Don't spread blame around lightly

It seems a shame to even ask members of Sandusky's Handol Korean Methodist Church if they're worried about any backlash against thei
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

It seems a shame to even ask members of Sandusky's Handol Korean Methodist Church if they're worried about any backlash against their community because the gunman who took 32 lives before killing himself at Virginia Tech was a South Korean.

It's even more a shame the answer, at least for some, is apparently yes, a little.

We'd have hoped we, as Americans, were beyond that, even after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks brought some prejudice against Muslims in America to the surface.

We should be heartened by the fact the prejudice against Muslims, vocal and venomous as it was, was the minority opinion, and in most cases drowned out by messages of brotherhood and togetherness as quickly as it surfaced.

And this question has to be asked: Had the shooter been white, would we have been going to this or that Lutheran or Catholic or whatever church and asking, are you worried about backlash?

Of course not. This society doesn't lump "all" whites together the way we still, subconsciously, lump "all" members of this or that minority group together wheneveR one individual from that group does something wrong.

It's wrong to do that, and more of us need to pry that particular little worm out of our subconsciousnesses.

There was a story going around after former boxing great Muhammad Ali visited the World Trade Center ruins. Supposedly, he was asked how he felt about the perpetrators of the attack sharing his Muslim faith. Ali is supposed to have responded, pleasantly, "How do you feel about Hitler sharing yours?"

Turns out that exchange never took place, and Hitler's Christianity is itself in doubt, but the myth is useful as a cautionary tale: Collective guilt is not a thing to be assigned, or assumed, lightly.