While the tragedy at Virginia Tech has stunned the nation, for the Korean-American community the news that the shooter was one of their own has caused both shock and humiliation. Many say they fear a backlash against Koreans in retaliation for the murders....
Yet while Koreans have expressed their sympathy over the deaths at Virginia Tech, many are also afraid they will become targets of revenge attacks aimed at the Korean community. These fears are felt all the more deeply as Korean-Americans prepare to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the riots that erupted in Los Angeles, which targeted Korean-owned businesses.
Korean media in Washington, D.C. reported that a majority of Korean businesses had closed early following Cho's identification. A report in the Chosun Daily noted that Korean students at Virginia Tech locked themselves inside their dorm rooms, too afraid to come out. The same report stated that some Koreans had even begun preparing to leave the country.
There is also a growing concern among Korean politicians and families that the events at Virginia Tech will negatively effect ongoing deliberations over a visa waiver program for Koreans coming to the United States.
Other Koreans say they are bothered by the media's fixation on Cho's nationality. Kathy Song, a reporter with the Korean-language daily Korea Daily in New York, says she worries that this will only increase racial prejudice towards Korean-Americans. [Link]
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