Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beating Racism with a Funny Bone? UCLA White Girl Rant

With the ending of my quarter teaching Asian American contemporary issues, a UCLA student's racist youtube.com vlog rant against "Asians in the Library" goes viral. See below.

After having over a million hits in a few short days and a swell of negative responses, Alexandra Wallace, a member of the vlog Internet frontier, clearly had no idea her image and words would have such far reaching audiences. So, in a vain attempt at damage control, she issued a public apology, "Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate. I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I'd like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand."

Protected by the First Amendment right to free speech, UCLA did not take punitive measures, however, their chancellor came out with his own video to address the issue.

Asian American community groups and individuals chimed in as well. The Asian American Studies Department and Center issued a statement that included this observation, "
As the only University of California campus without a diversity requirement, UCLA surely needs to implement a diversity requirement that will expose every student to the task of living civilly with people of different origins, backgrounds, orientations, and beliefs, whether they are born here or come from abroad."

But most striking of all in my opinion, is how Asian American youth have responded. Not known to vocally express discontent, "comments" on the net have been equally racist and even sexist. Parodies by youtube Asian American "comics" have also run rampant, like the one below.

Possibly my favorite responses tended to be artistic in nature. Check out this catchy tune below.

As amusing as the reactions have been, a thought remains, how effective are they in curbing racism and ignorance on campuses nationally? Instead of hitting the pavement, rioting, demanding social justice, Asian Americans have been fighting back with their weapon of choice, the "funny bone."

Yes, the outrage is there as is apparent in the formal statements, vlogs, and "comment" sections of Internet publications. But, does anger and hysteria masked by humor alone change social discontent? I argue, NO! Thoughts?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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