The Last Word

[Update:   Link fixed; sorry!]   My good friend Adrian Hong of LiNK fame  has  ended the  debate on the anti-Korean backlash (that never was) with this piece in the Washington  Post.   

Korean Americans do not need to apologize for what happened Monday. All of us, as fellow Americans, feel tremendous sorrow and grief at the carnage. Our community, as it should, has expressed solidarity with and sent condolences to the victims, and as Americans, Koreans certainly should take part in the healing process.

But the actions of Cho Seung Hui are no more the fault of Korean Americans than the actions of the Washington area snipers were the fault of African Americans. Just as those crimes were committed by deranged individuals acting on their own initiative, and not because of any ethnic grievance or agenda, these were isolated acts by an individual, not a reflection of a community.

I would add that even a crime based on an ethnic or religious grievance only reflects on a larger group to the extent that the criminal’s views reflect the larger  group’s views.  Now, my favorite part:

Further, it is inappropriate for the Korean ambassador to the United States to apologize on behalf of Korean Americans and speak of the need to work toward being accepted as a “worthwhile minority” in this nation. While the Korean ambassador represents the interests of Korean nationals in the United States, and the interests of the Republic of Korea, he does not speak for naturalized Koreans here.

Absolutely.  Adrian deserves kudos for dethroning  Ambassador Lee from his  imagined dominion  over everyone of Korean ethnicity within our borders.  I once met Lee briefly — though not enough to make  much of an  impression — but just  about everything Lee has said this week has succeeded mightily  at pissing me off,  from his public  expressions of concern  that Americans would react with discrimination and violence, to this.  For a guy whose job is to represent his country favorably, Lee Tae Shik could use  a semester of  remedial charm school.

The Korean claim to guilt and shame on behalf of Cho Seung Hui is well-intentioned but misguided. We are Americans first. While we share an affinity with Korea and appreciate and respect Korean culture, at the end of the day we are Americans. Our president is in the White House, not in the Blue House. And our response to this crisis should be as Americans, not as Koreans.

Read the rest on your own.

Finally, here’s an opposing view.  The writing style of the commenter called “Wolmae” is as distinct as a fingerprint.  There is only one person I know who writes like this.  I won’t tell you who he is, but I will say he’s someone I respect very much, and whose views generally align closely with my own.  He doesn’t happen to agree with me this time,  although I think the passage of  time is proving — thankfully — that there isn’t much of a foundation for his fears.  Just the same, don’t miss it.

1 Comment