Several weeks ago, UCLA poli sci student Alexandra Wallace created a youtube video voicing her opinions on Asians in the library. The video, which very obviously crossed the line into racism went viral and in days, Wallace had created a mistake that she couldn’t undo.
After the incident, Wallace took responsibility for her actions and released the following statement to the UCLA student 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.
In the days following, the UCLA administration conducted an investigation concluding that imposing academic consequences was outside of their scope
As a public university, UCLA protects free expression. While I and most on campus were appalled by the sentiments expressed in a recent YouTube video, we have uncovered no facts that lead us to believe that the Student Code of Conduct was violated. We have no intention of pursuing a disciplinary matter. Statement by Janina Montero, vice chancellor for student affairs
However, this investigation was not the only fallout from the video. Reactions reached the point of death threats (because fighting racism with violence is always the best answer [yes, that was sarcasm]) and Wallace’s interactions with the University quickly turned from investigation to protection. In fact, Wallace has decided to no longer attend UCLA as noted in a letter she wrote to The Daily Bruin
In an attempt to produce a humorous YouTube video, I have offended the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture. I am truly sorry for the hurtful words I said and the pain it caused to anyone who watched the video. Especially in the wake of the ongoing disaster in Japan, I would do anything to take back my insensitive words. I could write apology letters all day and night, but I know they wouldn’t erase the video from your memory, nor would they act to reverse my inappropriate action.
I made a mistake. My mistake, however, has lead to the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats, and being ostracized from an entire community. Accordingly, for personal safety reasons, I have chosen to no longer attend classes at UCLA.
One might question where Wallace will find solace in a world with no borders.
The Huffington Post has written a critical piece asking if the reaction to Wallace’s video was inappropriate. In their article, they pinpoint the most offensive part of the video as Wallace’s rendition of Asian languages, “In the most offensive part of the video, Wallace used a mock Asian accent and ethnic slur to portray her version of what Asian students said on their cellphones in the UCLA library: ‘Ohhh. Ching chong ling long ting tong.’” (This author argues that there were quite a few other remarks that were much more inappropriate…)
Further, the Post argues (emphasis mine)
We do have to remember that she is a college student. There’s perhaps no other population that is as prone to saying or doing inappropriate or embarrassing things as college students. Yet, at the same time, college students probably have one of the greatest opportunities for personal growth, learning, and expanding their horizons. And colleges have a responsibility to educate their students, no matter how foolish at times they may be. It would be a pity if an institution as great as UCLA could not figure out a way to reach out to Alexandra Wallace and its entire student body, in order to make this unfortunate incident, to borrow President Obama’s apt phrase, a teachable moment.
Anyone see anything wrong with that picture? Stereotyping, anyone?
Our forefathers were blessed with their slow presses – books and newspapers- they had time to sit on their thoughts. The evolving social media has allowed anybody to share any thought, well thought through or rash and then to have that thought shared across the world in seconds This leaves our generation with the question of how to fix rash mistakes; to hide, to apologize or to stand up and say, “yeah, that’s what I think. What of it?” Perhaps what’s most disturbing though is that in a world that has come so far, our reactions to such insensitivity are sophomoric – for a wise response would be to realize that words are stronger and more effective than violence.
An earlier version of this post contained the word “solstice” where it should have been “solace,” The Commentator regrets this egregious error…To report any other incredibly important copy errs’ please contact email@example.com