There’s a joke that I’ve heard both Caucasian and Asian people laugh at:
What does UCLA stand for?
The University of Caucasians Lost among Asians.
A quick internet search reveals that, in fact, something like 40% of the student body at UCLA is Asian.
So when you hear that a certain white UCLA female student is the star of a rant video on YouTube attacking Asian students, you might think one or more of the following:
- She’s a fool.
- She’s a racist.
- It’s some kind of ploy, concocted in order to catapult her to fame, however dubious.
I haven’t watched her video, nor do I intend to. In fact, I’m not even going to post a link, or mention her name.
I gather, from all the outrage, that the gist of the rant video is something like this:
Asian students are objectionable, because of all the obnoxious things that they do. They’re always talking in the library to each other or on their cell phones. A lot of them can’t speak English very well. Their parents are always showing up on weekends to do their laundry, clean and cook. Blah, blah, blah.
The subtext of the the video is something like this:
Hey, all you Asian students! Why can’t you learn how to act more like white people? You’re totally ruining my college experience with your non-white ways.
And, hey, all you white people out there! Don’t put up with these Asian students! If more of us speak our minds, maybe we can fight this thing!
I’m not going to call her a racist. That word gets thrown around so much, it’s losing its meaning. (Like when a Right Winger calls someone a Socialist.)
What I will say is that she’s wrong. Consider:
- None of the bad behavior she complains of hurts anyone. Annoying? Perhaps. But you can’t tell me that talking on a cell phone is anywhere near as bad as, say, drunk driving.
- Not all Asian students act the way she describes. In fact, believe it or not, there is a huge range of behaviors among Asian students just like (dare I say it?) there’s a huge range of behaviors among white students. And believe it or not, there are a lot of Asian students who get annoyed when another Asian student is talking on a cell phone in the library.
- Some white students do really obnoxious things. Some white students (gasp!) talk loudly in the library! Some white students get drunk every weekend at super-loud parties that annoy the shit out of some Asian students! (Hey, maybe you’re one of them!)
- Asian students who speak with an accent aren’t doing it on purpose! Having studied Korean and Chinese (at UCLA, as a matter of fact), I can tell you that the worst speakers of English at UCLA are doing way better than I could ever hope to do if I were a student in Seoul or Beijing.
- And guess what? Every single white student and Asian student is a human being with good points and bad points. (Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m having a little trouble seeing Ms. YouTube’s good points — but I’m sure she’s got some somewhere…)