Posts Tagged ‘Binghamton shooting’

The myth of the model minority

Binghamton shooting Another mass shooting. This time in Binghamton, New York, and the alleged gunman is Asian American. This is the second of such shooting where the perpetrator is Asian American. When news of the Virginia Tech tragedy first broke two years ago, I did not believe for the longest time the gunman was a fellow Asian American. I said to my roommate at the time that Asian Americans just don’t go around shooting people. Being Korean American himself, my roommate nodded with me in agreement. If you grew up Asian American, you were taught from a very young age to excel in school so you can get into a good college so you can graduate, find a good job, start a family, live happily into old age. Your whole life is wrapped up in reaching this end. You’re hard-working, disciplined, enterprising. You were told not to make a fuss about anything else. You’re a model for what it means to make it in this country; you’re the paragon of immigrants in America; you’re the par excellence of the American Dream.

But this label isn’t true. Asian Americans are just like everyone else, we struggle deeply with our family relationships, our jobs, our identity, our place in this world. We struggle with divorce, depression, homelessness, poverty, broken relationships, teenage pregnancies. The list goes on. Yes, we work hard and we seem to have everything together. But we have real problems that no one seems to notice. The label of “model minority” is a misnomer, a misjudgment of character that the majority culture has placed on a minority. This label makes our problems and ultimately our own being invisible to the majority. This is what I call linguistic colonialism. We are not the paragon; we’re just as messed up as the person sitting next to us. The shooting today goes to show that there needs be evermore attention given to helping and assisting minorities and immigrant in their plight, whether social, psychological, or physical.

The Binghamton shooting is sad, reprehensible and evil, that anyone, let alone an Asian American would commit such heinous murders. This tragedy jarred my memory back two years ago to Virginia Tech. It soon hit me that that anyone can brandish a gun and shoot down people, whether you’re white, yellow, red, black. Hatred and anger isn’t the function of race; they’re functions of the heart. If anything, I’m just like everyone else; I’m a mass murderer ten times over because I’ve already committed murder when I have hatred in my heart.

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