Sunday, March 13, 2011

How a UCLA girl's rant may have screwed up her life in minutes.

That's all it took, a 2 minute, 52 second You Tube video by a student ranting about Asians at UCLA, and her life will never be the same. 

That's the power of the internet.

Four hours ago, a UCLA student supposedly uploaded a video to her own You Tube channel complaining of such things, and in what may have been intended as some sort of 'dear diary' video and turned out to be a despicably lowbrow and outright offensive rant, especially her crass imitation of an Asian talking on the phone and her commentary of the Tsunami in Japan. 

Though she was said to have deleted it from her personal You Tube channel quickly, someone else has uploaded it online and released her name, thus making her infamous and now newsworthy, in the TMZ sense of the word.  

In that time, someone's also already created a fake Facebook profile in her name. Another person has remixed her rant to a techno beat, nothing worth busting out your glow sticks for. That remix has had more hits than the original. Ironically, there are probably a lot of people out there who will try to make some money off this girl. Oh my, seriously, since I began tying this, someone else has already released a hip-hop version. I wonder how many others are firing up their Mac's right now, hoping to make the next Auto-Tune sensation hit

I wonder what the UCLA girl is thinking right now, as she is watching these events unfold? Is she in shock? Is she justifying or down playing her actions?

As my roommate and I watched the video, our shock grew with every second. 

We began to talk about what repercussions this action may have in years to come, personally and professionally. 

Think about it, five years ago this would have been released on her Xanga blog where, maybe, her 50 friends and their 50 friends may have seen it. What a difference 5 years can make. 

Today, thanks to reposting and You Tube, this video is being passed back and forth among Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere galore. In the last hour alone, the number of You Tube 'dislikes' went from 1,530 to 6,195...and it's still rising. 

I wonder what kind of backlash she'll face tomorrow on campus. 
I wonder if she'll end up having to leave 'her school' if things get ugly. 
I wonder how she'll respond.

And how will the Asian American student population at UCLA respond? 

There are already some response videos posted on You Tube, by both Asian and non-Asian students alike. Some wonder if she'll be expelled

Do you think she should be? 

Some are defending her comments, citing freedom of speech. Others are unknowingly exposing their own racist attitudes, as they applaud her. 

I wonder if 10 years from now, when this girl is in her 30's, getting ready for a job interview, if this 2 minute, 52 second video, filmed 10 years prior, will come back to haunt her. I hope not, but unlike people, the internet doesn't discriminate and is unforgiving.

My hope is that 'UCLA girl' and her rant will open up a greater conversation about racial attitudes, especially on our college campuses.   

Through this, I hope that Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US will advocate for one another and give voice to the many stories that make up the pan-Asian experience in America. Stories full of 'dreams, hard work, prejudice, discrimination, persistence, and triumph.'  

I hope that all of us will be able to search our own hearts to unearth the toxic thoughts, judgements, and attitudes hidden within us, whether or not they leak on You Tube, that break down others and lift up our own culture, experience and selves as more worthy. A soul sickness for which there is only one antidote, one of grace. 

As for you, Alexandra, as an Asian American, I forgive you.
I hope that these 3 minutes of your day do not ruin the rest of your life. 


Teri said...

I find myself with tears in my eyes for someone who publicized her racist thoughts, seems like rooting for the bad guy in a movie. What she said was so wrong, but like you emphasize, this could ruin her life. If all of my sinful thoughts were posted on the internet, I'd be ruined. Then again, SHE posted them. Like you, I'm curious what posture she's taking right now. Humble or defensive? You gotta wonder, if she posted it in the first place. It's so powerful that you forgive her. I sure hope others will, if she asks. IV is on that campus, right? Wow... lots to pray for here.

Noemi said...

Wow, Layla, this is a powerful post. I agree with you that though it is painful to know that there are people who still hold racist attitudes, hopefully events such as this one will serve to open up meaningful dialogue that leads towards restoration. Perhaps we won't see reconciliation between ethnicities fully lived out on this side of heaven, but in the meantime we have something to pray and work towards. Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

I love your heart.

heathorock said...

On a recent urban plunge, this video was a topic of lengthy discussion.
I agree with Teri -- we'd all be in big trouble if our true thoughts were posted on the internet (another reason it's good to filter those!).
Thanks for your perspective!

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