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Feb 04th
Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Avoiding Racial Twist in Reading of VA-Tech Tragedy
Avoiding Racial Twist in Reading of VA-Tech Tragedy PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 21 April 2007 03:10

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 18, 2007

We, the members of the Institute for Leadership Development & the Study of Pacific and Asian North American Religion (PANA Institute) of Pacific School of Religion, are deeply struck by the recent tragedy that took place at
Virginia Tech University. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all the people of the university. Our prayers are particularly for the victims, their families, and friends. The horrifying tragedy affects us all like an abrupt rupture of a thread in the web of humanity that sets the whole web trembling.

We at the PANA Institute are also deeply concerned about the fear and anxiety that are fast surfacing in Asian and Oceanic-American communities about a possible backlash and retaliation against these communities and their members because of the suspected gunman’s racial and ethnic identity widely reported in the media. Such reporting can subject Asian and Oceanic-American communities to unfair portrayals in the current tolerant climate for racial slurs and jokes against people of color.

We at PANA stand with those who are afraid of possible negative repercussions from the tragic incident. We stand with those who may be subjected to all kinds of evil against them because of the racial twist in the reading of the tragedy. We stand with those who hunger and thirst for racial justice. You are not alone. Blessings are particularly yours.

We at PANA appeal to news media of all forms to refrain from referencing and emphasizing the race and ethnicity of the suspected perpetrator of the tragedy. Such an accent does not serve any useful purpose. It only fuels the current climate in this society that demeans people, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

Too many tragic incidents like Virginia Tech have happened in recent years. We at PANA urge faith communities of
America to work toward ending violence as a means to settle grievances, may they be personal, communal, or international. It is easy to blame the perpetrators of violence for each of the series of incidents. These individuals and the victims of their violent acts may well be the “canary in the coalmine shaft” of the toxic societal environment in which we all live.

Fumitaka Matsuoka
Executive Director, The Institute for Leadership Development & the Study of Pacific and Asian North American Religion, Pacific School of Religion


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 01:01

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