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Asian Supremacist Creates New Stereotype
By aligning himself with Cho Seung-hui, Kenneth Eng is perpetuating the thing he seems to hate most
Jason Hahn (woowhee)     Print Article 
Published 2007-05-27 10:08 (KST)   

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Controversial writer Kenneth Eng first got his 15 minutes of infamy after his inane article titled "Why I Hate Blacks" was inexcusably published on Feb. 23, 2007 in AsianWeek, a newspaper for the Asian American community that is published in San Francisco. This was the third in his series of racist articles, the previous two targeting whites and Asians.

The wide uproar from citizens and organizations demanded that Eng be fired, the paper issue an official apology, and the editors responsible for allowing those stories to be printed be punished. Eng was subsequently fired, and AsianWeek published an official apology on the front page of its Feb. 25 issue.

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Eng, who was revealed to be an unknown science fiction author, was not done peddling his outrageous viewpoints. The NYU graduate was interviewed on the Fox News Channel and somehow managed to relate the defense of his insensitive article to the cyborg dragons in medieval times he wrote about in one of his books. In the interview he acknowledged that he generally hates white and black people, and that his article targeted at deriding Asians was sarcastic, and also tried to give a defense on why he is truly the self-proclaimed "God of the Universe."

After this controversy had passed, Eng managed to squeeze himself back into the spotlight shortly after the tragic mass murders at Virginia Tech. In an article published on May 2, 2007 by Chloe A. Hilliard in the Village Voice, Eng aligned himself with shooter Cho Seung-hui. The article discussed a YouTube video Eng posted eight hours after the massacre, in which he said, 쏧'd just like to say that I just read about the Virginia Tech incident and it was the funniest thing I ever read in my life.

In the interview with Hilliard, Eng expressed an admiration of Cho, and even attempted to take credit for the shootings. He called the connection "speculative," but said that "there is a good chance that Cho may have read my work," and that "it's kind of conspicuous that [Cho] would shoot all these people so shortly after AsianWeek published all my articles."

Eng went on to say that he wishes he was Cho, and that Cho was his "hero." He also defended Cho's actions by pointing to Asian stereotypes in Hollywood.

Like Cho, Eng also had a troubled history at NYU, where he attended the Tisch School of the Arts. In a pattern of behavior very similar to that of Cho, Eng admitted to stalking a white female student, and expressed animosity towards white and black students. He was suspended by the university after spitting on a white student.

Eng also wrote a script filled with white and black stereotypes and "said that the average white girl is an absolute whore."

He showed Hilliard a 2003 memo in which one Tisch official wrote, "It is my belief that Kenneth poses a real threat to the Tisch community and has the capacity to harm or kill someone ... I would like to offer Kenneth the opportunity, in lieu of a disciplinary hearing, to withdraw from NYU with a refund for the semester."

Eng responded to the official's fear by saying, "Frankly, I was planning on going to NYU and going on a rampage. The only thing that stopped me was that I couldn't afford a gun."

The NYPD responded to the article by investigating Eng. It was revealed that on April 30, just two days before the article was published, Eng had threatened to kill his neighbor Marissa Addison and her mother in front of their Queens home, saying "If your dog bites me, I will kill you and your family."

He called Marissa's mother fat and lazy and swung a hammer at the mother and one of their two dogs. (Cho took a picture of himself angrily wielding a hammer before he went on his rampage.)

Eng was formally charged with second-degree assault and menacing, first-degree possession of a weapon, and second-degree harassment on May 11, and is being held in jail without bail. The court has agreed to a request by Eng's attorney that he undergo a mental examination. He is scheduled to return to court on June 13.

Eng's public comments concerning Cho and the Virginia Tech shootings certainly warranted some form of attention, and his revealed conflict with his neighbors are more than enough to justify his imprisonment and mental assessment.

His past writings, bizarre behavior in a televised interview, and clear expressions of angst and desire to inflict serious harm on others make it far too obvious that Eng is in need of confinement and serious help.

Eng's ethnicity probably garnered him extra attention, especially since he adamantly pointed to ethnic stereotypes and race anxiety so often, especially in his support of Cho. Eng seems intent on placing a race issue at the center of Cho's actions, when Cho's video diatribes seemed more focused on economic and social divisions. So, if Eng's ethnicity did gain him more attention from the NYPD, it seems that he is partially to blame.

Nationality aside, Eng's disturbing words and actions, and not his skin color, earned him the repercussions he is experiencing now and it should be hoped that his deep-seated issues will be dealt with.

He may not realize it, but by openly talking about the frightening similarities between his documented school troubles and those of Cho, Eng is creating the very thing he seems to despise: an Asian stereotype, albeit a new and far more harmful one.

The fact of the matter is that ethnic stereotypes are a reality in our current world, and they will remain for the foreseeable future. That may be a sad truth to accept, but it is undeniable. However, if Eng, or anyone for that matter, is fed up with their respective ethnic stereotypes, they must realize that overcoming or even breaking them will not be accomplished through physical and verbal violence. That endeavor is hopeless and ultimately self-defeating, and will only go to perpetuate the problem at hand.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Jason Hahn

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