The Ramifications of SK’s Apologies

I’m getting increasingly concerned that the media’s identification of Cho Seung-Hui as “South Korean,” combined with the apologies of South Koreans in America and the South Korean government, will lead to a public conclusion that Cho’s deranged mind and violence were products of Korean society – essentially letting America (and its virtually nonexistent gun-control laws) off the hook.

NYT Blogger Mike Nizza’s post tonight, pointing out similarities between the video Cho sent to NBC and the South Korean Film Old Boy, won’t do much to help.

But there are two key things to remember here: 1) Cho spent his developmental years in the U.S., arriving here in ’92 when he was only eight, and 2) The apologies offered by South Koreans are taken out of cultural context. Korean society is collectivistic, based on the central notion of “we”-ism or jibdanjueui. And so these apologies come as an expression of sorrow that such violence came from one of the parts of the whole, a fellow “South Korean,” rather than as an admittance of fault.

Just my two cents for tonight – it’s been a long day.

(Edited: 04/19/2007)

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2 Responses to “The Ramifications of SK’s Apologies”


  1. 1 virginian April 18, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    A very important point. The media seems to be emphasizing that he was a South Korean resident alien and not an American citizen. All true, but he didn’t come to the U.S. at the age of 8 to shoot people up. He grew up here and is essentially a product of the U.S. None of this is a race vs. race issue. It’s a healthy vs. sick issue.

  2. 2 Nabbi April 19, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    my feelings exactly. infact i thought about it on my blog as well. hopefully people will think for themselves and question the media’s need to harp on race/country of origin.


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