giving in to fear

Last week, we got the tragic, gruesome news that a Virginia Tech graduate student, Xin Yang, had been stabbed to death by another student, Haiyang Zhu. Yes, the killer was Asian.

The murder is awful enough. It's unfortunate that it happened at Virginia Tech, where memories of Seung Hui Cho's 2007 shooting rampage are still a fresh memory. And even more unfortunate that this killer also happened to be Asian.

As expected, the murder has sparked a wave of nasty sentiments from ignorant bigots in the Virginia Tech community and beyond, particularly in the form of web comments. (By the way, I believe comments were invented to make the world stupider -- and the stupids appear to be winning.)

On the Collegiate Times website, under the news of Xin Yang's death, hundreds of comments range from those suggesting that Virginia Tech should prohibit Asians from enrolling, or from a "concerned parent" who apparently advised her two daughters to avoid Asian friends at all costs. You've got to be kidding me.

Here's an editorial by a student calling for cooler heads: Come together in face of tragedy. We live in an age where terrible shit happens. But that's what not defines us. How we choose to deal with such tragedy is actually what makes us who we are as a people and a society. Unfortunately, the xenophobic response is a powerful standby attitude. That's the easy way out.

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