"Asians in the Library" + Tsunami

/ Thursday, March 31, 2011 /
Hi Everyone,

Sorry it's been a long time since I last posted. I've been incredibly busy with classes, work, extracurrics, etc etc etc. Life is definitely kinda crazy right now.

I'd like to talk about the Alexandra Wallace youtube video.

So, in case you've been, as the cliche goes, "living under a rock" for the past few weeks, there was a youtube post on the day that the Japan Tsunami/Earthquake hit (March 11) about Asians and how they talk excessively and loudly in the library. There were also slurs of Eastern Asian speech ("ching chong ting tong ling long"). In addition, there were negative perceptions about East Asian students in college housing apartments and how their parents came on the weekends to help them do all of their chores, etc.

Here it is:

Especially in light of the earthquake, the reaction was quite severe. According to several newspaper articles, Ms. Alexandra Wallace, the girl in the video, received death threats, had to cancel and reschedule her exams, and became notorious as a result of the virality of her video on Youtube. She publicly apologized for the statements she made in the video.

My perceptions and judgment? First, yes, there are prejudicial issues involved here, especially with the "Asian relatives from Asia" and "Ching chong ting tong ling long." As a Chinese person, I seriously do not know what that means. I guess the closest thing that relates to "ching chong" is a blatant mispronunciation (Americanized Chinese version) of qing chong (青虫), which literally means "spring bug." "Ting tong" could literally be mispronounced as "listening to children" perhaps, (听同), and "ling long" could be misprounounced as "lifting a dragon" (玲珑 - I know the first character isn't the correct character but right now I can't find the actual one). I know it's just a stereotype, but this is what it really means XD.

Anyways, back to my point. I feel like this situation has gotten out of control. She didn't deserve the death threats, and she's already been punished enough. She had to cancel and reschedule her finals, for heavens sakes. She received a ton of notoriety and it will follow her for many years. And yes, I know for a fact that a lot of Asians DO talk in the library. When I need to talk in the library, I go outside or in the bathroom to talk because I know it's disturbing for other students, but yes, I do have quite a few Asian friends who talk in the library. At the same time, though, I do my own laundry, do not say "ching chong ting tong ling long" (as you can see above, the literal translations for this are kind of ridiculous, especially when put together - spring bug listening to children and lifting a dragon? come on), feel sorry for people in the earthquake (I donated some money to the American Red Cross when my friends held a fundraiser for it), and do not talk in the library.

In short, my evaluation of it is that it happened, and the world has seen it, but there are also other things in life that people need to think about, like the tsunami itself, the nuclear radiation problems in Japan, the conflicts in the Middle East, the economy, rising gas prices, education reform, obesity, and everything else. Let's now concentrate on making the world a better place by working on those issues.


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