Among the many disturbing revelations we’re learning about UCSB shooter Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and himself on a violent rampage last night, is that it wasn’t only the “attractive” women who wouldn’t sleep with him that he had issues with, but the non-white men, a.k.a. “the obnoxious brutes”, who seemingly were able to date these women while he, “the supreme gentlemen”, could not.
But while it would be easy to paint Rodger as a fucked-up and privileged white male with problems, it turns out he’s hapa Asian—a “Eurasian” with a British father and an Asian mother.
And it sounds like he had issues with his own racial identity that may have helped fuel his rampage. Here’s an excerpt from the 140-page manifesto he left behind where he describes an encounter with an African American friend of his roommate who claimed to have lost his virginity at 13:
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!
While he acknowledges that he is hapa and “beautiful,” what’s telling in this statement is how he frames his identity. He is “half white” not “half Asian.” He is “descended from British aristocracy”. No mention of his Asian roots. And if there were any doubt how he felt about “Asian men,” postings he left on the Puahate.com site makes it pretty clear. In one post, Rodger responded to an Asian male who asked if buying a certain brand of shows would help him attract women. Rodger responded by writing:
Shoes won’t help you get white girls. White girls are disgusted by you, silly little Asian.
And when the Asian man posted pictures of himself with a white woman, this was Rodger’s response:
Full Asian men are disgustingly ugly and white girls would never go for you. You’re just butthurt that you were born as an asian piece of shit, so you lash out by linking these fake pictures. You even admit that you wish you were half white. You’ll never be half-white and you’ll never fulfill your dream of marrying a white woman. I suggest you jump off a bridge.
And if that wasn’t clear enough, he also wrote more in his manifesto:
I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian. I never had that kind of attention from a white girl! And white girls are the only girls I’m attracted to, especially the blondes. How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them?
Two new housemates moved into my apartment for the Autumn semester. They were two foreign Asian students who attended UCSB. These were the biggest nerds I had ever seen, and they were both very ugly with annoying voices.
Now, I know a lot of hapas who’ve had various struggles with their identities, but none of them went on a killing spree. Some of them have gone through periods where they may have been ashamed of their Asianness, but for the most part, they’ve been able to come to terms with who they are.
But Rodger seems to have completely tipped over to the other side—rejecting his Asianness while holding up his whiteness as something that should automatically give him access to what he thinks he rightly deserves, in this case, the blonde white women he’s attracted to. He may call himself “a beautiful Eurasian,” but we know what side of the fence he’d firmly plant his feet on if, damnit, life weren’t so unfair.
I’m still trying to process all the news that’s coming in so I don’t profess to have any sort of insight into how his own racial identity played into his actions–all I have at the moment are questions. Perhaps he was just another lonely and troubled man—a self-described “victim” who felt his only recourse was to lash out and blame everyone else for his situation instead of taking responsibility for his own misogyny, racism and misplaced sense of privilege. But I think the truth is more complicated than that and in the next days and weeks, I’m sure a more detailed picture of this young man will begin to emerge. And I suspect what we’ll see will be even more disturbing than what we’ve learned so far, not because it’ll further prove how fucked-up Rodger was—no, we already have plenty of evidence of that–but because it’ll raise more questions that may hit even closer to home.
UPDATE 5/25: It’s being reported that the three victims found in Rodger’s apartment were Asian American males–at least two of them were purported to be his roommates.