mid-nineties, my parents had to fill out some paperwork to transfer me to the school system here. They did it all and I had nothing to do with it. I remember when they were done, they had a talk with me. They said an issue came up that hadn’t been talked about when we lived in Ohio. They didn’t know what to put down for me under the Race Category. Should they put down Asian, Caucasian, or Other? (There was no choice to put down more than one or specifically what you are if you’re multi-racial). The school counselor strongly urged them to put down Asian because this would stay on my records for years and this would supposedly help me greatly as far as getting into college. The counselor also told them to tell me I should always put down Asian on my applications to colleges in the future, so that I would have an easier time being accepted. I was slightly surprised at this because I had rarely (if ever) even heard about affirmative action until that day. I would have put down Asian regardless of all this, but now I was told this was my only choice. I just said that was fine and that was the end of it. It was done.
Fast forward a few years to my senior year of high school. I was in a class and we were having a heated debate about affirmative action. I was the first non-Caucasian person to raise my hand. When the teacher called on me to discuss this, there were these comments from classmates that went: “Of course, you like affirmative action. You benefit from it.” This was before I started talking. Then I told them something that surprised them. I said that I thought being Asian-American actually hurt my chances of getting into college more than if I were any other race. I told them the reasons I felt this way (the reasons that are stated above) and almost everyone told me I was crazy. At the time, I didn’t have the facts and figures to back up my claim. I hadn’t even heard anyone else state they thought this was true and I had certainly never read an article on this. My teacher, on the other hand, agreed with me fully! And this teacher almost never said what his opinion was on any topics. He usually stayed neutral. But he let the class know he thought I was right in this matter. He said he had known this for years. He said he knew college professors who had told him this was true. He knew Asian-American students in the past who should have been accepted to colleges but were rejected, while students of other races (including Caucasians) were accepted to those same schools and programs during the same time even though they were much less qualified.
Of course, I am not trying to re-enforce the stereotype that all Asians study hard and get good grades. Yes, I was always a good student who was on the Honor Roll/Dean’s List and took higher-level classes (Honors, Gifted/Talented, Advanced Placement, etc). But I have been told for years that for an Asian,  I’m not that studious. (Of course, that is an annoying statement). I don’t excel at math! I don’t stay at home every weekend to study – I have a social life. And this describes a lot of other Asian-Americans, not just me.
But the fact of the matter is, as a whole, we get high scores. I have heard jokes from friends that they hardly see Asians in Baltimore, but when they go into their college library, they see the most they’ve seen in their lives. (Meaning there is a much higher percentage of Asians in college than there are Asians in the general population).
I’m not saying we’re a smarter race. I’m just pointing out facts here. I think a big part of it has not only to do with the fact that standards in schools are higher in many other countries outside of North America, but also that a select population comes to this country from Asia. Think about it. It’s a lot harder for someone from Asia to move to this country than it would be for someone who lives in a neighboring country. Driving here is a lot easier and cheaper than flying here. The languages are a lot different from English than Spanish vs. English or Italian vs. English.  This makes it a lot harder to learn the language. (I know not all Asians are immigrants. There are some who have been here for years and are second, third, etc. generation. But you get my point). So you’re not going to get as many Asians coming to this country as you would of people from counties which are closer. You’re going to get those who really want to come here and work hard to do so. You’re going to be more likely to get the “top” people of their communities because they are the ones who have a strong work ethic and a drive to succeed.
Here’s my point. Asian-Americans are discriminated just as much, if not more, as other “minorities” do right now. We have been treated unfairly in this nation’s past. Sure, most public schools do not teach this. They talk about how African-Americans or Jewish people have had it hard, but they usually skip all the stuff that happened to Asians (and other groups). But just because they don’t teach it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! If you don’t know, look it up. I’m not going to say that we had it as bad as slavery, but there were some major injustices. We were segregated. Most people I talk to aren’t even aware of the internment camps, which happened as recently as the 1940s! This wasn’t talked about in school. We celebrate Black History Month, but do any of you know when Asian Pacific American Heritage month is? Did you even know it existed at all? Because I didn’t until I was curious and looked it up on the internet about ten years ago. The ch word or the g word is spoken on television but the n word or the k word are almost always bleeped out. I could go on and on about discrimination of Asian-Americans (and I probably will in a future post), but the point is this: Affirmative Action was put into place to help “even out” the injustices of discrimination. But this hurts us and if you believe in affirmative action, I would think you would agree we have been discrimated against and therefore should benefit from this. Right? I am making sense here?
I believe if we are going to keep Affirmative Action, things need to change. Not only because of the Asian-American issues. But it seems like some of the wrong people are benefiting from affirmative action. I hear reports about how many privileged, African-American students from well-off families (who don’t  need as much assistance) will be able to use this to their advantage while poorer, under-privileged African-American students who are much more disadvantaged are turned away even though they are intelligent, hard-working, and well-achieving students. This has been said about other minority groups. So who are we really helping? We might be hurting people more than we are helping certain others.
We can have the debate whether or not affirmative action should exist at all. But that’s another discussion. If it is going to exist, it needs to adapt to the changes of society. Rules about other things change based on changes in the world and changes in time and affirmative action should also be adjusted accordingly. Just exactly how should we change things? That’s a complicated matter that doesn’t have a simple solution. All I do know for sure is that something does need to be improved.

July 21, 2007

Candlebox – Saturday, July 14. Winger fans getting a hard time.

A week ago, I saw Candlebox perform at the Recher Theatre in Towson, MD. To be honest, I wasn’t their biggest fan. I didn’t hate them, either. I was going because my boyfriend (Joey)’s birthday was that week. He loves them, so I bought us tickets. Well, I’m glad I went! I didn’t realize just how good the singer’s voice sounds. It’s better live than on CD. It’s really good – kind of soulful and bluesy. They weren’t just another grunge band. Their guitarist was impressive.

But something caught me off guard. The singer was acting flamboyant and effeminate. That’s definitely not a bad thing. It’s just funny because if you watch their videos from the nineties, it’s like a completely different person is their singer now: Not just the way he looks but the way he acts and moves. Yes, the rest of the band look a little different than back then. But that’s because styles have changed and they are older. But the singer was very different. He had on a black vest, tight black jeans (tight hip huggers that showed off his bulge), and these white cowboy-ish designer shoes that matched his belt. And the way he was moving and acting was completely different than how he did in the 90s. He was practically doing the jazz hands. Every time he moved his hands, they were really flimsy. Like, when he put his hand to his ears to be like “I can’t hear you” to the audience, he did it in this flimsy way. He reminded me of the lead singer of the Scissor Sisters. I like his stage presence, though! I think I like it better than how he used to act. They were awesome. Just not what I expected.
They did an encore and did “Breathe” by Pink Floyd. The lead singer didn’t sing it though. It was the lead guitarist who sung it. The singer came back on stage after “Breathe” was over. (I think the singer had to go to the bathroom or something. That’s just my theory).

Compare these two videos to get an idea of what I’m talking about. The second video isn’t that great and doesn’t really show just how flamboyant he was. But you get an idea:

Candlebox Performing “Arrow” at WOODSTOCK ’94

Candlebox “YOU”. Raleigh, August 5, 2006.

Joey and I.   Joyce and I.
Joey and I.                              Joyce and I.

Before Candlebox started, this meat-head asshole came up to Joey and was giving him a hard time because Joey was wearing a Winger shirt. So I told him off and we walked away. We were on our way to walk up front when this happened. Later on in the show, the asshole somehow comes all the way up to the front of the stage where we are. (The club was really packed from front to back, so this is harder to do than you might think. Plus, I don’t know how he would have even spotted us). Anyway, he started putting his arm around Joey and then tried to be friends with him. It was really weird. I noticed after he came up front that the back of his shirt said “Back door is best”. What?!

Poor Winger fans. They’ve been getting a hard time for years. Remember this from Beavis and Butt-head?

Stewart from Beavis and Butthead

Read this funny explanation from Wikipedia about the whole Winger thing:

Stewart is usually depicted wearing a Winger t-shirt (as opposed to the heavier Metallica and AC/DC shirts that Beavis and Butthead wore) which helps characterize him as out of touch, as Winger was/is not thought highly of in the Heavy Metal subculture. As a result, Winger became a subject of ridicule in the mid 1990s. According to the documentary “Taint of Greatness: Part 2” on the Mike Judge Collection Volume 2 DVD, this was due to Winger telling MTV he would not let the show make fun of him. This has been cited as a reason for the band losing popularity. About the same time Lars Ulrich of Metallica could be seen throwing dart on a poster of Kip Winger in the video for Nothing Else Matters. When asked about this Kip Winger once stated: “Our band was known to musicians, and a lot of musicians showed up to see me play – watching trying to figure out how I’m playing – we were like the ‘hair band’ Dream Theater — That is why it’s the great irony that we ended up on that geeky guy’s shirt on Beavis & Butthead, because Metallica couldn’t play what we play, they couldn’t do it, they literally – technically couldn’t do it. And I’ll fucking challenge those chumps to that any day of the week that they couldn’t go back and play our shit, but we could play theirs with our hands tied behind our back. And so, I was a little t’d off about that, but in the end, none of that shit matters…”

When I worked at Bibelot in the music section (1999-2001), I found a solo CD by Kip Winger. It was in the New Age section.

July 18, 2007

L.A.M.E. – Gwen Stefani sues.

Taken from: http://omg.yahoo.com/gwen-stefani-sues-forever-21-over-fashion-logo/news/1052

(CLICK HERE to view the lawsuit against Forever 21)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 17, 2007) — It appears Gwen Stefani doesn’t “Heart” Forever 21.

Gwen’s Harajuku Lovers fashion line is suing popular retail outlet Forever 21 for trademark infringement, claiming the clothing chain allegedly stole designs from the Harajuku Lovers line, Access Hollywood has learned.

In papers filed in Los Angeles Federal Court, reps for Gwen’s Harajuku Lovers claim Forever 21 is marketing, promoting and selling products featuring a design “virtually indistinguishable” from Harajuku’s signature heart/box logo.

The lawsuit claims Forever 21 “changed a couple of words in the Heart/Box Trademark, which are inconspicuous and likely to go unnoticed by a consumer.”

Specifically, the lawsuit claims Forever 21 used the design but changed the word “Harajuku” to “Forever” and the word “Lovers” to “Love.”

As a result of the chain using a similar image, Harajuku has allegedly “suffered and continues to suffer damage to its business reputation.”

Gwen launched the accessory line in 2005 to coincide with her Harajuku Lovers Tour.

 


Here’s what I think:
1). How about Asians and Asian-Americans sue Gwen for defamation of character? Those stereotypical, “Harajuku” girls are a disgrace, a minstrel show, and just plain horrible. She practically has them made up in Yellow Face. (Don’t tell me “Well, they are getting paid well to do this”. Prostitutes are also getting paid, but that doesn’t make it right. Maybe if Asians had more fair opportunities in the entertainment industry, they wouldn’t feel the need to do this). I could go on and on about this topic. But many others have done so far me already: 
Margaret Cho’s Blog Entry 
Several entries about the this on Disgrasian (Disgrasian’s Myspace profile lists her as the worst offender).
Salon.com article
The Gwen Stefani Rant! – Livejournal entry (Yes – Caucasians from Europe are upset about this, too!) 
Free The Gwenihana Four 
There are many other articles, blogs, and sites regarding this issue, but you get the point. 

2). Gwen is guilty of ripping off others, making this hypocritical. 

Sure, many if not most celebrities have copied something from others, but Gwen is worse than most. When I first heard No Doubt, the first thing I thought about Gwen’s voice was “Oh great, another female ska singer who tries to sing just like that. Boring!”.  

Her clothing, accessories, and make-up is just generic copying of cultures: 
-She stole generic trends from subcultures: She normally dresses like your typical teenaged alternative culture chick (punk/rude girl/goth/raver/freak/etc) who hangs out at the mall or at show. Yes, we dressed like this before No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom” came out. To most of the mainstream culture unaware of the alternative scene, Gwen was original and some even thought she invented this style. The truth is, a lot of this was already out of style and overdone in the subculture, and Gwen re-hashing it a couple years later was just a joke to us. Even in middle school, I thought Gwen’s style was equivalent to when Seventeen magazine put out articles/pictures about “How to dress like a rock chick”.  Her style is not very original and it’s watered-down.
-She has stolen from Jamaicans, African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians. (See the article above “The Gwen Stefani Rant!” for some evidence of this if you don’t remember or just plain didn’t notice this before). 
-At red carpet events, she wears very typical 1940’s fashion or complete Marilyn Monroe rip offs. This is much of what the L.A.M.B. (L.A.M.E.) line has. Wal-Mart and cheap mall stores (such as Rave, Divah, and Forever 21) have been selling basically the same things as L.A.M.B for years and for much cheaper.
-Her Harajuku Lovers line of clothing is a bad rip-off of clothing and accessories that already exist in Japan! She does a bad job of just copying off styles that already exist – either clothing sold in stores in Japan or looks that real Harajuku girls created themselves. Calling her dancers “Harajuku” girls is an insult to the real ones. 

Yes, I realize she’s not the only fashion designer or singer to steal things from others. But don’t sue a company for doing the same thing when you are guilty of it, too. Gwen most likely would never admit that she steals ideas.
 At least Forever 21 is known for being a cheap place to buy knock-offs. Which brings me to my next point…

3). Almost every designer gets their ideas stolen.

We could discuss whether or not it is right to sell knock-offs at an affordable price so that the less wealthy can afford the clothing. And we could discuss whether or not the designs were even stolen from her clothing line since the designs already existed before she created her line.  
But let’s just pretend that she did create completely original designs. How often do you  hear about real, reputable, respected high fashion designers suing? You rarely, if ever, hear about them doing this. So why is Gwen – not a reputable or highly respected designer – doing it?

Miranda (Meryl Streep) from “The Devil Wears Prada” explains it like this:
“This… ’stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.”

A cheap-looking tank top that I’ve basically seen being sold at Divah, Rave, and Forever 21 four years ago is being sold  by L.A.M.B. for 138.75. Pathetic.

Maybe if Gwen was ever an actual rude girl or punk in the first place, she would not only be more original, she would sell her clothing more affordably. Then again, she did grow up a rich, spoiled girl  from Orange County and only ever joined a band because her brother, Eric, started the band and wrote most of the lyrics before leaving the band.

 

April 17, 2007

VA Tech

Original entry and comments: http://cherryteresa.greatestjournal.com/2007/04/17/

My hearts go out to the students, faculty, staff, and the friends of family of the victims of the Virgina Tech tragedy. I know there have been colleges/universities with school shootings in the past, but to me it is more surprising when it happens at a college rather than a high school, middle school, or even elementary school. The reason is that the students generally want to be in college but people in high school and under have no choice. So if they hate it, they’re pretty much stuck unless they can somehow transfer. But of course, the shootings can happen anywhere as people with mental and emotional problems can occur anywhere and of any age, class, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

I don’t want to sound paranoid and I don’t want to make this tragedy into something else, but I just can’t help but feel the way I do. I am worried that because the killer has been identified as a 23 year-old student originally from South Korea that there will be added racism to Koreans, Korean-Americans and even Asians and Asian-Americans who aren’t Korean. I hope that I am wrong about this. But based on how Koreans are treated as it is and based on how people have reacted to tragedies in the past, this is a real possibility. Some people I know don’t think there is much racism out there for anyone other than African-Americans or Jews. They have no idea. Just a couple weeks ago while I was driving home from work, another driver yelled out the window out to me “You g–k b–ch!” My mother works at the post office and it is not uncommon for customers to say racist things to her to her face. (Telling her to go back to her own country – even though she is a U.S. citizen, asking “can someone White help me?”, are just examples of what people have actually said to her). I constantly hear “jokes” about Asians (and Hispanics) from people who never tell jokes about Black or Jewish people. The n word and k word are bleeped out on non-cable tv while the g word and the ch word usually aren’t. I have had people call me a terrorist, even though I was born here and even if I wasn’t, my family is South Korean. Kim Jong-Il is from North Korea. They are two separate countries for a reason! Even if I were from North Korea, chances are I wouldn’t be a terrorist. Most of the citizens aren’t terrorists and if I had actually went through all the trouble and the huge possibility of death to actually come to America, that would mean that I didn’t like North Korea. (Although it is almost impossible to escape N. Korea to come to America).

There are many other misconceptions and stereotypes of Koreans, but that’s another subject altogether. You take the racism that already exists and look at the way people have reated to tragedies such as Columbine and 9-11, and it makes it almost scary for me to be a Korean-American right now. I was in high school during Columbine. Many people who wore black clothing or kept to themselves were labeled as school shooters. Many schools around the country even suspended students for simply the way they dressed and some schools to this day have ridiculously strict dress codes or mandatory uniforms (these are public schools) because of Columbine. The fact remains that most people who dress “artistically” and listen to a certain type of music don’t go around shooting people. I’d dare to say most are actually anti-gun or at the very least believe in gun control. More “average Joes” have been the killers in school/college shootings but no one points that out. And of course, after 9-11 and to this day, Muslims and basically anyone with dark skin who doesn’t look Black, Hispanic, or Latino are harassed and labelled as terrorists. The overwhelming majority of Muslims do not agree with what happened that day and their actions were actually against the Muslim religion. Saying that the terrorists were Muslim and represent the Muslim religion is like saying David Korresh (or however you spell his name) accurately represented Christians. It just isn’t true. This fact is pointed out constantly by many people. Even George w. Bush points this out. Yet people still have a hatred towards all Muslims, not just the ones who are terrorists. Do these people forget that those “Muslims” actually hate the Muslim-Americans. Do people not realize that Muslim-Americans also died in 9-11? It’s something that’s been brought up since 2001, but is still worth mentioning since many people still continue to be prejudice.

There are very few well-known Koreans in American culture. This is something that has always bothered me. Now that there is someone “famous”, it is for something extremely negative. Unfortunately, many people rely too much on media. I’m afraid that Koreans will now be stereo-typed as loners who can snap at any time. I also hope this won’t make people think that we “shouldn’t allow foreigners” in here anymore. What would piss me off if that happens is those same people would use the tragedy to not allow others in, but not see it as a reason for gun control. I’m not going to say that American culture is necessarily the reason why the tragedy happened. But I do want it to be known it’s not Korean culture either. The shooter lived in this country for 14 years, since he was 8 years old. Private ownership of guns is banned in South Korea and there are no known school shootings in the country. I’m worried these facts will be overlooked. Also, a South Korean student was injured. That will probably also be overlooked.

I really hope that I am wrong about this but history has a tendency to repeat itself. I really hope this horrible tragedy of lives lost and people injured does not turn into another tragedy of harassment and racism.

I know I am not the only one who’s worried as I’ve read reports today that South Korean and Korean-Americans on the Virginia Tech campus have gathered in groups because they are scared about how dangerous it could be for them right now. Imagine how vulnerable and unsafe all the students must feel after a shooter. Now imagine adding to that the fear of what others may do because of your race or nationality.