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Margaret Cho on Virginia Tech Shooting

Margaret Cho on Virginia Tech Shooting

Comedian Margaret Cho posted this very eloquently put blog entry on her official website entitled “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.”

Just Jared on Facebook
Posted to: Margaret Cho

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  • Nando

    :starts clapping:

  • TT


  • Maria Mendez

    Absolutely perfectly said….just brilliant. Great comic, great social critic.

  • Amy

    That was spot-on and beautifully said. I hope this gets circulated around the internet – it’s time that race became a non-issue.

  • MJ

    Completely agree. Well said!

  • QQQQ

    Truer words have never being spoken… ((((((((CLAPPING))))))
    A very distrubed INDIVIDUAL did this, period….

  • Kaylita

    That was the one of the best things I’ve heard about the subject. People need to stop making this a media frenzy and just let everyone mourn.

  • req

    she is right, she should fucking hide … ewwwurrhhh

  • req

    get them out

  • piper, with a low


    But sadly, this message won’t reach those who really need to hear it. As a people, we Americans tend to shrug things off too easily.

  • magnus


    If a white person shot up a school in Korea you better believe they’d point out his race. At least.

    That’s where most visible minorities in America lose their credit. If it was an even split across the country then yes, she’d have a point. But it’s not so she doesn’t. And yes I realize that white people immigrated to this land too. But they built this country.

  • Tim

    so true. if the shooter was white no one would mention his race.

  • +greenpeace+

    well said! *joining the crowd, clapping*

  • Pandora

    He was a raving lunatic. His ethnicity is irrelevant (unless ofcourse diaspora had anything to do with him being a wingnut — and it didn’t, as it’s been said he was “not all there” prior to leaving his contry of origin).

  • Patty

    I think maybe Margaret is a little too sensitive. I look at this guy and think what a psycho he is and not that he is Korean. Maybe I’m being naive but I think that most people think that way. In most cases you can’t look at a white person and know what nationality that person is. But with Asian people it’s pretty apparent.

    I don’t think the news coverage of this person has been dwelling on his ethnicity. There has been a little coverage of how the Korean people feel shame – which they shouldn’t. I do think the new agencies have gone overboard on the coverage of the pictures, videos and writings he sent to NBC.

  • bdj

    This is a human tragedy. Race should not place a part in this. Many of the victims were of different races, cultures and religious background. However, we know that the media likes to drag race into a tragedy in order to sensationalize and divide people. The shooter was a disturbed individual where many signs and warnings were ignored. My prayers and thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

  • rachel

    Nicely put :) And by the way, she looks great!

  • cred

    blame the media

  • PinkRose

    His ethnicity is NOT irrelevant. In S. Korea, if a white, black or any other race committed this crime, ethnicity would be a main talking point.

    America is mainstream white and there is no escaping that fact (yet). Every time a black person commits a crime in the US race is mentioned. Hell, Black labour helped to “settle” America and Blacks are still considered outsideres. Miss Cho is way too sensitive!!!!

    Deal with it. Blacks have for generations.

  • yanni

    “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.”

    It’s not just the media that mentions it. It’s the Koreans themselves who keep on dwelling on the fact that the gunman is Korean. It’s the Koreans who mention that they’re worried about being targeted because the gunman is Korean. It’s the Koreans who went out of their way to profusely apologize for what the gunman did even though he was a total stranger to many of them.

    Koreans feel a collective sense of pride if a fellow Korean does good. They also feel a collective sense of shame if a Korean commits a heinous crime like this.

  • Pandora

    PinkRose: Read, and comprehension may just follow. His pathology and the heinous acts he commited were symptomatic of said pathology and not of his ethnicity.

    This is about the victims, not about an ethnic group taking ownership of something horrific engineered by one of “their own”. Nor should this be used as a forum to advance your particular cause. It’s not the time for that.

    This transcends race, religion and political orientation. Comprende?

  • rachel2

    yet another person looking for a reason to make people feel sorry for them because white people are so “racist”! fuck u! if i went to korea and started shooting random people on the street, the headline would read “white woman is crazy!”

    if other races don’t want to be treated differently, maybe they shouldnt bitch so much!

  • Vicki

    I applaud Pandora.

    btw, Margaret looks fantastic!

  • panda6

    “Deal with it. Blacks have for generations.”

    PinkRose – do you realized how deep rooted your racism is. It’s the fact that you don’t even realize it that’s most disturbing. The U.S. is not Korea. We are made up of so many different races and variations of them so you cannot use the excuse, “if it was a white guy in Korea”.

    There are so many American who’s whiteness is questionable and they call themselves white.
    There’s cuban and Argentinian friends of mine that are whiter than any whites here. The same as latin people who are darker the the darkest black person in Africa and they are Latino.
    Her point is that at this stage of the game and in this country, he should just be a guy who committed a horrible crime and not a “Korean guy”

  • anna

    The reality is that his ethnicity is mentioned. His family emigrated here when he was 8 and yet he is continually referred to as a South Korean Immigrant. Before they knew the identity of the killer, all they kept saying was that he was an asian mail.

    We have a history of projecting the acts of minorities on the rest of the group. Post 9/11 muslims and middle easterners are all victimized by prejudice, harassment, and distrust. While one might say that it is b/c of national security, the reality is that when tragedies occur we focus so much on why why why and who who who that we forget that our true focus should be on the grieving individuals out there.

    Let us not forget that after the Oklahoma City bombings the government blamed it all on al queda and were surprised when it was a white american grown Timothy Mcveigh.

  • Cal

    WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kelly

    It’s true what she said.
    “if i went to korea and started shooting random people on the street, the headline would read “white woman is crazy!”

    So?It would STILL be totally wrong and stupid !So it’s definitely NOT an excuse.The guy was a psycho his skin color is totally irrevelant.

  • Ana

    now she knows what it is like to be black….white people will NEVER understand what it is like to have one person do something wrong and have an entire race suffer the consequences. I feel for her though…what she said was well said!

  • Elphie

    The tragedy is very sad. It hurts to see all those students killed. Korean or not, it’s sad to see that this individual who was very ill did not get any help, despite so many possible encounters. I just don’t understand why the hospital released him, declaring that he was not ill. We cannot deny the fact that he is Asian. I think the Asian American community should address this positively, that we need to turn around social stigma about mental illness and depression.

    I agree what one blogger said, Asians are collectively proud when someone shines, and so are collectively sad when someone commits shame. Right or wrong, the community should learn from the mistake. People should understand that depression is an illness. There are professional doctors who can help.

  • Pak

    As a half Korean, married to a Korean who lives in the town next to where the guy lives, I don’t believe race has anything to do with this at all. This guy was mentally insane. Period. I’ve heard reports of Koreans in Annandale and Centreville worrying about backlash. But to be honest, it’s hard for a backlash to happen when it’s clear he was not mentally stable. I think everyone agrees with that.

    It’s a tragedy that I hope will toughen gun laws and help improve the health care system in regards to mental health. My heart, too goes out to all of the people affected.

  • well said

    My sister and I were talking about this same issue last night.
    I just see a madman who killed 32 people, he just happens to be S. Korean. I have friends who are Korean, and they are a very proud people. When I was in college, there was a group of Koreans from the area, who would get together on Saturday’s and eat meals together, and network. I am of African descent, and I can honestly say, when I hear of a crime on the news, I cringe when they say its a black person.

  • Jorge

    It’s Margaret. She can’t do wrong.

  • Lalo

    Race is always a factor, whether it be in a mixed society such as ours or within a more homogenous one. In this country, we are encouraged to be color/race blind, but it’s a naturally slow and sometime unnatural process. Deep down, each and everyone of us are aware of our differences – in any areas – race, economic standing, education level, beliefs, etc. Some of us are more tactful and sensitive about acknowleding our differences in public (than in private). People who insisit that we should be color blind at ALL times probably have rarely experienced discrimination/racism staring them down. Those of us who have are well aware that racism exists. Some of us deal with it better and move on while others are irreversibly damaged by it and use it as an excuse to hate. We can debate racism in circles until we’re spent, but remember this: Even discriminated groups are discriminatory towards some others. This is who we are as human beings. Now, what can we do to fix it or make it better because we are highly evolved human beings? Do we choose to do something in each of us or just sit and rant and rant and rant?

  • the real tita

    She was one of those comics who make fun of her own ethnicity. She made fun of her family, her culture and her fellow Asians on stage. Now she’s worried about being Asian? She’s the one who is a real racist. She has this contempt for white folks and yet they still pay to see her. What a joke!

    The shooter could have been any color. It just so happened that he was yellow skinned. The outcome would still have been the same no matter who he was…endless analysis and guilt tripping. It wasn’t just because he was Asian (he was a megalomaniac to boot), it was because he was a glory hounding Asian. He made sure that he was going to get plenty of media exposure with his freaking video and stupid manifesto so that is why he is getting all this play.

  • Amanda

    Margaret is correct when the Columbine shootings went on eight years ago. There were no headlines of WHITE MALE KILLERS or whatever. There was no mention that being WHITE could be the reason those two boys at Columbine killed their fellow students. The mainstream American media is very racist against people of colour. Cho’s Asian background shouldn’t BE the story but in the USA anyone that’s not white is a scapegoat in these situations.

  • Dumdums

    I think people are puzzed that he was a native Korean and the College didn’t do the right thing by him .. we know they ignore most of the care and safety concerns regarding most students and faculty, but usually they really seek out to help foreign students more. Just my two cents. Reporters of the news were racists, thrilled by the evil and body count and hypocritic backbiters to the public and victims by repeatedly harping on it and pretending to be concerned with prayers and sorrow.

  • Amanda

    But WHY should it be the “:issue” of the Asian American community. The only similarity between the killer and other Asians is race. And that’s it. The WHITE MEDIA always want people of colour to somehow have a CONNECTION to people that do brutal crimes that happen to be the same race. I don’t see the WHITE PRESS saying watch out for ALL YOUNG WHITE MEN because they could be school shooters like those two white boys from Columbine. The white media is RACIST and that’s a fact.

  • snowballa

    he’s been here since he was 8. he went to junior high and high school in the states.

    he’s an american. point blank.

    and anyone who thinks his race and ethnicity hasn’t been stated or isn’t a factor is a naive idiot. i’m tired of mincing words for people who think that racism is dead or if the shooter was white, it would be just as big. it isn’t. the huge focus on dylan klebold and eric harris wasn’t on their race or the fact that they are males (which is the bigger issue), but it’s because they were part of the trench coat mafia. no one was going around being scared of white guys like people are speaking out against asian males.

    this country is too racist, too sexist, too bigoted and too militaristic. the west ruled the world not because our thoughts were superior or because of religion, but by bloodshed and this is why america has the highest crime rate of ANY industrialized nation. it’s not the guns because there are three times as many guns in canada and their crime is not NEARLY as high as ours. we are a violent society who has had leaders who use bombs and economic sanctions to solve problems with other countries rather than diplomacy.

    this is simply one of the results of american culture.

  • reality

    you better believe if a white american went to another country’s college and ended up shooting it up that the headlines would definitly have something to do with race and homeland. why wouldn’t it? and america would be apologetic as well. i’d rather be realistic than play p.c. naive like ms. cho. sorry.

  • Amy

    WOW this is the best speech I’ve heard, good job Cho, I hope this reaches out to more people.

  • snowballa

    @ reality

    it would only matter if the country where the crime was committed is homogenous like japan or some countries in africa. america is a melting pot and again the kid is a product of american society since he’s been here for FOURTEEN YEARS. America would be apologetic, but how many white men in America would be afraid of being persecuted if a white man shot 30 people in South Korea? I know how many.


  • the real tita

    #28: Ana, as long as you feel this way, you will never ever find contentment of any kind. View yourself as a person, just like any other. It doesn’t matter what color you are because everybody is the same under the skin. It’s character that counts not your race, creed or gender for that matter.

    People can’t help it if they were born white, black, brown, red or yellow. Don’t play the blame game or fall into that entitlement trap. Just be grateful that you’re living in a country where you have the opportunity to make whatever you want yourself to be. We’re in the 21st century and not in the 1800′s anymore. Let go.

  • Mark

    I dont beleive in all my viewing and litening to the events anyone made a big deal that he was Asian. – never heard it. I think because of the magnitude of the deaths, certainly people want to look into some terrorist backgrounds – read his manifesto and see if anything could be tied to it other than the fact that hes crazy.

    so here it is – - -weve watched his movies, we’ve seen his pictures. I dont see an Asian, I just see a crazy person – and crazy comes in all racesand colors.

    so I do shake my head and roll my eyes when races get defensive – “oh, what if they now think ALL Asians are crazy. – ” – -come’on – no one thinks that.

    This was just one crazy person whom people forgot to hug and pay attention to.

  • fatso

    obviously she has a point. if the shooter was white he would be just a ‘person’, and there wouldn’t be all this scrutiny into his ethnicity and racial background (though, to be fair, there would be scrutiny into his personal history, but no suggestion or questioning of some link between whiteness and violence).

    i don’t think cho is trying to blame white people for anything, or calling them racist, or anything like that. read what she says… she *feels* like the general public draws some kind of conclusion – a conclusion that involves her as a korean person – about this act of violence and the perpetrator’s ethnicity.

    there have already been reports that another innocent asian male student at campus received death threats from other students and nutjobs the day of the shooting. ask him if there’s a link between race and media coverage of the shooter. ask anyone middle eastern person why they get profiled at the airport, but no blonde people were – or have been – profiled since mcveigh blew up the federal buildings in oklahoma. to pretend like the guys race doesn’t matter is ridiculous. almost as ridiculous as suggesting talking about it equivalent to saying all white people are racist (a brilliant, but insidious, defensive posture if ever there was one).

  • reality

    @ snowballa

    ok soooo let’s pick canada or england, or any place else that has a more similar melting pot of races. the headline wouldn’t be “AMERICAN was behind massacre of one of our colleges”? it would just be “Man behind massacre”? puh-leeze.

  • reality

    @ snoballa (again, forgot one part)

    you are right- no white men in america would be persecuted for a white person shooting in south korea.

    but white men in south korea would be at risk for being persecuted since they are the minority there. it’s not right anywhere, but that’s how it has always been and the world isn’t ready to let go of majority vs minority just yet. i don’t agree that’s how it should be, but we are not living in a perfect world.

  • Vt Alumni 99

    Well, I think she has a point and all, but I think his ethnicity was brought into the spectrum of things because he’s foreign national, not because he isn’t white. If he was Swedish it might be the same thing. I’m a VT Alumni and not Asian or white but at the end of the day those people are still dead, murdered by some seriously demented bastard who had imaginery girlfriends and referred to himself as question mark. I think people using this tragedy as a platform to discuss their beliefs are shameful. We need to mourn these lives, both young and old, that were ended at the hands of a selfish individual. Key word, individual.

  • shut-up

    reality Says:

    April 20th, 2007 at 2:43 pm – flag comment
    @ snowballa

    ok soooo let’s pick canada or england, or any place else that has a more similar melting pot of races. the headline wouldn’t be “AMERICAN was behind massacre of one of our colleges”? it would just be “Man behind massacre”? puh-leeze.


    Yes it would be Miss Reality.

    A man is a man. I am a Canadian, as much as I would love to say there are no racist people in Canada, I can not say it. Because there is. But at least is not in your face as in the US. The US people are so negative, prejudice and largely racist. He was an American; he was leaving and being productive in the US for more than 10 years. Why could they not just say he was a crazy? Why the race card. Who cares that he was asian. Do you think the people he shot cares. How long does it take to become a citizen of the State?

  • http://GPost Team Lara Croft

    fatso Says:

    April 20th, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Wow, your post is so eloquent, intelligent and well put. I am impressed by your amazing insight. Thank you for sharing it.

    May the souls of the dead innocent rest in peace. I hope they are all free from pain today and always.

    And let’s stop profiling in America. Bad comes in all shapes, colors and sizes. Let’s stop profiling – whether for good things or bad things.

    Let’s live Ghandi and Martin Luther King’s dream. Sorry if I am being hokey no pun intended.

    But love does win in the end. We really are all the same. We really are. Our circumstances are different but we are all the same. Stop racism. It is so ugly.

    And when a group of people say they have been discriminated, if you don’t identify with it just say nothing and listen. Trust that a child who says they have been beaten, was beaten; a woman who says they were raped- raped; a person of a different race who said they were wronged – wronged.

    You don’t have to agree just let the person tell you their story. It is their story. Who are we to judge?

    We are all born equal. All of us.

  • Milk

    It’s not about being sensitive. It’s about how race is portrayed in the American Media. No, in Asia if you start shooting people and you are white, they will not say “White Women Gone Crazy.” They will state your race. If you are American, they’ll state you are an “American Gone Crazy.” Saying your white is too general to state in the media.

    It is the same everywhere, but American Media portrays race far more explicitly than other Countries. Being Asian myself, I do feel that American media will portray anyone who is not white the worst.

    As for the murderer in the Virgina Tech Massacre, the media implied where he is from, how he came to America and where he grew up. They did not state anything behind the reasons for these killings or how he became mentally disturbed. I believe they should of implied and focused on these certain points, not about his background ethnicity.

    I don’t think Marget Cho was implying her statements solely for Asians alone, but for all races in America.