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why I’m grateful for Alexandra Wallace

20 March 2011

Alexandra Wallace showed herself to be a racist (even if she takes it back). If you live under a rock, and don’t know who/what I’m talking about:

I was furious when I watched the clip for the first time, primarily because of her offensive tirade against Asians, but also because she was a student at UCLA, my alma mater, and thus was making Bruins look bad. I couldn’t believe on a campus where Asian/Pacific Islanders are the largest ethnic group on campus that there could be such hate and ignorance.

Asian Americans are seen as a model minority. We often don’t qualify for minority-oriented scholarships or programs because many Asian Americans manage to achieve despite our minority status. But there remains a great deal of inequality, and by looking at the broad category of Asian Americans (vs. more narrow regional origins, i.e., Cambodian American, Korean American, etc.), we overlook that there are some groups that face incredible hardship:

…in California, almost 40% of all Vietnamese refugees are on public assistance and in Minnesota and Wisconsin, an equal number of Cambodians, Hmong, and Laotians also receive public assistance. (source)

Upon reflection and seeing all the responses (see this, this, and especially this), I’m actually a bit grateful for her initial rant. You see, because we’re a “model minority,” no one thinks there’s racism against Asian Americans any more. Alexandra Wallace proves anyone who thinks so wrong. She may be taking it back now (I think mostly because of the ire her vlog drew), but I don’t think in her heart of hearts she disagrees with the idea that somehow Asians are different from her in ways that make us inferior to her. She might be an idiot, but her truth is displayed for us to see that at last some people out there are so comfortable in their ethnocentricism as to share it with the world.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 21 March 2011 11:12 am

    I wasn’t as surprised to learn someone at UCLA was a racist as I was that someone could have such poor judgment as to put it on YouTube. It makes one question whether the girl was truly intelligent enough to be admitted to a selective university.

    There are racists everywhere. Political correctness in the US has not ended racism, just (with obvious exceptions) driven it underground.

    In Asia, it’s still on the surface, though I have seen an improvement over the past couple of decades. Still, you get used to seeing people give up a precious seat on the subway, preferring to stand rather than sit next to a foreigner.

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