Apr 19, 2007

Community apologies?

Read this post by angry asian man. I should just stop writing here about this and keep reminding people to read his site. His point about not feeling compelled to apologize is right on. The Korean American community's reaction is all over the map already, with older generations feeling that the uneasy (quiet) space we inhabit in the U.S. is completely disrupted, and as a result, we have to make peace with the mainstream. I don't know that other Asian American communities feel the same or different, but I'm going to link here to something I wrote last year about the constant calls for apologies in the South Asian community around matters overseas.

While this is something domestic, I think the racialization of individual actions is invidious and belies the societal desire to distill "lessons" or generalizations about people. It's been happening to the black community forever, but it's easily attributed to other groups all the time. And it moves beyond the standard stereotypes - violent, homicidal behavior is not the standard way that folks look at Asian males (well, not right now, but just take a step back to WW II, Viet Nam, Sept. 11, etc.).

Anyway, I just don't agree with the community apologies. I think that condolences that are honest and heart-felt are appropriate, but public statements that only focus on sharing the pain seem disingenuine - Asian American groups would not be making statements of condolence about this if it weren't for the face of the killer. That doesn't mean that people wouldn't have sent their thoughts to the college or other places, or that they wouldn't have been actively engaged (we've seen that time and again with other tragedies, including Oklahoma City, which happened 12 years ago today). It just means that I think it's hollow if you don't do it all the time. If you need to show that the community isn't represented by someone who happens to be from it, do something locally, or something that helps in the healing. Be visible. But don't just issue an apology. Why do you think the United States hasn't apologized for slavery?


Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

the us never will. nice blog chk me out sometimes


Rage said...

Thanks, will do.