Killer reflection

Jeff Yang in Salon:

Screenhunter_03_apr_19_1434I want to think that race is not a factor in the toxic mix of rage and psychological disturbance that has occasionally discharged as this kind of violence. And, certainly, in most cases it isn’t: Teenage angst is colorblind, and the triggers for crimes like these have included parental abuse, schoolyard persecution, romantic obsession — phenomena that exist beyond culture or ethnicity.

But professor Niwa is right: When race enters the equation — when the perpetrator of a crime of this type is black, like “Beltway Snipers” John Allen Muhammad and his ward Lee Boyd Malvo, or Asian, like Cho — it rises to the surface and stays there, prompting inevitable discussions about whether “black rage” or “immigrant alienation” were somehow to blame; whether in some fundamental fashion, color of skin, shape of eye, or nation of origin lie at the seething, secret heart of such tragedies.

More here.