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UCLA Student’s YouTube Rant About Asians Sparks Free Speech Controversy

UCLA Student’s YouTube Rant About Asians Sparks Free Speech Controversy

Earlier this week, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace recorded a rant in which she complained about Asian students using cellphones in the library; about Asian students needing to ‘use American manners.’ Wallace posted the video on YouTube, where—a result not anticipated by the three-year political science student—it has been seen by over two million people so far and ‘become the subject of nationwide condemnation and the catalyst of a debate about racial intolerance and free speech,’ says the New York Times

Here is some of what Wallace said on the video:

“The problem is these hordes of Asian people that UCLA accepts into our school every single year, which is fine. But if you’re going to come to UCLA then use American manners. 

“So it used to really bug me but it doesn’t bother me anymore the fact that all the Asian people that live in all the apartments around me — their moms and their brothers and their sisters and their grandmas and their grandpas and their cousins and everybody that they know that they’ve brought along from Asia with them — comes here on the weekends to do their laundry, buy their groceries and cook their food for the week. It’s seriously, without fail. You will always see old Asian people running around this apartment complex every weekend. That’s what they do. They don’t teach their kids to fend for themselves. You know what they don’t also teach them, is their manners.”

Wallace has taken down the video, which can still be seen online. Please note that that the original contains offensive language.

UCLA has condemned the video, the Los Angeles Times reports. The University’s chancellor, Gene Block, released a statement on Monday in which he said that the video is “thoughtless and hurtful” and called for more civil discourse. Says UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton:

“We’ve seen the video and it includes comments that we find offensive. They are contrary to the values of UCLA.”

Wallace has released this statement to UCLA’s student newspaper, The Daily Bruin:  

“Clearly the original video posted by my 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 view of the widespread use of YouTube among college students—Wallace’s surprise at the reaction to her video seems a bit disingenuous.

Wallace may face disciplinary action from UCLA.

 

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Photo by Neeta Lind.

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65 comments

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1:16AM PDT on Mar 30, 2011

THANKS 2 INFORM

7:39AM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

Maybe 'freedom of speech' needs to be redefined. Otherwise I assume I am perfectly within my rights to stand up and shout 'f*** off at the President? How would that go down?

8:40PM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Free speech! she has a right to her opinion!!! And while picking out Asians may not be true many people in this country LACK MANNERS!
When I go to another country I follow their way of doing things. Common courtesy.
I LOVE this girl and feel bad she was pressured to give an apology.

11:38AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

thanks noted

10:26AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Ya so she may not have gone about it right but I do agree that people need to learn respect. The library should have signes at the door that says no cell phone use in the library. I hate hearing them in resturants I visit. She has a point.

10:14AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Yes, she was practicing free speech and has the right to do so... including the right to flaunt her own lack of manners, immaturity, ignorance and bigotry. If you don't want people to see the true you (when it isn't pretty as the physical appearance), you shouldn't put the true you out for public consumption, because people have just as much right to judge you and you do to judge them....

12:11AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

How Ridiculously Un-Couth this silly girl came across... Hard to Believe she was even accepted into university for starters Talk About American Manners... Very well then... Stop Flaunting Your Cleavage there, Silly Girl...

9:54PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Regardless of how offensive, hurtful or objectionable her words were, she was well within her First Amendment rights to speak those words. Look at the recent Supreme Court ruling about the Westboro Baptist Church protesting military funerals. Yes, their words and actions are hurtful to many people (not to mention abhorrent), but they have the right of free speech to do so. UCLA should limit their response to the fact that they do not share her views and leave it at that, otherwise they may have a lawsuit on their hands.

9:36PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

She's right about people on mobile phones in libraries.... they are very annoying. And because overseas students or new migrants, or even 2nd-generation migrants often don't know the cultural rules in their new country, they are more likely to be speaking more loudly than the local norm. This, anyway, is my personal experience. The person talking loudly on their mobile phone in the library or computer room at the University of Sydney here in Australia is likely to be speaking French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Cantonese or Japanese. They are just following their own cultural rules, and have not yet realised that the rules in Australia are different, and that they are disturbing other people. And they probably will not realise it by themselves. Someone will have to tell them.

6:57PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Was this taken from Saturday Night Live? The show's humor has gone down hill too. A little more cleavage would have helped the parody, Valley Girl.

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