[Letter to the editor]A lesson to learn from fear of backlashIt is unfortunate, but not surprising, that the Korean media missed a valid point in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Many Koreans living in America were worried that they faced retribution based on the actions of one of their countrymen. However, those worries have turned out to be largely unfounded.
The root of this worry is purely Korean, and is an outgrowth of how the Korean populace would have reacted in the wake of a similar tragedy on their home soil.
If an American in Korea had gone to a Korean school and methodically murdered so many Korean students, I am certain that the streets of Korea would be packed with protesters blaming every foreigner, regardless of their nationality. I am not alone in thinking that my safety, quite literally, would be in danger if I ventured in public. Recent history is a good teacher.
When foreigners made postings on the Internet about their sexual escapades here in Korea, there were reports of roving gangs beating up foreigners. When two little girls were killed by American tanks, there were massive protests. Now, imagine a death toll as high as 30. Does anyone living in Korea actually dispute what the outcome would be?
Simply because Koreans would have reacted in such an irresponsible way does not mean that the American populace would as well. The idea that Americans would simply start attacking Koreans for revenge is an idea born out of the sense of what the Korean reaction would be.
The media should be shining a spotlight on this in order to change this [mindset] rather than sweeping it under the rug.
Karl Friedhoff, Seoul