Was Elliot Rodger Asian American?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-12 01:57Z by Steven

Was Elliot Rodger Asian American?


Jenn Reappropriate

For weeks following the Isla Vista shooting, killer Elliot Rodger was described in mainstream media as a young White man. This was a convenient narrative: Rodger was seen as yet another example of the maligned young vengeance-seeking White male outcast (like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Adam Lanza): so twisted by violent first-person shooters and sexual-social frustration that he resorted to unthinkable violence.

Yet, for Elliot Rodger, this narrative is complicated by Rodger’s own tangled and confusing relationship with his racial identity: one that defies simple categorization as Rodger being straightforwardly White, or otherwise.

Biologically speaking, Elliot Rodger was biracially White and Asian American. Both Rodger’s biological mother and his step-mother were Asian American, and in his lengthy manifesto, Rodger self-identified as a “beautiful Eurasian”. Upon his death, Rodger was initially identified by law enforcement as an unknown “Asian male”.

Elliot Rodger also viewed his mixed race heritage as elevating him above those he termed as “lowly” “full-blooded Asian” men. In a lengthy 68-page report released last month by the Santa Barbara sheriff’s department, it is revealed that Elliot Rodger frequently conducted Google searches on Adolf Hitler and Naziism. These search terms are consistent with Rodger’s frequent racist web postings that espouse a clear belief in a racial hierarchy which positioned men of colour as sexually and socially inferior to Whites, and which further positioned White women as the most-coveted.

In May of last year, Chauncey DeVega wrote a highly-shared piece for Alternet (“Yes, Elliot Rodger is ‘White’: What the Santa Barbara Shooter Can Teach Us About Race and Masculinity”), where DeVega argues that racial identity is predominantly a performance, and that Whiteness is the specific performance of superiority over other people of colour. Both DeVega and Philip of You Offend Me You Offend My Family reason that Rodger’s rejection of his Asianness coupled with internalization of White supremacy was evidence of his Whiteness…

Read the entire article here.

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How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-01-18 03:01Z by Steven

How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more. I tried not to believe his foul words, but they were already said, and it was hard to erase from my mind. If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I’ve had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthy scum, but they reject ME? The injustice!

Elliot Rodger, “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger,” (May 23, 2014). 84. http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1173619/rodger-manifesto.pdf.

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Elliot Rodger’s half-white male privilege

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, United States on 2014-06-16 02:28Z by Steven

Elliot Rodger’s half-white male privilege

Thusday, 2014-05-29

Joan Walsh, Editor at Large

The killer’s Asian heritage matters. So does his ugly class entitlement. Misogyny crosses lines of race and culture

The widespread recognition that Elliot Rodger’s killing spree was the tragic result of misogyny and male entitlement has been a little bit surprising, and encouraging. Why, then, has it been so hard to get his race right?

From the left, headlines (including on Salon) have labeled him “white,” though most stories at least nodded to his Asian heritage (his mother was ethnic Chinese Malaysian). Chauncey DeVega’s fascinating piece on Rodger’s crime as evidence of “aggrieved white male entitlement syndrome,” a malady that includes other white male mass killers from Columbine’s Eric Klebold to Newtown’s Adam Lanza, didn’t mention his status as half-Asian.

When commentators noted the omission, DeVega (whose work I admire) doubled down in a follow-up piece,“Yes, Elliot Rodger is white!” He argued that Rodger “constructed an identity for himself as ‘Eurasian’ and proceeded to internalize American society’s cues and lessons about power, privilege, race, and gender. He then lived out his own particular understanding of what it means to be white and male in the United States.”

Not that I have a lot of sympathy for Rodger, but it twists his already twisted story to label him simply white…

…“The media, as usual, has oversimplified his identity and experience of race in typically binary terms, which miss the complex nuances and grey areas of that identity and experience,” University of California, Santa Barbara, sociology professor G. Reginald Daniel told me via email. (Daniel is also the editor in chief of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies.) “My feeling is that some of his many issues are related in part to his struggles with or questions about how ‘white’ he was or was not allowed or perceived to be.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Elliot Rodger at the Sometimes Troubling Intersection of Race and Gender

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-06-05 20:08Z by Steven

Elliot Rodger at the Sometimes Troubling Intersection of Race and Gender

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

Elwood Watson, Professor of History, African American Studies, and Gender Studies
East Tennessee State University

Many have now heard of Elliot Rodger, the self-hating, misogynistic 22-year-old man who shot more than a dozen people and murdered six in Isla Vista, Calif., before turning the gun on himself and ending his own life. After this latest chapter of “angry young White male gone mad,” columnists, bloggers, psychologists and others weighed in with their views. Predictably, there were some websites ― primarily right of center ones like Paul Bois of Truth Revolt ― that tried to promote the argument that, since the majority of Rodger’s victims were male, critics who were denouncing his behavior by pointing out his history of misogyny were misguided in their viewpoints…

..The fact is that Elliot Rodger was a very frighteningly disturbed young man who hated himself and most of those around him. He shared a notable commonality with Adam Lanza, Kip Kinkel, Eric Harris and Dylan Kleblod and others. They were young, hostile, often socially isolated White men who were angry at the world for their own social insecurities, failures and misfortunes. To be sure, I am certainly not making the case that mass violence is the sole domain of young White men. That being said, it is clear that a disproportionate number of recent mass shootings have been committed by young White men. In the case of Rodger, a biracial White man.

This is where it gets more intense and complicated. The fact is that Rodger was the product of an interracial marriage ― White British father and ethnic Chinese Malaysian mother. He did not see himself as a person of color or mixed heritage and, rather, identified as White. This was evident in his demonstrably disturbing commentary on racist blogs such as PU Hate. This notorious website (PU Hate) has since been dismantled but not before a number of people lauded him as a martyr. The ample level of brimming rage that simmered within Elliot Rodger was evident in his rhetoric such as:…

…These were just a few of the much racially inflammatory commentary posted by Rodger. His mindset demonstrated a person who saw himself as White, male, wealthy, privileged and therefore entitled to all the perks that supposedly come along with such a status ― money, women, power, etc. The fact that he had been deprived of most all these opportunities enraged him. That some Black and other non-White men were successful in achieving what he had failed to accomplish drove him into a level of embittered rage that resulted in psychotic behavior…

Read the entire article here.

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A Verboten Topic: Elliot Rodger, ‘Mixed Race’ Identity, Internalized Racism, and Mental Health

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-05-31 03:17Z by Steven

A Verboten Topic: Elliot Rodger, ‘Mixed Race’ Identity, Internalized Racism, and Mental Health

We Are Respectable Negroes: Happy Non-Threatening Coloured Folks, Even the Age of Obama
Wednesday, 2014-05-28

Chauncey Devega, Editor and Founder

The 24/7 news cycle is not interested in finding the truth about a given matter, and then subsequently offering up useful information that can in turn be used to create an educated and informed electorate.

Instead, the mainstream corporate news media is driven by superficial discussions of topics of public concern that can drive ratings.

As I suggested earlier, Elliot Rodger should be a focal point for a discussion of broader issues about race, gun violence, gender, and mental health issues. Apparently, those most obvious concerns and questions are verboten on the Right…and even among some on the “Left” who have internalized the norms of “colorblind” racism…

…However, I have not seen (with a few exceptions)–and do please share and educate me if I am wrong (I am not able to watch or listen to every broadcast)–a focused discussion of how Elliot Rodger, a white Asian, internalized white racism and White Supremacy against people of color, and then acted upon it through misogynist violence.

Nor have I witnessed a conversation in the mainstream media about Elliot Rodger, the question of “mixed race” identity–I would suggest that such constructs are extremely problematic and facile in the American racial order, yet an increasing number of people are embracing them as a way of distancing themselves from people of color–and the specific >mental health challenges around self-esteem and anxiety which some self-identified “bi-racial” and “mixed race” people may face because of their “racial” identities.

My claims are precise and careful: I am not arguing that self-identified “mixed-race” or “biracial” people are more prone to mass shootings, gun violence, or the like. No. The data do not support such a claim…

Rather, I am interested in how the media is not talking about how Elliot Rodger, a version of the tragic mulatto figure, a self-hating Asian-American with deep levels of internalized racism, had those feelings mated and mixed with (likely) preexisting mental health issues, and then committed mass murder based on his racist and sexist motivations

Read the entire article here.

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Understanding Hapa Identity: More Research, Not Manifestos

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-05-31 02:30Z by Steven

Understanding Hapa Identity: More Research, Not Manifestos

AAPI Voices: Amplifying the voices of Asian Pacific America.

Danielle Lemi, Guest Columnist and doctoral student
University of California, Riverside

As more details about the tragic events at UC Santa Barbara come to light, so too have details about Elliot Rodger, particularly with respect to his racial background. In response, bloggers have begun discussing racial identity issues among hapas, focusing heavily on issues of internalized racism or psychological problems because of supposed racial identity crises.

But what does the research say?  Do multiracial individuals have more mental health problems than those not identified as such?  Early research that was poorly designed said yes, but more recent research indicates otherwise…

Read the entire article here.

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Parents’ Nightmare: Futile Race to Stop Killings

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2014-05-26 05:31Z by Steven

Parents’ Nightmare: Futile Race to Stop Killings

The New York Times

Adam Nagourney

It was Friday evening when the parents of Elliot O. Rodger clicked open the 140-page manifesto emailed to them from their son and learned of his plans for mass murder and suicide. Frightened and alarmed, they called 911 and then raced to Isla Vista, Calif., in separate cars from Los Angeles, desperate to stop him.

It was too late.

By the time they arrived, Mr. Rodger had killed six people, the police said, and had died of a self-inflicted gunshot — a display of violence that stunned the quiet ocean-side college town.

In truth, Mr. Rodger had been planning his “Day of Retribution,” as he called it in that manifesto, for three years, from the summer day that he moved into a small apartment with two roommates, the first time he lived away from home. He had arrived hoping to escape the sexual rejections that he had raged against through adolescence, but as he simmered at the happy couples walking down the streets, his thoughts turned from starting a new life to exacting revenge.

“I couldn’t believe how wrong everything was turning out,” Mr. Rodger, 22, wrote in the manifesto he sent shortly before stabbing to death three people in his apartment, including his two roommates, whom he described as “repulsive.”…

From the Manifesto titled “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger” Page 1:

…On the morning of July 24th, 1991, in a London hospital, I was born. I breathed in the first breath of life as I entered this world, weighing only 5.4 pounds. My parents must have been filled with happiness and pride that day. They had just witnessed the birth of their first child, and they named me Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger.

I was born to young parents. My father, Peter Rodger, was only 26 when he impregnated my mother, Chin, who was 30. Peter is of British descent, hailing from the prestigious Rodger family; a family that was once part of the wealthy upper classes before they lost all of their fortune during the Great Depression. My father’s father, George Rodger, was a renowned photojournalist who had taken very famous photographs during the Second World War, though he failed to reacquire the family’s lost fortune. My mother is of Chinese descent. She was born in Malaysia, and moved to England at a young age to work as a nurse on several film sets, where she became friends with very important individuals in the film industry, including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. She even dated George Lucas for a short time.

My mother and father had been married for a couple of years before my mother became pregnant with me. In fact, her pregnancy was an accident. She had been taking pills to prevent pregnancy, but when she visited my father on one of his film sets, she fell ill and the medication she took for that illness thwarted the effect of the anti-pregnancy pills, and so their lovemaking during this period resulted in my life.

Only a couple of months after my birth, I went on my first vacation. My parents took me on a boat to France. I was already a traveler! Of course, I have no memories of this trip. My mother said that I cried a lot…

From pages 17-18:

…When I became aware of this common social structure at my school, I also started to examine myself and compare myself to these “cool kids”. I realized, with some horror, that I wasn’t “cool” at all. I had a dorky hairstyle, I wore plain and uncool clothing, and I was shy and unpopular. I was always described as the shy boy in the past, but I never really thought my shyness would affect me in a negative way, until this point.

This revelation about the world, and about myself, really decreased my self-esteem. On top of this was the feeling that I was different because I am of mixed race. I am half White, half Asian, and this made me different from the normal fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with.

I envied the cool kids, and I wanted to be one of them. I was a bit frustrated at my parents for not shaping me into one of these kids in the past. They never made an effort to dress me in stylish clothing or get me a good-looking haircut. I had to make every effort to rectify this. I had to adapt.

My first act was to ask my parents to allow me to bleach my hair blonde. I always envied and admired blonde-haired people, they always seemed so much more beautiful. My parents agreed to let me do it, and father took me to a hair salon on Mulholland Drive in Woodland Hills. Choosing that hair salon was a bad decision, for they only bleached the top of my head blonde. When I indignantly questioned why they didn’t make all of my hair blonde, they said that I was too young for a full bleaching. I was furious. I thought I looked so silly with blonde hair at the top of my head and black hair at the sides and back. I dreaded going to school the next day with this weird new hair.

When I arrived at school the next day, I was intensely nervous. Before class started, I stood in a corner franticly trying to figure out how I would go about revealing this to everyone. Trevor was the first one to notice it, and he came up to me and patted my head, saying that it was very “cool”. Well, that was exactly what I wanted. My new hair turned out to be quite a spectacle, and for a few days I got a hint of the attention and admiration I so craved…

From page 84:

…My first week turned out to be very unpleasant, leaving a horrific first impression of my new life in Santa Barbara. My two housemates were nice, but they kept inviting over this friend of theirs named Chance. He was black boy who came over all the time, and I hated his cocksure attitude. Inevitably, a vile incident occurred between me and him. I was eating a meal in the kitchen when he came over and started bragging to my housemates about his success with girls. I couldn’t stand it, so I proceeded to ask them all if they were virgins. They all looked at me weirdly and said that they had lost their virginity long ago. I felt so inferior, as it reminded me of how much I have missed out in life. And then this black boy named Chance said that he lost his virginity when he was only thirteen! In addition, he said that the girl he lost his virginity to was a blonde white girl! I was so enraged that I almost splashed him with my orange juice. I indignantly told him that I did not believe him, and then I went to my room to cry. I cried and cried and cried, and then I called my mother and cried to her on the phone.

How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more. I tried not to believe his foul words, but they were already said, and it was hard to erase from my mind. If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I’ve had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthy scum, but they reject ME? The injustice!…

…His parents’ frantic trip to Isla Vista was just one missed chance to avert the tragedy. In this case, the parents’ emergency call to the police and their arrival came well after the killing spree was over.

Only weeks earlier, in late April, deputies from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office had stopped by Mr. Rodger’s apartment at the request of state mental health officials, acting on an expression of concern by his mother. They left after a calm and polite Mr. Rodger assured them that there was nothing to worry about. The officers reported that Mr. Rodger was shy and had told them that he was having difficulties in his social life.

That gave them little ground on which to act, under California law. Because Mr. Rodger was never institutionalized because of his emotional problems, he was able to legally purchase the weaponry he used in the shooting…

Read the entire article here. Read Rodgers’s manifesto here.

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