Thursday, December 13, 2012

No mention of Amanda Todd's ethnic background?

Last week I read an interview with Amanda Todd's mother somewhere and was surprised by her photo (see here, for example). Why? Because she looked Asian. In all the discussion of her suicide (Gord Sellar wrote a good piece here), I had heard nothing about her being mixed race. I only managed to find mention of it here (it says she was of mixed Chinese and European heritage), where the writer also expressed surprise at how the media hasn't focused on this at all. While I know that in Korea someone's mixed race identity would be overemphasized and brought up in the first paragraph of a news story, the complete lack of mention of race in the case of a girl who committed suicide due to bullying strikes me as more than a little odd.


BuckyHermit said...

She's from the Vancouver area. Over here, it seems that almost half of the population isn't Caucasian, to the point where nobody really cares that much anymore. (I'm Chinese Canadian and my suburb is about 60% Asian.)

That's why when I first went to Seoul, it was incredibly weird to see everyone else with the same racial characteristics -- because compared to Korea, nobody really thinks in terms of racial lines over here. The lines are quite blurred.

Hence, the media here doesn't see it worthwhile to focus on that either, unless it's a news story directly related to multiculturalism or if it's important (ie. a missing person's case).

I explained that to my Korean co-teachers once and they were so confused as to how we could do that!

K said...

Well said. Her mother is Asian, and her Dad is white but I wasn't aware of that until her mother started appearing in the papers. The thing I thought was oddest about the coverage was that her Dad was about to go and get tattooed with her before she killed herself. I'm going to get all judgmental: What kind of father takes a 15-year old girl to a tattoo parlour and gets one done with her? No wonder his wife kicked him out.

K said...

This young girl had experienced racialized and sexualized harassment and violence

- How does this person know it was racialized? There has been no mention of any of this in the press.Are they just filling in the blanks?

gordsellar said...

Huh, was just led back here by a Google search. The first comment on this post somehow got recycled into comment spam on one of my blogs!

Anyway, I never received a trackback from this post (thanks for the link, by the way). I hadn't realized about this dimension of the story. Like your last commenter, I am not wholly convinced that we can just assume there was a racial dimension to her harassment (unless more along that line has since come to light) but it's certainly interesting.

Unknown said...

Who cares what race anybody is? She was human. Being Asian or Native or Black or White has nothing to do with her story.