- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

The New Hate Crime: Immigrant on Immigrant

Philippine News, Opinion, Emil Guillermo Posted: Apr 17, 2009

Add Dolores Carbonilas-Yigal to the list of Filipino Americans to fall prey to massive American gun violence. The 53-year-old from Cebu province was one of the 14 who died in that senseless gun attack on an immigration education center last Friday in Binghamton, N.Y.

The students of varying ages and ethnicities were learning English on their road to citizenship and truly understanding what it means to be American. Unwittingly, they were to meet it head on. America has become a gun-infested nation plagued by senseless gun violence.

These things are difficult to comprehend. More so if you are Omri Yigal, the bereaved widower, who met his wife the old-fashioned way---as a pen pal. Dolores Yigal recently arrived from the R.P. and was learning English in order to get a job working with children.

Yigals violent death comes just about ten years after the death of another Filipino American, Joseph Ileto, a 39-year-old postal worker in Los Angeles who was gunned down in August, 1999. Iletos shooting was only slightly more easy to comprehend. His death was due to the unadulterated hate that emanated from a white supremacist named Buford Furrow, Jr.

On Aug. 10, 1999, Furrow, a long-time member of an organized white supremacist group, shot Ileto on his way to attacking a day care center at the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center. Prosecutors said Furrow told investigators that Ileto was a good target of opportunity to kill because he was a nonwhite and worked for the federal government.

Furrow has expressed no regret for any of his crimes and plead guilty to all counts against him in 2001. But even with Furrow in prison for life, the beat goes on. If the white supremacist Furrow represents the anti-diversity idea of death to all non-whites, ten years later we find a new twist.

Omri Yigal and the other immigrant victims in Binghamton last week were murdered by one of them, a fellow immigrant from Vietnam identified as Jiverly Wong AKA Voong.

Who needs the white supremacists fearing competition from non-whites? Hate? Thats so old school. This is the new reality, where theres plenty of competition among everyone in the new modern and diverse America-and plenty of guns to take out your frustration in the middle of an economic downturn.

The Wong rampage is about the violence that can stem from the very real and specific cultural schizophrenia that results from the psycho journey that is immigration. In a country of new immigrants, we need to do more than check for green cards and passports. We need to check on peoples mental health.

Wong was just another Asian American immigrant lost in language and communication, culture and society, and it all contributed to what we saw on Friday. There are a lot of Wongs in America. And they need help, before its too late.

We just dont hear about them much because, of course, mental illness is so stigmatized in the Asian American community, that not even the drugs to remedy it can make it seem cool or attractive. Culturally, Asian Americans prefer to deal with these issues quietly, away from mental health arena. Besides what are the chances of finding someone trained in language, or with the cultural awareness to recognize and deal with the most troubled situations? Not so good. In normal medical situations, finding doctors and nurses who can communicate with immigrant patients with normal needs is hard enough.

What do we know of Wong? That he lived in Inglewood, California from 2000-2007, according to the Times story. That he worked as a delivery driver for a sushi company. A Vietnamese doing sushi deliveries, hmm? Seen one Asian, seen them all.

Wong was known as a loner, a pervasive stereotype. Stereotypes become stereotypes because the signs are repeated over and over again. Youre not looking for originality here. But despite that repetition, little appears to have been done to heed them as warnings. Wong kept to himself. Even when he lost his job. His sister Nga told NBC, he held it in.

In the case of Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter and the perpetrator of the biggest shooting spree in modern American history, his parents didnt know what to do with all the signs they were getting. They turned to a minister. That didnt work.

In the end, both men chose to go out American-style, violently, guns ablazing, perhaps the only part of our modern culture to which they could truly and deeply relate. Omri Yigal can only relate to the speed of the loss of his Dolores. They said she probably went quickly so she didnt suffer, I pray, he said.

We all pray as we come to the most holy week in the calendar year, a reminder that after extreme darkness, there is light.

Photocredit: "Balitang America" [News in America] daily newscast of ABS-CBN Global - The Filipino Channel

Related Articles:

Filipina Among Victims In N.Y. Shooting

N.Y. Shootings -- Platform for Anti-Immigrant Bloggers

Cultural Misfits and the Language of the Gun

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage