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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Outcry over ‘Asians in the Library’ misguided

“”Ooh ching chong ling long ting tong ooh”” is Asian for “”What the hell, Internet?””

All right, not really. The question still stands though, and it’s a two-parter: First, what the hell, Alexandra Wallace? Wallace, a political science student at the University of California, Los Angeles, achieved Internet fame last week when she posted a video on YouTube. The video, a “”rant”” that she titled “”Asians in the Library,”” went viral during spring break.

Wallace begins by pointing out to the audience that she’s not the most politically correct person, so don’t take what she’s about to say offensively. Then Wallace goes on to describe how many Asians have been admitted to UCLA, and how they’re invading her apartment complex and the library. This wouldn’t be so terrible, if they weren’t always chatting on their cell phones. She sing-songs a little rhyme that goes, “”Ching chong ling long ting tong.”” According to Wallace, it’s what all those Asians are chanting while “”checking on everybody from the tsunami thing.””

Don’t forget, guys, don’t take it offensively.

The sequel to “”What the hell, Internet?”” picks up shortly after the saga of Wallace leaves off. Wallace’s rant sets the Internet on fire, UCLA gets embarrassed and releases a statement calling the video “”repugnant,”” a Facebook group encourages that users report her to the dean and people call for her expulsion from UCLA. According to the Daily Bruin, Wallace reported receiving death threats by phone and email.

It goes without saying that Wallace is beyond ridiculous, and the mother who she claims to have raised her to be a “”nice, polite American girl,”” is probably deeply ashamed. Unfortunately, the response to Wallace hardly proves anyone else is any classier.

Wallace’s rant was ignorant and childish. But on a scale of 1 to racist, it was pretty mild. She could have said a lot worse. More than that, it wasn’t anything new. The only way it could have been more of a stale cliche was if Wallace had pulled the corners of her eyes into little slits while chanting.

The difference between Wallace and playground bullies is that she chose to broadcast her mistake on the Internet, and people won’t let her take it back. Sending her death threats and calling for her expulsion sends one message to Wallace: Way to go, Alex, you really pissed a bunch of people off. But it fails to teach her why people are so angry.

The backlash led Wallace to releasing two statements to the Daily Bruin. Both apologized for the video, but the second ends with an announcement: “”I made a mistake. My mistake, however, has lead (sic) 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.””

People make mistakes, and need to be offered the opportunity to learn from them, not forced to run away. In elementary school, when a little kid picks on another kid for having funny-shaped eyes or weird hair, you don’t tell the little kid they deserve to die. You sit them down and you explain to them that everyone’s a little different.

You can’t fight stupid with stupid. You don’t stop stupid by driving her to withdrawing from school. Stupid doesn’t respond to name-calling or death threats, and there’s nothing to feel morally superior about when you try to scare stupid out of people.

— Kristina Bui is the opinions editor of the Daily Wildcat. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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