Last year it was Alexandra Wallace, a UCLA student, who posted an amazingly racist rant on YouTube about all the Asians at her school. The video went viral, led to a bunch of satires by Asian Americans, and she got blasted for her insensitivity. She subsequently apologized for the video, then dropped out of school.
Now, the 2012 sequel to Alexandra Wallace’s video is by a 16-year-old secondary school student in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
This video is outrageously racist. She goes off on the South Asians in her town and at her school, and equates them all with terrorists, calling them “turbanators.” She complains that walking down the hall at school, all she can smell is curry, and ends the rant by urging anyone who’s “brown” watching the video to “go back to your own country. I’m getting really tired of you guys taking over my city.”
The video is so over-the-top, I had to wonder if she was mentally stable. At one point, the 16-year-old spells out her name and invites other white people to connect with her on Twitter and Facebook (I’m not going to use her name here).
Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man posted a full text transcript of the video (some of the audio is hard to understand):
I have something I need to talk about. And I can’t talk about it to anybody at my school, because you know what? Everybody at my school is brown. Okay? Brampton, man. Bramp-ton. Do you have enough turbanators? I mean, I walk down the street, I don’t see any white people. I see these turbans. Man, I swear they had shanks in there, by the way. Man, why do I have to live here? Why couldn’t I live in Toronto where I used to live? Why I gotta come back to Bram-ladesh? Man, I live in Canada. I don’t live in a terrorist country. Why’s there so many turbans? Turban, terrorist. Terrorist, turban. They go together, man. Canada’s supposed to be… [sigh] …you know, safe? No. Tell me why I walk down the halls and all I smell is curry. Smell curry, brown. Brown, curry — they go together. Man, that smell kills me on the inside. Anyway, can we get some more white people at my school? Brampton, come on. Seriously. Anyway, if you’re white and you’re watching this, and you feel the same way I feel, please message me. Add me on Facebook. [Spells her name]. Or follow me on Twitter. [gives her Twitter handle]. And please help this situation. ‘Cause it’s starting to really cheese me. That was really ugly. But anyway, if you’re brown and watching this, go back to your own country. I’m getting really tired of you guys taking over my city. Anyway, bye.
Her Twitter and Facebook accounts have apparently been closed down. The young girl’s father was interviewed by the Toronto Star in a story headlined “Teen truly regrets making racist video, dad says.”
Her father told the Star that the girl has non-white friends and that she isn’t racist.
But her father says his daughter is truly sorry she made the video, which is â€œtotally out of character,â€ and that she has struggled with depression and is now in hospital.
The article also reports that the girl has received death threats and, according to other students, was attacked and that police were called to escort her out; she hasn’t returned to school since.
Although her video is outrageous and offensive, I feel bad for her. She’s younger than Wallace, who (I think) should have known better and who should have been more worldly, attending UCLA. But this 11th-grader comes across as not just ignorant, but immature. One two-minute blast of ill-conceived hate speech may have irrevocably affected the trajectory of her life. She’s been slammed with counter-hate messages on YouTube from both South Asians and others, and I think that’s the wrong response. We can all be angry, but I do’t think someone like this misguided young women learns from being attacked for something she blurted out. It’s better to start a lot of dialogues online, and get the issue of racism out in the open and start educating ignorant people.
What concerns me more than the girl and the video itself is the apparent ease with which her viciousness towards South Asians came out. Of course her father’s going to say she’s not racist.
And she may not be — most of the time. But when push came to shove, these hateful words came pouring out of her mouth. I have to wonder where she learned them, if her friends use them, if she overheard them at home. She didn’t come up with the words and the thoughts. And she’s not the only one who’s exposed to this kind of thought and values that condone hate speech. She’s not alone.
That’s what I’m worried about.
UPDATE APRIL 23, 2012
On the other hand, I’m heartened by the many responses to the racist video, many of which are made by non-Asians. So despite my worries, maybe there’s hope after all. Here’s a thoughtful YouTube response from a South Asian Canadian: