Tuesday, March 15, 2011

White UCLA Student Wonders When Asians Are Going to Get Manners



Transcript

Okay so here at UCLA it's finals week. So we know that I am not the most politically correct person, so don't take this offensively.  I don't mean it towards any of my friends.  I mean it towards ordinary people that I don't even know in the library, so you guys are not the problem.  The problem is these hordes of people that UCLA accepts into our school every year, which is fine -- but if you are going to come to UCLA -- then use American manners. So, it used to really bother me but it doesn't really bug me anymore, the fact that all the Asian people that live in all the apartments their moms and their brothers and their sisters and there grandmas and their grandpas and their cousins and everybody that they they know that they brought along from Asia with them, comes here on the weekends to do their laundry, buy their groceries and cook their food for a week.  It's seriously without fail, you will always see old Asian people running around this complex every weekend, that's what they do.  They don't teach their kids to fend for themselves.  You know what don't also teach them is their manners, which brings me to my next point.


Hi, in America, we do not talk on our cell  phones in the library, where every five minutes, okay not five minutes say fifteen minutes, I'll be like deep into my studying, into my political science theories and arguments, and getting it all down, I'll be typing away furiously like blah blah blah and then all of a sudden when I'm about to like reach an epiphany over here from somewhere, Ooooh ching chong ting long ooooh.  Are you frigging kidding me, in the middle of finals week?  So being the polite the nice polite American girl that my momma raised me to be, I kind of just gave him what anyone else would do.  That kind of (she raises a finger to her lip and makes a sssh gesture)  you know it's a library, like we're kind of trying to study thanks.  And then it's the same thing like five minutes later but it's somebody else.  I swear they're going through their whole family just checking on everybody from the tsunami thing and I mean I know that sounds horrible. I like feel horrible for the people effected by the tsunami, but if you're going to go call like your address book, look, like you might as well go outside, 'cause if something is wrong you might like really freak out if you're in the library and everybody's quiet, like you should seriously go outside if you are going to do that.  


So thanks for listening that was my rant.  Even if you are not Asian, you really shouldn't be on your cellphone in the library, but I just have never seen that happen before.  So thank you for listening and have a nice day.

Apparently, Alexandra Wallace has since apologized in the campus newspaper The Daily Bruin
“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.”
This caught my attention, because I can honestly say that throughout my educational experience, this is the sort of racism that I have seen aimed at Asian students.  By highschool, we were very much segregated and this sort of behaviour did not end when I went to college.  I think I found myself identifying because as a Black Canadian, I was and am hyper aware of the fact that I am always perceived as coming from somewhere else, even though I was born in Toronto Canada.  Asian students receive much the same treatment.  There are callous comments on the way that they speak English and dismissive behaviour when they speak their own language.  There is a complete denial of the fact that Asians have lived in North America for generations.  They are in many ways perceived as coming from elsewhere and that is specifically why Wallace perceives herself as American and all the Asians she spoke of as 'other'.  This is about more than being politically incorrect.  This is about outright racism.

I was further drawn to this video because socially there is a very persistent suggestion that Asians are the good people of colour.  They supposedly are the ones that achieve the most and are apparently the least threatening to Whiteness that is unless they are pursuing higher education, speaking their own language, or succeeding in every way.  Whiteness is quite happy to see an Asian convenience store owner, a Chinese restaurant owner, or working in a laundry.  They have a tendency to pull out the whole "Asians are the good immigrants" line to encourage a divisive split between people of colour. This in no way stops them from holding and perpetuating various racist stereotypes aimed specifically at Asians.

I hope that Wallace learned something from this incident.  To often, racism is thought of in a Black/White binary, when the truth is, as long as you are a person of colour in North America, you can and will be subject to racist behaviour by White people at anytime.