News Coverage

It’s much too early to draw any firm conclusions about what happened on Monday at Virginia Tech.  It is enough if we keep the students and families touched by this horrific incident in our thoughts.  Here at my school we are dealing with a slightly different problem.  We have a large contingent of students from Korea who are struggling with a sense of responsibility for what happened.  Perhaps part of this is cultural, but I have to think that the news coverage of this incident is exacerbating the problem.  The news is constantly referencing the shooter’s nationality.  I have to ask what this has to do with what happened.  Wouldn’t it be sufficient to note that he was a student at Virginia Tech?  After all, colleges and universities are international communities.  It would be unfortunate if the constant referencing of the shooter’s nationality was a way of distancing or minimizing the emotions of ownership or responsibility for what happened; in other words, it allows us to say that at least he wasn’t American.

Check out the post over at Hugo Schwyzer.

3 responses... add one

Kevin
Your last sentence says it all. Having spent a year in Korea, I can, in a very general way, say that theirs (Korea)is a society in which embarassment of one reflects on all. This is not meant as critisism. Societies value individuality differently. In the rush to fill the airwaves with some sort of explanation for the event, stupid things get said or implied.

Kevin,
I honestly never thought about that until I read your post. His nationality is irrelevant to the fact that he was a cold-blooded killer. Is it possible this is being brought up opposite of the reason you mention–that we are used to (usually white) Americans doing this and not someone of a culture that we relate more to peaceful actions? Just wondering.
Best
Rob

I wouldn’t know where to begin in trying to explain what happened at Virginia Tech on Monday. What stands out is the almost complete incompetency of mainstream news in covering all of this. Twenty-Four hour news means finding people to take up space. I don’t want to hear another commentator focus on Cho’s inability to stare others in the face. I have a great deal of difficulty at first communicating with my Korean students. It takes time to establish a certain relationship given their experiences in Korean schools. A little understanding of culture would go a long way here rather than simply trying to dissect.

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