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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reporting STILL Misses the Mark

In today's LA Times, the Times goes out of their way to ensure that the world knows that Cho's family was hardworking, well intentioned and struggled to make it in the USA. No one has ever questioned this. Though I do think if the gunman had been poor white, poor black, poor mexican, -or god forbid, middle eastern, a lot more people might've been willing to consign the parents to the scrap heap.

None of the sources including the reporters bothered delve into the issue of mental health and how a cultural stigma against it might have prevented the mother who had a son who never spoke from seeking medical advice. Even Prof. Chang from UCI Riverside trots out the same excuse: that a trip to an outside source would have signified a personal failure. We'll, we've heard that before, it's a stereotype that's used not only by Asians, but by everyone else. Plus, I can assure him that there are other Korean families who are actively working to help their children with mental illness by seeking outside help. I know. I've met them. And these are the ones we need to hear from: how did they overcome the perceived shame and decide to seek help? Was it a shove from the school? From the church? From social groups? How did they negotiate with schools, with social services agencies to secure services for their child? And what has the reaction been from the Korean peers? Supportive? Denial? Exclusion?

Perhaps it's politically correct to create the picture of the hardworking immigrant family, but there were gaps here that would be good to know, so that other parents who are actively working to help their children with similiar ailments (autism, depression, early-onset schizophrenia) don't make the same mistakes. I think the reporters took an easy and predictable route. In other words, yet another unremarkable story.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Were was All Sharpton Or Jessie Jackson. are they Color blind ?

Anonymous said...

Check the London Times for a story titled "American psycho".