Let's Discuss: Asians in the Library

By now, most people have seen the Asians in the Library video posted by UCLA student "Alexandra Wallace". For those of you haven't, here's a brief summary: "Alexandra", who claims to be a "nice, well-mannered American girl", would like Asians to stop talking on their cellphones in the library. A reasonable request, but wait, there's more! The real kicker comes when she starts speaking in an incredibly crude interpretation of the Asian language, an offensive mixture of "ching-chong's" and "ting-tong's", then goes on to say "I swear they're going through their whole families, just checking on everybody from the tsunami thing."

Whoa, whoa, rewind--did she just make a reference to the tsunami that has devastated Japan's entire northeast coast, left thousands homeless and unsure of their family members' locations, and created one of the most volatile nuclear disasters since Chernobyl? Why, yes she did. This comment, along with other remarks Alexandra makes in this video, are vulgar, disgusting, and completely inexcusable, and as a member of the Asian-American community I am disappointed to see that such blatant stereotyping still exists. I would also be lying if I said I didn't feel a small sense of satisfaction in seeing her being so heavily criticized by the news and social media users--that is, to a certain extent.

"Whatever, she's just a dumb, blonde b*tch." That was one of the comments I read on someone's Facebook post, and I couldn't help but agree with the "dumb" part. But why--and this is the problem that I have with almost all of the replies on YouTube--do we feel the need to mention the fact that she's blonde? Or that she has extremely large breasts? Or any other numerous physical attributes which people have latched onto and connected with Alexandra's questionable intelligence level? By pinning her as "that dumb blonde", we only propagate a stereotype that is unjust and ill-founded. Even if you aren't blonde, but identify as a white female, then I would imagine that reading these comments is equally as hurtful as watching someone mock your race.

I sincerely wish that Alexandra Wallace learns something from this experience--I just hope it isn't that the only way to battle racism is with more racism.

If you would like to donate to help the relief efforts in Japan, please visit the Red Cross website or Charity Navigator to pick your own charity organization.

Aimee Shimizu
Assistant Blog Editor

4 comments:

  1. it is incredibly sad that people rely on stereotypes to "understand" people in their own heads, both on alexandra's part and on the facebook commenter's fault.

    people are entitled to their feelings but i think one of the major takeaway messages is: watch what you say in the social media sphere. for a girl who allegedly spends time soaking up political theory, you'd think she would understand the power speaking derogatory statements. this girl is going to have a hard time walking around campus now and getting a job - and rightfully so. what she said was hateful, disrespectful, insensitive, and ignorant. but i agree with you, aimee, criticizing alexandra by commenting on her physical appearance is doing essentially the same thing that she was doing.

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  2. Great article, Aimee. So true--- with the stereotyping thing. Disgusted as I am by her, it is disgusting that people are noting her physical attributes.

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  3. Excellent article. Sad to hear that this sort of thing is happening at all.

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  4. This comment, along with other remarks Alexandra makes in this video, are vulgar, disgusting, and completely inexcusable, and as a member of the Asian-American community I am disappointed to see that such blatant stereotyping still exists.

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