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Opinion | The Deep American Roots of the Atlanta Shootings


In 1974, a soldier, Park Estep, 25, was convicted of a criminal offense towards two ladies on the Suezy Oriental Therapeutic massage Parlor close to Fort Carson in Colorado. In keeping with court docket

paperwork, he slashed the throat of Yon Cha Ye Lee, 32, an worker on the parlor, and stabbed her within the again. He then raped 36-year-old Solar Okay Cousin, the spa’s proprietor, earlier than capturing her in the suitable temple, killing her after which setting her on fireplace. In 1993, Kenneth Markle III, 20, a medic at a U.S. army base in South Korea, was convicted of murdering Yun Kum-i, a 26-year-old intercourse employee. Her sexually-abused corpse was discovered close to the bottom.

For the reason that horrible occasions this previous Tuesday, a lot effort has been dedicated to understanding Mr. Lengthy — an earnest inquiry that betrays a selected form of American naïveté. He claimed to have been pushed by “sexual habit”; investigators haven’t but dominated out race as an element. For now, we have no idea whether or not the therapeutic massage parlor staff who had been killed would have thought-about themselves intercourse staff, and we might by no means know. However the reply is much less related to their deaths than their assassin’s reply: Does it matter how one identifies oneself if a mass killer conflates any Asian lady in a therapeutic massage parlor with a intercourse employee?

The stereotype of the Asian lady as concurrently hypersexualized and submissive is borne of centuries of Western imperialism. An early documented occasion of Asian fetishization might be present in “Madame Chrysantheme,” a thinly fictionalized account of a French naval officer’s time visiting Nineteenth-century Japan. “Madame Chrysantheme” was wildly common when it was revealed, and went on to create a subgenre of Orientalizing prose. The ladies in such accounts had been, as Edward Mentioned wrote in “Orientalism,” “creatures of a male power-fantasy. They specific limitless sensuality, they’re roughly silly, and above all they’re keen.”

Later, an untold variety of American servicemen in Korea and Vietnam had their first sexual encounter with Asian ladies. The U.S. army tacitly endorsed prostitution, contemplating it good for morale, and at occasions even explicitly inspired troops to discover the native intercourse trade. In keeping with the e book “Intercourse Amongst Allies” by Katharine Moon, a professor of political science at Wellesley School, an advert in Stars and Stripes, the principle army newspaper, learn: “Image having three or 4 of the loveliest creatures God ever created hovering round you, singing, dancing, feeding you, washing what they feed you down with rice wine or beer, all saying directly, ‘You’re the best.’ That is the Orient you heard about and got here to search out.”

Yuri Doolan, an assistant professor of historical past and of ladies’s, gender and sexuality research at Brandeis College, has written that the primary Korean therapeutic massage parlor staff more than likely got here to the USA within the Nineteen Fifties after the USA diminished its forces in South Korea after the warfare there. They had been unlikely to have been therapeutic massage parlor staff earlier than they got here: The son of one of many victims has stated his mom informed him she was a instructor earlier than coming to the USA.



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