I went to bed last night not yet knowing the identity of the Virginia Tech killer. Rumors were circulating on the web about terrorism, an Asian perpetrator, and the high number of Pakistani Muslim students on the campus. Pathetically, perhaps reflecting the tension many South Asians and Arabs are feeling these days, I confess actual relief this morning when I read that the assassin was "a South Korean native in the U.S. as a resident alien."
How sick is a reaction of gratitude that Cho Seung-Hui was not (a) Muslim or (b) South Asian or Middle Eastern? As a mother of brown sons in a society still processing what happened in September 2001, perhaps the word realistic is more apt. That's yet another reason why Paula Jolin's insightful novel (another class of 2k7 debut), In The Name of God (Roaring Book, April 2007) needs to be on every high school reading list in America. Come back soon to the Fire Escape for an interview with Paula about the book.