Cho Seung-Hui, stereotyped to death


Any way you look at this unfathomable tragedy, it becomes increasingly apparent that in all of our efforts to celebrate diversity, we as Americans don’t have a freakin clue about what that really means.  The artificial social construct that is commonly known as race-matters no matter what the right-wing conservative talking point about the irrelevance of race happens to be.  

From his close knit family to everyone else he encountered outside of the sanctuary of home, they failed him.   Cho Seung-Hui had apparently been slowing going insane for several years and nobody with the power to set things right intervened.  What intervention occurred was piecemeal and halfhearted.  From published investigative reports to his writings on the internet, it is clear that Cho was suffering from some form of paranoid schizophrenia. 

According to Health Square, Schizophrenia is one of the most damaging mental disorders—causes its victims to lose touch with reality.  They often begin to hear, see, or feel things that aren’t really there (hallucinations) or become convinced of things that simply aren’t true (delusions).  In the paranoid form of this disorder, they develop delusions of persecution or personal grandeur.  The first signs of paranoid schizophrenia usually surface between the ages of 15  and 34.  There is no cure, but the disorder can be controlled with medications. Severe attacks may require hospitalization.”

It is my contention that Cho Seung-Hui’s death and the carnage his unchecked illness engendered is a result of the perniciously devastating effects of the “Model Minority” stereotype.  Christopher Liang of the University of Maryland, along with other colleagues, has written extensively about the racism and stereotypes faced by Asian Americans in the United States.  Ignorance about the Asian American experience is rampant.

In a paper entitled “The Asian American Racism-Related Stress Inventory,” Dr. Liang and his colleagues wrote, “As members of a minority group in the United States, Asian Americans have been targets of racism.  The long history of racism toward Asian Americans has been well documented and includes the lynching and mass murders of early Asian migrants, legislation banning migration of persons from Asia, and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  In recent years, there has been an increase in reports of anti-Asian vandalism, intimidation, and threats, and incidents involving bodily harm.”    

Dr. Liang and his colleagues also succinctly explain the model minority stereotype “First coined by sociologist William Patterson, the notion of “model minority” suggests that Asian Americans embody the modern day American success story; that is, Asian Americans are functioning well in society and somehow immune from cultural conflicts and discrimination and experience few adjustment difficulties.”   

Dr. Liang and his colleagues further explain that other social scientists have found that  “…the model minority myth has masked the real social, economic, and psychological problems encountered by large segments of the Asian American Population and diverted attention away from discrimination and prejudice that effect their lives.”  

Moreover, as other scholars sited by Liang point out and getting to my central theme, “lower rates of utilization of mental health services in comparison with other Americans…have led to a belief that Asian Americans compose a population free from psychological problems despite their minority status and experiences with racism.  It is now believed that underutilization of mental health services is related to cultural factors such as loyalty to family, sensitivity to shame, preference for indigenous healers,  and the mismatch between the cultural values among Asian Americans and the values inherent in Western mental health services.”

Cultural sensitivity and a requisite knowlege of the Asian American experience were completely lacking at Virginia Tech as well as the court system charged with directing a psychiatric evaluation.  Both institutions were hamstrung by stereotypical notions regarding Asian Americans as,  “peaceful, docile, or perhaps, less intimidating physically, and therefore less of a physical threat…thus less likely to engage in criminal behavior.” 

The black professors who sounded the alarm, Drs. Roy and Giovanni, were ignored in a way they wouldn’t have been if they had been white women sounding the alarm about a dangerously unstable black boy.   Had the mental health professionals directed by the court to evaluate his mental state done their jobs properly, this entire tragedy could have been averted.  In the final analysis, nobody noticed this boy for who he was-an innocent victim of mental illness that was stereotyped to death.


54 thoughts on “Cho Seung-Hui, stereotyped to death

  1. Interesting perspective. I don’t know if it mattered that he was Asian, but it is puzzling that he didn’t have more mental health help than is apparent so far.

    I notice that reports focus on what legally could have been imposed on him in terms of mental health care as opposed to what people could have done to guide him lovingly into more mental health care, even insisting in some way. Reports also focus on mental health care for him as a way to have fixed his dangerousness rather than something to help him. I think few people understand how much he suffered, that he wasn’t just making everything up in his video about how he felt victimized, even if a lot of that did sound paranoid.

  2. Cliff

    Thanks “SB” for bringing this to my attention.
    I am completely not knowledgeable of the Asian-American experience in this country, dealing with racism. Cultural sensitivity of the Asian-American experience was probably completely ignored a Virginia Tech, because they expect all students to assimilate into the Anglo-American culture. As they possibly see now, the lack of cultural sensitivity, the lack of the utilization of mental health services, the unwillingness to listen to the rational of the black professors (Dr. Roy, Dr. Giovanni), the unwillingness to listen to the diagnostic messages from Asian professionals like Dr. Liang, are the main components of this catastrophe.

  3. Asians ain’t the only ones gunning down their classmates, so the racism thing is but one aspect of this madness. The main problem above all else is a violent society that puts more impetus on competition than teamwork, more emphasis on individualism than working together. Nowhere is this more manifest than the corporate training ground of our schools. Some people just aren’t cut out for the high pressure dog-eat dog environment, and when they snap…it’s time to adhere to the “schizoid troubled loner” profile rather than take a good close up look at an ugly, vicious, violence-ridden system. A system that the rest of the world sees without any pretensions.

  4. SB: You better write… Wonderful points…

    I’ve been studying how culture impacts the health care system. You made some very intelligent and thoughtful points. I hope that your readers take time to really think about what you and others are saying regarding this issue.

    I don’t watch Fox News. But I’ve been wondering how are they spinning the fact that this young man was not a US citizen. I suspect that anybody that don’t look like they are US born is going to catch even more hell for the rest of the year. If Bill O went off about the nondocumented mexican that was driving drunk in Virginia Beach, I can only imagine what he is thinking or saying about this matter.

    Do you know how or if Fox is spinning this story in regard to the man’s residential status?

  5. Lan Mee

    Response to Angie, comment 4:

    Angie, In the past few days they (Fox) continually refer to Cho Seung-Hui as “a resident alien”. The use of the word alien is quite chilling. He could have just as easily been referred to as a “foreign national with residency/green card status”. He has lived in the US since he was eight years old. He is by virtue of that an American.

    Fox’s constant use of the term alien is questionable. But then much on Fox is highly questionable. I also notice that the term “Shooter” and “Killer” are used quite a lot. These are really dehumanising terms. Whatever we feel, Fox could allow another human a little dignity. I find Fox’s general attitude to news to be slightly paranoid. I often wonder if the program controllers think in terms of the next “sensational thing” as opposed to “actual” news.

  6. rikyrah

    The black professors who sounded the alarm, Drs. Roy and Giovanni, were ignored in a way they wouldn’t have been if they had been white women sounding the alarm about a dangerously unstable black boy.

    I hear you on this especially. Someone brought this up in conversation last night. IF that had been 2 White teachers who brought up what concerned them, I believe that something would have been done.

    But, I have to ask…what does one have to do in order to be expelled at a college these days?

    He STALKED more than one woman. In my day, that was an expellable offense.

    He committed ARSON to his dorm room. What college lets someone stay after they’ve committed ARSON.

    I dare say, if this had been a Black student doing either of the offenses listed above, he would have been expelled post haste.

    Had the mental health professionals directed by the court to evaluate his mental state done their jobs properly, this entire tragedy could have been averted.

    I’m going to lean towards puttin the onus on the INSURANCE industry, which probably told the facility to kick him out because in-patient care is ‘ too cost prohibitive’.

    And, I hate to bring this up, but anyone want to challenge me on my belief that if the RA who had been shot had been White, they wouldn’t have jumped to the erroneous conclusion that it was a murder-suicide (there was no weapon found, so I don’t know how they came to that conclusion), and they would have sounded the alarm around campus that there was a killer on the loose?

  7. yogo

    I think if a person is acting “normally” most of the time no one will do anything. A lot of times incidents between romantic partners or want-to-be romantic partners will be chalked up to “lover’s quarrels” and life moves on. I had a few classmates who were on anti-psychotic medications and I have a friend of a friend of a friend who is on anti-psychotics and the DMV gave her a driver’s license.

    It takes violence for people to act.

  8. NMP


    I don’t disagree with you, but I think the same can be said about mentall illness and African Americans. Whereas Asians suffer from the “model minority” stereotype, African Americans, particularly males, suffer from the “un-model minority” stereotype if you will. African American kids who witness devastating levels of violence in crime ridden communities are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at levels only seen in war torn third world countries. When the psychological effects are manifested, teachers and administrators dismiss it as “typical” behavior caused by poor diet, over exposure to television, everything but what it is. How many times have we heard Blacks folks dismiss the same behavior, “oh ignore his little ass; he’s just acting out.”

    We have shows like catch a predator that focus on the perpetrator, but there is no focus on the actual victims and the aftermath of sexual violence usually at the hands of family members. No more than 10% of child sexual abuse cases are reported. That means that 90% or more of the cases are unreported and the victims are never afforded mental counseling. There is a conservative estimate that at least 40% of child sexual abuse victims will eventually perpetuate the same violence against children that was inflicted upon them and other violent crimes. A persistent theme in Cho’s writings was child sexual abuse. The lack of reporting of sexual abuse in minority communities is exponentially higher due in part to stigma and homophobia.

    I hope that the ensuing national debate on hand gun control will be coupled with attention to diagnosing mental illness and improving availability of treatment especially in minority communities.

  9. dblhelix

    To put SB’s theory to the test, I’d like to know what happened in middle school/high school.

    They continue to talk about his privacy, but that kicked in once he turned 18, isn’t that correct? I have a had time believing there were no issues while he was a student in Fairfax County Public Schools, which is one of the best public school systems in the country.

  10. Denise

    Fox interviewed one of Cho’s high school classmates who recalled the same antisocial traits during that period.

    As “SB” indicated, this young man was failed throughout his troubled life and thrity-two people paid the ultimate price for it.

  11. yo folks. korean-american brother here – who also shares the same last name as the gunman. painful tragedy. tragic. my emotions are convoluted with my korean-american identity as well. we’re all trying to make sense of something that’s senseless – it’s all to complex. race isn’t the defining issue but it is an issue – not just because of who is involved but because we can acknowledge that ‘race matters’ (c. west).

    fwiw: i wrote up something to shed light to this from an asian-american perspective on my blog. peace out.

  12. dblhelix

    I don’t know NOVA as well as I do the MD side, but, there’s a very large Asian population in Fairfax & Arlington counties.

    What I do think is that FCPS is very similar to Montgomery County Public Schools on the MD side — nationally ranked, high achievers, affluent students in many areas of the county, etc.

    There was a story earlier this year that came out of MCPS — black students from a certain neighborhood complained that for years, the school tried to quietly divert “troublemakers” out of the affluent, mostly white school.

    The real problem is that some students don’t see themselves as part of the mainstream of the prestigious high school. It’s time for Montgomery County officials to figure out a way to deal with the issues of race and class that fuel those feelings and that helped cause the current ugliness.

    I do believe that school systems like FCPS/MCPS try to paper over the kids who aren’t mainstream, just to keep up the national rankings, parental expectations, etc. It’s the upscale version of teaching to the test and social promotion.

    My instincts tell me that the propensity for violence is lurking below the surface in upscale neighborhoods, and it’s across racial lines, but it’s covered up better.

    One of the best schools in MCPS is Whitman — where five kids who wanted for nothing held up a smoothie shop. One was a football player. Here is how he was treated:

    In May, Whitman asked Lazear to finish his school year at home. Whitman principal Alan Goodwin recommended expulsion, but an arbiter overturned that recommendation. Montgomery County reassigned Lazear to Wheaton, where he can attend classes and play football.

    Oh, and he got a football scholarship to WVU. Yes, he’s white.

    You may have read about all of the rioting by students in College Park, MD after basketball games. A Metro bus driver who was an innocent bystander lost an eye. A local shop owner was beaten up. The local town was grateful that they damaged so much of Comcast’s cable infrastructure b/c that ensured the funds for clean-up (property violation is the only thing taken seriously).

    Fox News can scream “resident alien” all they want. Cho grew up in Fairfax County and is a product of FCPS. I do not believe that the public schools have the resources for individualized attention and the emphasis is on keeping up appearances — and this is across all income levels.

    And I do believe that the white kids get a free pass relative to anyone else — it’s much like the decriminalization of marijuana once it became a habit w/ whites. “Not so serious any longer.”

  13. dblhelix

    I expect that in the aftermath, we will hear a lot about the failure of public infrastructure: mental health services, public schools, law enforcement, etc.

    People can shout & scream for increased accountability all they want — the money isn’t there. Period. Local systems are straining to partially or fully comply with unfunded federal mandates, whether REAL-ID or NCLB. There have been cuts all over to social services since Reagan. Need I go on. This is what you get with a “starve the beast” mentality.

    Recently a friend of mine was robbed in open air in a locality straddling the county line. He tried to report it. MoCo police spent 20 min trying to figure out if it happened in their county or Prince George’s Cty. Then they called PG county police, saying they’d take a report only if PG didn’t show up. When PG arrived on the scene, they had to leave after 5 min to attend to a hold-up in a gas station across the street. My friend gave up & left. Stalkers, domestic violence — not taken seriously in the grand scheme of things. County hospital system is teetiring on the edge of bankruptcy.

    The trend in more affluent communities is to insulate via gated communities, municipal police forces & new substations. The one good thing that can come out of this is the realization that no matter how $$ you are, you cannot insulate you & yours from what is around you, and your own sense of safety and well-being is related to the safety and well-being of society around you.

  14. NMP


    I can speak to NOVA, Arlington County specifically. My son is a student at a public school ranked consistently in the top 10 nationally and number 1 in the Washington, DC area by Newsweek. He’s only one of a hand for a Black kids. Teachers and administrators are so overly sensitive to the appearance of racism that I had to force them to hold my son in detention for something that clearly deserved at least a 1 day suspension. My concern is that their coddling and pacification (born of their White liberal guilt) is setting him up for failure in the real world. Arlington was the first freed slave settlement after the civil war, so we USED to be the largest minority, but now we are one of the smallest. The students hail from 127 countries. Arlington is divided by North and South, literally, the north being more affluent White and Asian and the south mostly Latino and Black. I haven’t witnessed much racial strife but there is a growing gang problem, gangs of all races and ethnicities. It’s mostly posturing however. There was an incident at a local community center, nothing big, just a stolen I-pod. The incident in itself wasn’t funny, but how it was reported sort of was. It was described as a multi-cultural gang robbery with a Mongolian leader. Mongolia??? Now that’s one I hadn’t heard of.

  15. NMP

    “People can shout & scream for increased accountability all they want — the money isn’t there. ”


    Do you mean there are no funds available or they haven’t been allocated? Again, I can only speak to NOVA, so I can tell you there are plenty of funds that go unspent at the end of each year.

    When my son started grade school, I was absolutely shocked by the availability of services covered by the county. It’s one of the reasons that Arlington Co. and NOVA in general is a magnate for immigrants.

    I agree that this is a problem for school districts with lower per capita incomes.

  16. Tommy Udo

    “I hear you on this especially. Someone brought this up in conversation last night. IF that had been 2 White teachers who brought up what concerned them, I believe that something would have been done.”

    Not if it had been two white male teachers. No way.

    This kid was simply insane. Asians can look to “racism” as the answer if that makes them feel better, if it’s some way to rationalize that one of their own went bonkers, that one of their own was simply a bad machine. He was a basket-case. A basket-case suffering from schizophrenia who decided to act out by copying a Korean film and the actions of the Columbine shooters whom he referred to as “martyrs” in his manifesto.

    This whole thing looks like just another roundabout mealy mouthed attempt to blame whitey for the horrible actions of a non-white. Face it; there are bad people everywhere from every group. Including Asians.

    BTW – to the person in Arlington County, stay away from the Mara Salvatrucha savages. They’re out here in Los Angeles and they are nothing short of sadistic animals. That’s the nicest way to describe them.

  17. dblhelix

    NMP —

    Hello neighbor! I know which high school your son attends.

    I think it’s difficult to make a comparison of Arlington County to the rest of the metro area, simply because Arlington County is the smallest self-governing county in the nation. It is unique in that the Pentagon/Crystal City & generally speaking, the federaI $$ the county receives makes for a very stable, localized environment. Now that I think about it, every time I’m in Arlington County, it’s to visit a federal building — the most recent occasion being NSF in Ballston.

    End result is that Arlington County is #2 in the nation on spending/student. Given stability/size, it seems that shifts would take a long time to play out.

    BTW, I just read that Cho actually graduated in Chantilly (his parents then moved to Centerville). It’s still in Fairfax, but I’ve never cared for that whole area out by Dulles. I think it’s in Herndon where the citizens punished the city council for the day labor dispute, isn’t it?

    I meant both funds not available and not allocated. I’ll get back to that another time b/c I gotta run right now.

  18. dblhelix

    stay away from the Mara Salvatrucha

    Tommy, do tell. Two recent “MS13” graffiti incidents recently in my neighborhood.

  19. Your last paragraph hits the nail right on the head – especially the first sentence. The brotha would have been expelled and his financial aid blocked forever – especially if he had been stalking white girls. He probably would have been incarcerated to this day awaiting a trial or something.

    And what I have noticed by some media outlets is that they are STILL calling Cho “smart” and “intelligent” despite the release of his “manifesto”. He was crazy as all get out, but “he sure was “smart” and “intelligent”. They can’t let go of the stereotype.

  20. Tommy Udo,

    You seem to have trouble distinguishing between deliberate maliciousness and insanity. Insanity means that he is not responsible for his actions and that we as a society are imprisoned by stereotypes regarding Asian Americans and our propensity to criminalize the conduct of mentally ill people.

  21. jk

    NBC created this monster and they are trying to create another one by playing his propaganda video over and over. All the victims’ families should join together in a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against NBC for wrongful death. You don’t believe it? Well, why did he sent his garbage to NBC? He knew that his propaganda would be shown by them because all he was really doing was mimicking their propaganda anyway. The Left says all us crackers deserve to die for what some moronic morons who lived 200 years ago did, and this guy just took that stupidity it’s illogical conclusion. NBC is Cho’s father and ABC is his mother, and they are proud of their bastard child. Just turn on the TV and you can see their pride and joy.

  22. “The Left says all us crackers deserve to die for what some moronic morons who lived 200 years ago did, and this guy just took that stupidity it’s illogical conclusion.”

    I seldom hear the Founding Phuks referred to this way, and I must say that it is refreshing.

    What do you think the punishment should be for the sins of the “moronic morons” who lived 100 years ago and for those who haven’t croaked yet, but whose damage has been done.

    Anyway, great post. Thanks.

  23. atatude

    Call me insane but I don’t see every facet of our life as race related. That said, quite a few people have said they thought this kid never spoke because he did not speak English well. A white American born kid who was so with drawn would have been seen by mental health people much earlier and more often. Hopefully when school teachers see kids who are so isolated they will try and do something about it.

  24. NMP

    Ooooh, Tommy! Yes, I am aware that NOVA has a persistent gang problem, MS-13 most notable. It’s being addressed on the county, state and federal levels. If memory serves me correctly, we had 4 homicides last year, which caused state-wide alarm. The Arlington school system is a jewel in the crown of state of Virginia, so we won’t be turning into S. Central or E. LA any time soon. As odd as it may seem, a common complaint is there are too many police in Arlington. As I said earlier, residents come from every part of the globe (of a population of less than 200,000) with Mongolians now being the fastest growing minority student population, so it’s a unique environment.

    dblhelix, Nice to have another PG County girl on board! I was born in DC, but spent most of childhood in PG. My immediate family was part of the early migration from DC to PG in the 70’s…now my momma is kicking herself everyday that she didn’t keep the family home in SE that would be worth well over a million now. Yes, it was Herndon that had the day laborer center dispute. It’s interesting that you bring that up b/c PG better brace for the same. Many of my family, friends and classmates still live in PG. When I suggested–no warned–that PG would be the new Los Angeles within a decade, they laughed me off. As White folks in NOVA feel more and more “invaded,” if you will, and Latinos continue to be priced out of the region and the City, the migration from NOVA and DC to PG County, one of the few remaining suburbs with relatively low housing prices, is going to hasten. Signs of strife are already beginning to show with racial violence increasing in areas like Hyattsville and jails in Maryland segregating the Black and Latino populations. Just as self-segregated Black communities in Los Angeles have seen their population and Black political power structure decline over the last couple of decades, I see much of the same in store for PG County. We just don’t have the luxury of seeing the world in Black & White any longer. It’s a whole new prism, and we all have to get used to it. But let’s just hope that PG does as well as Montgomery in adjusting to the changing demographics.

  25. NMP


    Imagine having to argue with someone who claims that insanity is a choice. Her contention was that she could never go insane because “she would not ALLOW herself to go insane.” As if she had a choice!!! Folks too often misinterpret identifying insanity with excusing the behavior. Hat off to you for trying to school folks, but I gave up a long time ago for fear of losing my sanity. 🙂

  26. Cliff

    To Temple 3: ““The Left says all us crackers deserve to die for what some moronic morons who lived 200 years ago did, and this guy just took that stupidity it’s illogical conclusion.””

    If it means that he felt that he was giving white people recompense for historical violence on their part, then if that theory is true then we have much more time to go, not limited to one event alone. Try 400 years of shootings without any black, hispanic, asian, arab casualties of war. I don’t think so. It is not only what white people have done, but what they continue to do. You can terrorize the world with the most sophisticated weaponry and set up the Central Intelligence Agency to destabilize the rise or resistance to “submissiveness to democracy”. Any person or country who does not want to subscribe to democracy is considered a terrorist. Warning: We as black people are the only people who will collectively give non-violent protests to satanic procedures as taught by Dr. Martin Luther King. Hispanics are somewhat similar with their recent non-violent protests against immigration laws. People from various races across the world are not like black people from America (no matter what their religion is), not only are they willing to sacrifice their life without any hesitancy; they are willing to kill others physically. This is the reason why members from the American government are so surprised at the violence against our soldiers in Iraq. We as black people have lost so many already, to where God intervenes and let’s us know that He will fight for us.

  27. NMP

    And what I have noticed by some media outlets is that they are STILL calling Cho “smart” and “intelligent” despite the release of his “manifesto”. He was crazy as all get out, but “he sure was “smart” and “intelligent”. They can’t let go of the stereotype.


    Let me co-sign! He did not utter one Intelligible thought on that video and many described him as “articulate.”

  28. Cliff – that’s not my quote. I don’t actually traffic in such nonsense unless it’s to post a stop sign. That’s why the text in quotes is in quotes – and the comments beneath it are mine.

    I don’t know about the rest of what you’ve said. I think we probably disagree more than we agree. We certainly do agree that those activities have not stopped. From where I sit, it’s pretty clear that black folk are willing to kill for certain things – it’s a question of what those things are…and it’s also clear that when people are in the belly of the beast, it’s harder to strike than it is on the periphery.

    Rome and Babylon were not destroyed by the instigations of the oppressed within the city or heart of the empire – nor were they displaced by the actions of irritants at the edge…they were eventually relegated to the past because the core members of the society created unsustainable contradictions in their own lives.

    If that’s the intervention of God, okay. It could also be that if you live a life where 2+2 no longer equals 4, you are going to have problems. Violence is the American solution for most problems. Citizens of this state will exercise that prerogative from time to time – and when children do it, then you know adults have abdicated a degree of responsibility for the security (psychological, social, interpersonal and developmental) of their community.

    The shooting has a broader context which goes beyond gun control and model minority and Asian shooter and all the other “issues” folks are raising. It is intimately connected to DISCONNECTED persons and our feeling of separation from one another. We are not 1…we are not responsible to and for one another. And so it goes…

  29. Cliff:

    “We as black people are the only people who will collectively give non-violent protests to satanic procedures as taught by Dr. Martin Luther King.”

    How you figger? King wasn’t the only leader black folk have had. He didn’t even lead the largest Black organization. His group didn’t raise the most funds and arguably don’t have the most enduring legacy. The CRM was the first televised embarrassment of the US and its hypocrisy on the question of human rights.

    The Dawes Act and forced removal of Indians was not televised. The Three-Fifths Compromise wasn’t televised. Neither was the Compromise of 1877 and the removal of Union troops from the South.

    In the 1800’s when Black men and women fought for their own freedom and turned the tide in favor of the strategically inept Union army, there was no question that BLACK folk were willing to KILL for our freedom. The same was true of black organizations like the UNIA, the Nation of Islam (in limited capacities), the Deacons of Defense, the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, the Republic of New Afrika.

    There are far, far too many Black folk sitting in JAIL RIGHT NOW for you to suggest that the fullness of our struggle is captured in MLK’s principled and TACTICALLY CORRECT commitment to non-violence in the Southern arena of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    Those incarcerated prisoners of war included – at one time – Geronimo Pratt, Ahmed Abdur Rahman and Dhoruba bin-Wahad. The list still includes folks like Sundiata Acoli and others.

    Don’t get it twisted – King’s actions represented a single strand of our varied efforts to achieve full self-determination here. Every freedom struggle has practitioners on both sides of the question of violence. As great as King was, he MUST be kept in HISTORICAL context – and that context includes the organizations named above – and it includes Martin Delany and Paul Cuffee and Anna Julia Cooper and Ida Wells-Barnett and Ella Baker and Kwame Ture – and on and on. Context is key because looking at King’s non-violence outside of the context of Pap Singleton’s Exoduster movement out of Louisiana or the founding of Black Wall Street (and its destruction) is to mistake a tactic of strategic import for a principle born of fear and desperation.

    We are not the people you may have imagined. We have fought for more, killed for more – and sadly, died for less.

  30. dblhelix


    When I suggested–no warned–that PG would be the new Los Angeles within a decade, they laughed me off.

    You are right on. Next time your friends laugh at you, tell them to call me. I’m on the Rt 1 corridor near Hyattsville. Actually, my friends in PG who are down closer to you, like in Ft Washington, used to also think I was crazy, but now they’re noticing some changes themselves.

    During the last lege session, most local projects got held over to next year, but I did notice that Casa de Maryland got their funding for another day labor center — this one is in PG, just over the line in Langley Park.

    the migration from NOVA and DC to PG County

    Already happening. This is why our county hospital system is bankrupt. I am pleased that County Exec Jack Johnson has told O’Malley “no thanks” to the state takeover deal. The reality is that it is a hospital system that provides indigent services, which means it has taken up some of the load post DC General closure, provides services for DC residents and all the folks who were pushed over the line while subsidized housing got “redeveloped” downtown, and also provides services for immigrants irrespective of status. Many of these services go unpaid.

    Did you know that some of the downtown developers paid of Black churches in the Shaw/U St areas to relocate to PG? They couldn’t get rid of a shelter so they parked a bunch of condos on top of it which is now a selling point for the gentrifiers — some flava, I think.

    I am proud that the hospital system provides services for the vulnerable with “no questions asked.” I am disgusted that the state acts like, oh look, PG can’t take care of business.

    BTW, the same developers doing some of the downtown projects are now in Hyattsville. They figured out that those warehouses would make good loft-style townhouses. They’re 1/2 mill .

    let’s just hope that PG does as well as Montgomery in adjusting to the changing

    It’s not going as well as things would appear on the surface. The difference is that 1) the very rich in Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase aren’t sweating it 2) more whites in MoCo, more liberal guilt = less overt complaining.

    Some of the middle-class areas are decaying, like Aspen Hill in Rockville, for example.

    It comes down to this, I think: In Arlington County, you will be able to maintain an equitable distribution of resources. MoCo is slowly doing a separation into two-class, with the very rich areas/property taxes sustaining the rest of the county, although the gulf will widen between the two. PG doesn’t have that kind of base to sustain the consumption of resources, and will just fissure into pockets of affluence and the rest of LA, as you put it.

  31. john in california

    I wish all the commenters here who think this was somehow a ‘racial’ crime would get to know a paranoid schizophrenic. You can not assign rational ’cause and effect’ motives to people with this mental disorder. One minute they can seem rather norman and the next ragingly insane. Their brain is broke. Sometimes medication can help, but the problem is never cured and they will always need close care. With his mental history, he should have been closely supervised. Ask any psychiatrist fimiliar with this condition and they will tell you people with this condition rationalize there paranoid feeling with all sorts of conspiracies. His condition was not a function or product of his race or his racial ineraction with society. His brain was broke. That is all.

  32. malai

    thanks for writing this…i noticed all the anti-racism in the reporting on Seung-Hui. If he were a white dude the story would have been so different. Like some above commenters, I cringed as the news kept referring to Seung-Hui Cho as a foreigner, and alien, a green card holder, even though it was obvious that he was not a very recent immigrant. Also, calling him an English student made it sound like he was an English as a Second Language (ESL) student, further emphasising his foreignness. While he was in the English department…WAY different. And like, he ain’t in Korea so we does the AMERICAN ENGLISH news keep calling him by his Korean name Cho Seung-Hui instead of the American style first name first Seung-Hui Cho…which he would have used since he was 8 years old in America. It reminds me of reporting on other Asian “villains” like Ho Chi Minh and Kim Dong-Il. So much more to say!

  33. Rick

    To add a twist, hate-crimes against Asians generally go underreported, at least in NYC. There are others but these events immediately come to mind:

    Queens Hate Crime Victims Discuss Attack


    But not only do black voices rarely speak out against such senseless attacks, our own urban radio stations sometimes magnify the voices of racial hatred/predjudice with more stupidity:

    Hot 97’s Tsunami Parody

    Power 105: “Are you smarter than an Asian Game”

    Personally, I wish the black community and our “leadership” would speak with the same moral force (and LOUDNESS) against black on black crime — as well as black vs asian crime (or any other type) — as it does against white-on-black crime.

    Bigotry is bigotry.
    Hate is Hate.
    Predjudice is predjudice.
    Whether a black, white, brown or yellow person does it….

    …It’s ALL morally wrong.

  34. Question Marks…

    “This didn’t have to happen”, Cho Seung-Hui said, after brutally murdering thirty-two people at Virginia Tech University.

    And this terrible tragedy of sons, daughters, mothers and fathers didn’t have to happen, if we’d only listened.

    But we never listen.

    We never listen to those that are different from us- the outcasts, the lonely, the homeless, the ones that are unspoken for. We don’t try to understand. We shun them and put them out of our minds because of our fear that we will become like them.

    And these people become more and more lonely and alienated in their isolation.

    Words like “creep”, “deranged misfit” and “psycho” devalue this killer’s humanity so we don’t have to face how similar he is to us. Cries of “how could he have been stopped” are uttered by media quick to sensationalize and gain market share, when the words “how could he have been listened to” are never considered.

    Because we don’t want to listen.

    We don’t want to hear about loneliness and alienation when we’re all so busy with our lives, making money and making friends. And the unpopular, the ones that don’t fit in, the lonely ones are ignored or made fun of because we don’t care to understand anything about them.

    As a boy, Cho Seung-Hui “was picked on, pushed around and laughed at over his shyness” (Associated Press). When he started college, according to the Guardian, “his mother took his dormitory mates to one side to explain about her son’s unusual character and implored them to help.”

    And he clearly needed help, devaluing himself so much that he called himself “Question Mark”.

    There are more “Question Marks” out there. There are millions of them. And if we don’t listen to them, they will follow the same path again and again, because people are not connecting. We are becoming more and more disconnected from each other, creating more and more “Question Marks” every day.

    Most “Question Marks” don’t become murderers. Some just kill themselves. Most harm no one and live just as we do, needing antidepressants to appear what we call “normal”. They may be someone you know, someone you love.

    This “Question Mark” was once a little boy, who cried, and smiled and loved, He wanted to fit in just like you and I. But that desire to fit in transformed itself into anger towards a society that shunned and ignored him.

    How many more times will we shun and ignore the one that doesn’t fit in, the one in the corner, the one that’s different? When all we have to do is listen, before it’s too late.

    But we won’t.

    Thirty-two human beings who did not know Cho Seung-Hui were murdered.
    They were sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, with dreams of futures that will never come and children that will never be born. The thirty-two leave behind people that love them. People that are now scarred for life by this horrible day of death.

    To most of us that have not been directly involved, this tragedy will become a memory and fade like all the others that came before.

    And the “Question Marks” will appear with more frequency, again and again, because we don’t listen.

    We never do.


  35. Alex

    So much for the wave of hate crimes that were supposed to be unleashed on Asians. The bodies of the 33 victims weren’t even cold yet and all these liberals were coming out worried about how Asians living in America would be affected. The answer: not a damn thing happened to anyone. Seriously, minorities in America are brainwashed to feel victimized and oppressed, and I am guessing that Asians were looking forward to their chance to finally feel persecuted. Too bad it didn’t happen.

    If you want real racism, imagine how South Koreans would have reacted if an American had shot up a college in their country.

  36. Alex

    God you people are idiots. Do you really think that if an American had shot up a college in South Korea, that the Korean media wouldn’t have pointed out that the shooter was from the U.S.? That they would have completely ignored that fact? Get real.

    The fact of the matter is that the killer at Virginia tech was indeed Korean. he was NOT an American citizen. Whenever a school shooting like this happens, the media always dives into the shooters past and examines his background. The fact that this guy was born in Korea does indeed have some importence in the story.

  37. Alex,

    The boy was a legal permanent resident brought here as a child. He was everything but a citizen. I’ve heard your point both times you made it and am still unpersuaded. I stand by what I’ve written. Anytime you want to discuss the merits of it, you can so indicate by making a coherent argument not imformed by your considerable hostility.

  38. Cliff

    NMP: “A persistent theme in Cho’s writings was child sexual abuse. The lack of reporting of sexual abuse in minority communities is exponentially higher due in part to stigma and homophobia.”

    True; I do not have the mind or the education to even touch on the psychological effect that a child receives from being a victim of sexual abuse. I have no idea what persists in th mind, as a result of this endeavor.

  39. Paul186

    Such irony. My decorated Vietnam Vet Asian American
    friend came back saying “Gook this-Gook That.”

    For all his loyalty and sacrifice as an American soldier,
    he’d still be a “Gook” to a bunch of racist nitwits.

    A fierce determination by minorities to
    assimilate doesn’t happen overnight or may
    never happen by the terms of the majority.

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