Great. Yet another Korean-American gunman.
The past several years have been unprecedented for Asian-Americans as the silent “model-minority” has suddenly been thrust in the spotlight for “going postal” and murdering innocents. Ash and I will never forget the VA Tech massacre – her alma mater, where the shootings by Seung-hi Cho took place on grounds so familiar… and then there was the Discovery Channel hostage crisis with James Lee… and now this shooting on a Christian school campus by a certain “One Goh.” That’s the third in 5 years.
It’s tempting to make generalizations here, and I’ve heard a good number of them: “Koreans are more depressed than others,” “suicide is higher than ever in Korea,” “sexual addictions are highest amongst Koreans,” “Koreans are the most closeted people,” “Koreans are increasingly mentally ill.” I don’t know about all of these, but that last one summarizes it for me.
“Koreans are increasingly mentally ill” – and while we cannot make these egregious instances of insanity the general rule for all, I do think it bears some indication of the Korean-American state of mind. The years of shame, inward cultural tensions, saving face, respectability (esp in the Korean-American religious community), and immigrant life combine to create a unique emotional / psychological strain I believe. I am aware of more and more people in the K-Am community who are overcome by mental illness, but the stigma on seeking psychological help keeps them cloistered at home, or struggling to deal with problems in-house. I sympathize for my people.
My questions for this week, and how appropriate as I celebrate Holy Week / Good Friday with my largely 2nd-gen Korean-Am community:
How can we foster greater emotional health in the Korean-American community?
How can we get the 1st-immigrant generation involved? (I’m a big believer in family / systems therapy)
Is anyone doing anything like this?