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Despite Apologies from Racist Frat, UC Irvine Black Students Stick to Demands - The Feminist Wire

Despite Apologies from Racist Frat, UC Irvine Black Students Stick to Demands

You might already know that a series of racist behaviors toward Black people recently brought national attention to University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) campus. A recent video by Lambda Theta Delta (LTD), UCI’s oldest Asian American interest fraternity, showed its members participating in a party involving racist blackface. The video was used for rush recruitment, briefly introducing the fraternity to people the fraternity wanted to impress.

It was a little over a week ago that Black Student Union (BSU) co-presidents Ainaria Johnson and Kala Lacy, saw the video. Within a few hours, they responded by gathering a group of 60 students from the Cross Cultural Center and by organizing a spontaneous protest that disrupted a meeting where the fraternity was present with the chants “While there is racism, we will not rest!”

No Racism Intended.”

Indeed, given LTD’s track record alone, it is difficult not to blame the organization, let alone campus Greek culture in general. That subculture is simply one of several bastions of a certain kind of racism called antiblack racism.

LTD apparently feels okay enough about the blackface thing that they’ve now been caught doing it on video twice (and who knows how many times they have not been caught). The fraternity’s apologies claim the frat’s ignorance about how offensive blackface is. But, as Arturo Garcia of Racialicious pointed out, this seems really disingenuous. At some point, a half-assed, weak disclaimer was added to the video, reading, “Disclaimer: No racism intended.” What the disclaimer shows, of course, is that somebody affiliated with the fraternity knew that LTD’s practices could be perceived as racist, and used it to recruit people anyway. And it appears that LTD learned so little about blackface that their UCI chapter president Darius Obana actually said that the earlier blackface incident was “the equivalent to a female powdering her face to go [to a party] as Snow White.”Unknown

This is a good example of how people need not be accountable to Black people in an antiblack world. The comparison of blackface to Snow White might be a product of ignorance on Obana’s part, but it is an ignorance that he gets away with on an antiblack campus because he can. Obana’s ignorance of Black history won’t hurt him any. But it will hurt those Black people with whom he comes in contact. I talked with a former Pi Beta Phi member and UCI alum, here we will call her Shana, who doesn’t buy the ignorance excuse. “Nobody is that ignorant. They just don’t care.”

Shana has seen a lot of campus Greek culture, and says that the use of racist epithets is “very common” and racism is “constant.” As the only Black member of her chapter, she tells of one of her sorority sisters admiring her “nigger lips. “When she demanded the issue be made right, the sorority told her not to be so “sensitive” about it and successfully pressured her not to take her complaint any further. In a particularly grotesque incident, Shana mentions that during her pregnancy, people in an anonymous chat room frequented by members of the campus Greek community “would say these awful things about me, like ‘Somebody stick that bitch with a coat hanger’ or ‘Someone go push her down some stairs [to abort the baby]’ or ‘She’s black so she’s gonna have like 7 kids by the time she’s 25.’”

Yet, even as Shana has seen the depths of antiblack racism among campus Greek culture, she supports and agrees with with the BSU in saying that the real issue is that antiblack racism pervades campus environments, like UCI and far beyond. “I don’t think it’s that we eradicate this fraternity and this blackface video and things will automatically be safe for black people.”

Photo credit: Taylor Cuthbertson

Photo credit: Taylor Cuthbertson

A Peculiar Demand

In response to recent racist activities, the BSU has been organizing several protest

activities, with more to come. In addition to a silent protest last Friday, April 26, and a bigger rally this past Wednesday, May 1, the BSU’s All Black Everything campaign invites Black people to share pictures of themselves describing encounters with antiblack racism, and use social media to post these pictures in order to begin a discussion about antiblackness in college and beyond. Several Black students, including myself, have also organized a nationwide telephone campaign TODAY, Friday May 3, to call Chancellor Michael Drake (949 824-5111) and the Office of Student Affairs (949 824-4804), TODAY, Friday May 3, and tell them “I support the Black Student Union’s demands!”

  1. We DEMAND to see an official punitive policy in place for future transgressions against the Black community.
  2. We DEMAND to see the UCI African American Studies program fortified into a department.
  3. We DEMAND that UCI follow its established principles and truly enforce its zero-tolerance policy against discrimination and violence.
  4. We DEMAND that UCI take accountability for the mistreatment and neglect of its Black students!

Last Wednesday night, LTD said they would remove themselves from campus affairs until Fall 2014. Some would probably like to call this a victory for the Black students or at least a removal of their reason for protesting. But, in fact, this changed nothing.  LTD’s self removal does little to address systemic and pervasive antiblack racism at UCI and beyond.  In fact, self removal takes the onus of addressing on campus antiblack racism off of LTD and places it  in nowhere land–where it’s too big to reduce to a particular organization, practice, or even campus–where it doesn’t get resolved.

Now It Is Time To Try Ours”

However, the BSU demands tackle a bigger problem than repeated blackface performances by a fraternity. Notice how the first demand is for new policy, and the second is to raise African American Studies from a program to a fully funded department. These are active steps. Rather than waiting on the racists to act, and then waiting on the administration to do something to protect Black students—something that even students who caucus with the administration concede does not work–this approach seems to recognize antiblack racism as a unique part of the structural environment of the campus. The demands seek institutional measures (a new policy, a new department) to counteract antiblack racism, and they don’t see racism as a simple one-on-one act of prejudice or something that affects all people of color in the same way.

The third and fourth demands should already be enforced, but apparently have not been. Instead, it seems that the UCI administration has acted toward BSU leaders in a way similar to how Pi Beta Phi acted toward Shana. For example, In 2011, the UCI administration allowed Pippin Commons (an undergraduate dorm) to host a chicken and waffles dinner “in honor of” Martin Luther King, Jr. Johnson and Lacy say that when the BSU attempted to follow the procedures for getting the organizers disciplined, the university told the BSU leaders to let things go so that they didn’t bring “negative” attention to the campus.

most likely to go black and never go backAmong other contributors to this antiblack campus culture are Pi Beta Phi, whose members issued a “Most Likely to Go Black and Never Go Back” award, Alpha Phi, and Phi Psi, some of whose members were designated “big slave driver” and “little slave” on a paddle colored like the US flag. And, of course, within the University of California system, fraternities and sororities have a long history of involvement in “ghetto fabulous” parties, including most recently the notorious “Compton Cookout” at UC, San Diego.

For many of the 700 Black students at UCI (out of 37,000), the experience of college means learning to live with things like these:

  • Black students have had to move out of their dorms due to racial harassment.
  • Black students have faced ridicule, disrespect, and demonization for asking questions in class.
  • Black students have had trash thrown at them while walking to the gym.
  • Black students have been spit on while walking to the gym.
  • Black students have been called “nigger” outside of the grocery store near campus.
  • Black students have been publicly embarrassed and harassed at campus bus stops.
Photo credit: Erika Hazel

Photo credit: Erika Hazel

These things did not all happen at Greek parties; some were part of the ordinary activities of student life—catching the bus, asking questions in class, going to the grocery store. Hostility against Black students and Black people in general is simply too pervasive not to be addressed in its own right. It’s not just this frat, and it’s not even just this school. It really is everywhere you can look–from the ways Black staff get treated to the books students read to the behaviors of teaching/research assistants and faculty. The total environment is so thoroughly pervaded with antiblackness that the problem simply cannot be framed in a piecemeal, case-by-case basis as current policy prescribes. So, even with LTD (voluntarily) off campus for the next year, there are already plenty of other incidents, individuals, and institutions that are nodes of antiblack racism at UCI that need to be addressed.

Where do you begin to address a problem of antiblack racism that impinges on the most basic aspects of Black students’ university life? For starters, you don’t let a fraternity “punishing” itself, or a university that tries to silence Black demands, hold you back from doing what you know needs doing. “We have tried their way,” says Johnson. “Now it is time to try ours.”

32 Comments

  1. AnonTruth

    May 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    So before I state my opinion on this issue, please take a look at this or recall this prior event:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/alexandra-wallace-racist-video_n_835505.html

    I personally hate the greek system and believe that all fraternities/sororities should be taken out of colleges and universities. But at the same time, I believe that BSU is demanding more than necessary…

    Think back to the whole “Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong” scandal at UCLA. A.W. made a point of saying that Asians:
    -are rude and loud in libraries
    -need their parents to function
    -were all affected by the tsunami in Japan
    She was BLATANTLY being racist.

    This black face scandal, when viewed objectively, does not even come close to the enormity of the racism within the “asians in the library” video. In the former, they were simply being idiots and mimicking a music video. They were probably drunk when they made the video, leading to impaired judgement, and frat boys, in general, don’t have a good sense of judgement. Do I think they should be punished? OF COURSE! They were being ignorant and stupid! Do I think the enormity of their punishments should be greater than or equal to those of Alexandra Wallace’s? OF COURSE NOT! If you compare both, you will find that A.W.’s entire video was a set of racist statements and stereotypes about Asians whereas the blackface video was simply mimicking a music video…
    By making the Asian Frat’s punishment greater than or equal to A.W.’s you’re making a statement that being racist towards Asians is more acceptable than being racist towards black people.

    I think racism, TO ANY RACE, should be punished accordingly to the level and nature of the racism, Blatant versus ignorant.

    Examine both scenarios without a biased lens and you might see where I am coming from.

    To a certain extent, BSU might also have partaken in this racism. As I was walking near their protest line this past Wednesday, I could have sworn I heard them chanting “White man’s Oppression!” Wait a minute….wasn’t this an Asian frat being racist?

    US history is also filled with events of racism towards Asians:
    http://www.asian-nation.org/racism.shtml
    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/how-the-rules-of-racism-are-different-for-asian-americans/

    I am Chinese, and there are rumors that when my predecessors built the US railroad systems, their labor was often so traumatic that many of them died. Their blood and bones were incorporated into the tracks of the railroads. Their bodies were never returned to their families in China because they were not worth the shipping costs. Their families were not even informed about what happened to them.

    In today’s society, it’s actually better to be white, black, Latino, or any other minority than Asian. If you are a member of BSU or if you are a supporter of what they are calling for, I ask you this: Have you ever looked down upon an Asian simply because he or she was Asian?

    • Omar Ricks

      May 4, 2013 at 2:43 am

      Hi, AnonTruth. I’m having trouble engaging your argument because I don’t quite get it’s relationship to the piece I wrote. I guess I am looking for more of an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Will you clarify what you mean?

    • anonyy

      May 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

      The difference is that a fraternity is a student group sanctioned by the university and A.W. was just a person saying what was on her mind. Stupid as she was, she has the right to freedom of expression, but UCI is ultimately culpable for the actions of its groups.

      • Omar Ricks

        May 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        Hi, anonyy– Yes, I think that is an important difference. In fact, as you point out, the LTD fraternity has actual structural power in its access to the University and all its resources and signifying power. AnonTruth was citing the case of A.W., a seemingly bourgeois white woman who ranted against Asians on YouTube– and comparing her with the Black students at UC Irvine. I’m not even sure why AnonTruth was saying that. A.W. ranted about Asians *as such* and with no provocation besides the fact that Asian people take up space and air near her, whereas the Black students at UCI are critiquing the actions of various groups of people who did something offensive to Black people as such. So AnonTruth would be better served comparing LTD with A.W. Maybe that’s just me, though. lol

    • PleaseStop

      May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Anon, non sure what you are posting about – are you just trying to imply that an Asian can’t be racist because they’re Asian? Have YOU ever looked down upon any Black person because he/she was Black? To say Blacks and Latinos have it better than Asians is just bizarre. Please do research on racial progress in this country before posting.

    • niksmit

      May 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      I’ve managed to step around the Oppression Olympics part of this comment and I’ve come back to one of the demands of the UCI BSU. History education in this country needs to be inclusive of ALL groups of people that have been involved in the creation of the United States. A proper understanding of the history of blackface should prevent the posting of a comment like this one. Only an improper understanding of this practice lets one brush it aside as nothing and not a direct insult to all people of African descent.

    • Steph

      May 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Anon, blackface is a deeply hurtful practice to a number of people who identify as black or African American. It holds and contains many of the hurtful comments you have experienced as a target of Asian racism in the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

      That is not a parody, it is a highly charged act connected to years and years of historical trauma on the art of the black community.

      I am sorry you have been hurt by racism, and no it is nothing to ignore. But all racism is hurtful, and all minorities suffer in the US from White Privileged power systems. It is racist in itself to assert that some minorities “have it off better” there is nothing god about racism and dehumanization and lack of respect, as I would you woudl agree.

      All forms to all people are hurtful, all people who experience racism should be heard and supported, and there is not enough coverage about any forms. I agree that racism towards the Asian community is currently quite normative in media and our culture, and is causing a lot of pain. I’m trying to hear you, and I hope it comes across that feel much sympathy, but I wish you would extend that listening and sympathy to the black community too instead of rejecting their experiences. It think what you’ve said is hurtful to them, belittling these hurtful situations. No one deserves that, including you.

  2. AnonTruth

    May 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    So before I state my opinion on this issue, please take a look at this or recall this prior event:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/alexandra-wallace-racist-video_n_835505.html

    I personally hate the greek system and believe that all fraternities/sororities should be taken out of colleges and universities. But at the same time, I believe that BSU is demanding more than necessary…

    Think back to the whole “Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong” scandal at UCLA. A.W. made a point of saying that Asians:
    -are rude and loud in libraries
    -need their parents to function
    -were all affected by the tsunami in Japan
    She was BLATANTLY being racist.

    This black face scandal, when viewed objectively, does not even come close to the enormity of the racism within the “asians in the library” video. In the former, they were simply being idiots and mimicking a music video. They were probably drunk when they made the video, leading to impaired judgement, and frat boys, in general, don’t have a good sense of judgement. Do I think they should be punished? OF COURSE! They were being ignorant and stupid! Do I think the enormity of their punishments should be greater than or equal to those of Alexandra Wallace’s? OF COURSE NOT! If you compare both, you will find that A.W.’s entire video was a set of racist statements and stereotypes about Asians whereas the blackface video was simply mimicking a music video…
    By making the Asian Frat’s punishment greater than or equal to A.W.’s you’re making a statement that being racist towards Asians is more acceptable than being racist towards black people.

    I think racism, TO ANY RACE, should be punished accordingly to the level and nature of the racism, Blatant versus ignorant.

    Examine both scenarios without a biased lens and you might see where I am coming from.

    To a certain extent, BSU might also have partaken in this racism. As I was walking near their protest line this past Wednesday, I could have sworn I heard them chanting “White man’s Oppression!” Wait a minute….wasn’t this an Asian frat being racist?

    US history is also filled with events of racism towards Asians:
    http://www.asian-nation.org/racism.shtml
    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/how-the-rules-of-racism-are-different-for-asian-americans/

    I am Chinese, and there are rumors that when my predecessors built the US railroad systems, their labor was often so traumatic that many of them died. Their blood and bones were incorporated into the tracks of the railroads. Their bodies were never returned to their families in China because they were not worth the shipping costs. Their families were not even informed about what happened to them.

    In today’s society, it’s actually better to be white, black, Latino, or any other minority than Asian. If you are a member of BSU or if you are a supporter of what they are calling for, I ask you this: Have you ever looked down upon an Asian simply because he or she was Asian?

    • Omar Ricks

      May 4, 2013 at 2:43 am

      Hi, AnonTruth. I’m having trouble engaging your argument because I don’t quite get it’s relationship to the piece I wrote. I guess I am looking for more of an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Will you clarify what you mean?

    • anonyy

      May 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

      The difference is that a fraternity is a student group sanctioned by the university and A.W. was just a person saying what was on her mind. Stupid as she was, she has the right to freedom of expression, but UCI is ultimately culpable for the actions of its groups.

      • Omar Ricks

        May 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        Hi, anonyy– Yes, I think that is an important difference. In fact, as you point out, the LTD fraternity has actual structural power in its access to the University and all its resources and signifying power. AnonTruth was citing the case of A.W., a seemingly bourgeois white woman who ranted against Asians on YouTube– and comparing her with the Black students at UC Irvine. I’m not even sure why AnonTruth was saying that. A.W. ranted about Asians *as such* and with no provocation besides the fact that Asian people take up space and air near her, whereas the Black students at UCI are critiquing the actions of various groups of people who did something offensive to Black people as such. So AnonTruth would be better served comparing LTD with A.W. Maybe that’s just me, though. lol

    • PleaseStop

      May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Anon, non sure what you are posting about – are you just trying to imply that an Asian can’t be racist because they’re Asian? Have YOU ever looked down upon any Black person because he/she was Black? To say Blacks and Latinos have it better than Asians is just bizarre. Please do research on racial progress in this country before posting.

    • niksmit

      May 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      I’ve managed to step around the Oppression Olympics part of this comment and I’ve come back to one of the demands of the UCI BSU. History education in this country needs to be inclusive of ALL groups of people that have been involved in the creation of the United States. A proper understanding of the history of blackface should prevent the posting of a comment like this one. Only an improper understanding of this practice lets one brush it aside as nothing and not a direct insult to all people of African descent.

    • Steph

      May 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Anon, blackface is a deeply hurtful practice to a number of people who identify as black or African American. It holds and contains many of the hurtful comments you have experienced as a target of Asian racism in the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

      That is not a parody, it is a highly charged act connected to years and years of historical trauma on the art of the black community.

      I am sorry you have been hurt by racism, and no it is nothing to ignore. But all racism is hurtful, and all minorities suffer in the US from White Privileged power systems. It is racist in itself to assert that some minorities “have it off better” there is nothing god about racism and dehumanization and lack of respect, as I would you woudl agree.

      All forms to all people are hurtful, all people who experience racism should be heard and supported, and there is not enough coverage about any forms. I agree that racism towards the Asian community is currently quite normative in media and our culture, and is causing a lot of pain. I’m trying to hear you, and I hope it comes across that feel much sympathy, but I wish you would extend that listening and sympathy to the black community too instead of rejecting their experiences. It think what you’ve said is hurtful to them, belittling these hurtful situations. No one deserves that, including you.

  3. AnonTruth

    May 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    So before I state my opinion on this issue, please take a look at this or recall this prior event:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/alexandra-wallace-racist-video_n_835505.html

    I personally hate the greek system and believe that all fraternities/sororities should be taken out of colleges and universities. But at the same time, I believe that BSU is demanding more than necessary…

    Think back to the whole “Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong” scandal at UCLA. A.W. made a point of saying that Asians:
    -are rude and loud in libraries
    -need their parents to function
    -were all affected by the tsunami in Japan
    She was BLATANTLY being racist.

    This black face scandal, when viewed objectively, does not even come close to the enormity of the racism within the “asians in the library” video. In the former, they were simply being idiots and mimicking a music video. They were probably drunk when they made the video, leading to impaired judgement, and frat boys, in general, don’t have a good sense of judgement. Do I think they should be punished? OF COURSE! They were being ignorant and stupid! Do I think the enormity of their punishments should be greater than or equal to those of Alexandra Wallace’s? OF COURSE NOT! If you compare both, you will find that A.W.’s entire video was a set of racist statements and stereotypes about Asians whereas the blackface video was simply mimicking a music video…
    By making the Asian Frat’s punishment greater than or equal to A.W.’s you’re making a statement that being racist towards Asians is more acceptable than being racist towards black people.

    I think racism, TO ANY RACE, should be punished accordingly to the level and nature of the racism, Blatant versus ignorant.

    Examine both scenarios without a biased lens and you might see where I am coming from.

    To a certain extent, BSU might also have partaken in this racism. As I was walking near their protest line this past Wednesday, I could have sworn I heard them chanting “White man’s Oppression!” Wait a minute….wasn’t this an Asian frat being racist?

    US history is also filled with events of racism towards Asians:
    http://www.asian-nation.org/racism.shtml
    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/how-the-rules-of-racism-are-different-for-asian-americans/

    I am Chinese, and there are rumors that when my predecessors built the US railroad systems, their labor was often so traumatic that many of them died. Their blood and bones were incorporated into the tracks of the railroads. Their bodies were never returned to their families in China because they were not worth the shipping costs. Their families were not even informed about what happened to them.

    In today’s society, it’s actually better to be white, black, Latino, or any other minority than Asian. If you are a member of BSU or if you are a supporter of what they are calling for, I ask you this: Have you ever looked down upon an Asian simply because he or she was Asian?

    • Omar Ricks

      May 4, 2013 at 2:43 am

      Hi, AnonTruth. I’m having trouble engaging your argument because I don’t quite get it’s relationship to the piece I wrote. I guess I am looking for more of an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Will you clarify what you mean?

    • anonyy

      May 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

      The difference is that a fraternity is a student group sanctioned by the university and A.W. was just a person saying what was on her mind. Stupid as she was, she has the right to freedom of expression, but UCI is ultimately culpable for the actions of its groups.

      • Omar Ricks

        May 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        Hi, anonyy– Yes, I think that is an important difference. In fact, as you point out, the LTD fraternity has actual structural power in its access to the University and all its resources and signifying power. AnonTruth was citing the case of A.W., a seemingly bourgeois white woman who ranted against Asians on YouTube– and comparing her with the Black students at UC Irvine. I’m not even sure why AnonTruth was saying that. A.W. ranted about Asians *as such* and with no provocation besides the fact that Asian people take up space and air near her, whereas the Black students at UCI are critiquing the actions of various groups of people who did something offensive to Black people as such. So AnonTruth would be better served comparing LTD with A.W. Maybe that’s just me, though. lol

    • PleaseStop

      May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Anon, non sure what you are posting about – are you just trying to imply that an Asian can’t be racist because they’re Asian? Have YOU ever looked down upon any Black person because he/she was Black? To say Blacks and Latinos have it better than Asians is just bizarre. Please do research on racial progress in this country before posting.

    • niksmit

      May 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      I’ve managed to step around the Oppression Olympics part of this comment and I’ve come back to one of the demands of the UCI BSU. History education in this country needs to be inclusive of ALL groups of people that have been involved in the creation of the United States. A proper understanding of the history of blackface should prevent the posting of a comment like this one. Only an improper understanding of this practice lets one brush it aside as nothing and not a direct insult to all people of African descent.

    • Steph

      May 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Anon, blackface is a deeply hurtful practice to a number of people who identify as black or African American. It holds and contains many of the hurtful comments you have experienced as a target of Asian racism in the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

      That is not a parody, it is a highly charged act connected to years and years of historical trauma on the art of the black community.

      I am sorry you have been hurt by racism, and no it is nothing to ignore. But all racism is hurtful, and all minorities suffer in the US from White Privileged power systems. It is racist in itself to assert that some minorities “have it off better” there is nothing god about racism and dehumanization and lack of respect, as I would you woudl agree.

      All forms to all people are hurtful, all people who experience racism should be heard and supported, and there is not enough coverage about any forms. I agree that racism towards the Asian community is currently quite normative in media and our culture, and is causing a lot of pain. I’m trying to hear you, and I hope it comes across that feel much sympathy, but I wish you would extend that listening and sympathy to the black community too instead of rejecting their experiences. It think what you’ve said is hurtful to them, belittling these hurtful situations. No one deserves that, including you.

  4. AnonTruth

    May 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    So before I state my opinion on this issue, please take a look at this or recall this prior event:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/alexandra-wallace-racist-video_n_835505.html

    I personally hate the greek system and believe that all fraternities/sororities should be taken out of colleges and universities. But at the same time, I believe that BSU is demanding more than necessary…

    Think back to the whole “Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong” scandal at UCLA. A.W. made a point of saying that Asians:
    -are rude and loud in libraries
    -need their parents to function
    -were all affected by the tsunami in Japan
    She was BLATANTLY being racist.

    This black face scandal, when viewed objectively, does not even come close to the enormity of the racism within the “asians in the library” video. In the former, they were simply being idiots and mimicking a music video. They were probably drunk when they made the video, leading to impaired judgement, and frat boys, in general, don’t have a good sense of judgement. Do I think they should be punished? OF COURSE! They were being ignorant and stupid! Do I think the enormity of their punishments should be greater than or equal to those of Alexandra Wallace’s? OF COURSE NOT! If you compare both, you will find that A.W.’s entire video was a set of racist statements and stereotypes about Asians whereas the blackface video was simply mimicking a music video…
    By making the Asian Frat’s punishment greater than or equal to A.W.’s you’re making a statement that being racist towards Asians is more acceptable than being racist towards black people.

    I think racism, TO ANY RACE, should be punished accordingly to the level and nature of the racism, Blatant versus ignorant.

    Examine both scenarios without a biased lens and you might see where I am coming from.

    To a certain extent, BSU might also have partaken in this racism. As I was walking near their protest line this past Wednesday, I could have sworn I heard them chanting “White man’s Oppression!” Wait a minute….wasn’t this an Asian frat being racist?

    US history is also filled with events of racism towards Asians:
    http://www.asian-nation.org/racism.shtml
    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/how-the-rules-of-racism-are-different-for-asian-americans/

    I am Chinese, and there are rumors that when my predecessors built the US railroad systems, their labor was often so traumatic that many of them died. Their blood and bones were incorporated into the tracks of the railroads. Their bodies were never returned to their families in China because they were not worth the shipping costs. Their families were not even informed about what happened to them.

    In today’s society, it’s actually better to be white, black, Latino, or any other minority than Asian. If you are a member of BSU or if you are a supporter of what they are calling for, I ask you this: Have you ever looked down upon an Asian simply because he or she was Asian?

    • Omar Ricks

      May 4, 2013 at 2:43 am

      Hi, AnonTruth. I’m having trouble engaging your argument because I don’t quite get it’s relationship to the piece I wrote. I guess I am looking for more of an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Will you clarify what you mean?

    • anonyy

      May 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

      The difference is that a fraternity is a student group sanctioned by the university and A.W. was just a person saying what was on her mind. Stupid as she was, she has the right to freedom of expression, but UCI is ultimately culpable for the actions of its groups.

      • Omar Ricks

        May 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        Hi, anonyy– Yes, I think that is an important difference. In fact, as you point out, the LTD fraternity has actual structural power in its access to the University and all its resources and signifying power. AnonTruth was citing the case of A.W., a seemingly bourgeois white woman who ranted against Asians on YouTube– and comparing her with the Black students at UC Irvine. I’m not even sure why AnonTruth was saying that. A.W. ranted about Asians *as such* and with no provocation besides the fact that Asian people take up space and air near her, whereas the Black students at UCI are critiquing the actions of various groups of people who did something offensive to Black people as such. So AnonTruth would be better served comparing LTD with A.W. Maybe that’s just me, though. lol

    • PleaseStop

      May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Anon, non sure what you are posting about – are you just trying to imply that an Asian can’t be racist because they’re Asian? Have YOU ever looked down upon any Black person because he/she was Black? To say Blacks and Latinos have it better than Asians is just bizarre. Please do research on racial progress in this country before posting.

    • niksmit

      May 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      I’ve managed to step around the Oppression Olympics part of this comment and I’ve come back to one of the demands of the UCI BSU. History education in this country needs to be inclusive of ALL groups of people that have been involved in the creation of the United States. A proper understanding of the history of blackface should prevent the posting of a comment like this one. Only an improper understanding of this practice lets one brush it aside as nothing and not a direct insult to all people of African descent.

    • Steph

      May 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Anon, blackface is a deeply hurtful practice to a number of people who identify as black or African American. It holds and contains many of the hurtful comments you have experienced as a target of Asian racism in the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

      That is not a parody, it is a highly charged act connected to years and years of historical trauma on the art of the black community.

      I am sorry you have been hurt by racism, and no it is nothing to ignore. But all racism is hurtful, and all minorities suffer in the US from White Privileged power systems. It is racist in itself to assert that some minorities “have it off better” there is nothing god about racism and dehumanization and lack of respect, as I would you woudl agree.

      All forms to all people are hurtful, all people who experience racism should be heard and supported, and there is not enough coverage about any forms. I agree that racism towards the Asian community is currently quite normative in media and our culture, and is causing a lot of pain. I’m trying to hear you, and I hope it comes across that feel much sympathy, but I wish you would extend that listening and sympathy to the black community too instead of rejecting their experiences. It think what you’ve said is hurtful to them, belittling these hurtful situations. No one deserves that, including you.

  5. Ruth R

    May 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I am glad to see the BSU on the UCI campus taking such a proactive and positive position in regard to this incident. As much as people like to say we live in a post racial society, we really don’t. If we did there would be discussion rather than dismissal of people’s hurt feelings when these types of things happen. We should all take a moment to educate ourself about the trials groups of people have felt as they immigrated to this country. We would find we have more in common than we imagined.

    Again, I applaud and support the UCI BSU in their stance against this behavior. As a graduate of the Cal State system, I can’t say that I encountered anti-black behavior toward me…but I would also count myself a bit of an exception in that regard rather than the rule.

  6. Ruth R

    May 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I am glad to see the BSU on the UCI campus taking such a proactive and positive position in regard to this incident. As much as people like to say we live in a post racial society, we really don’t. If we did there would be discussion rather than dismissal of people’s hurt feelings when these types of things happen. We should all take a moment to educate ourself about the trials groups of people have felt as they immigrated to this country. We would find we have more in common than we imagined.

    Again, I applaud and support the UCI BSU in their stance against this behavior. As a graduate of the Cal State system, I can’t say that I encountered anti-black behavior toward me…but I would also count myself a bit of an exception in that regard rather than the rule.

  7. Ruth R

    May 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I am glad to see the BSU on the UCI campus taking such a proactive and positive position in regard to this incident. As much as people like to say we live in a post racial society, we really don’t. If we did there would be discussion rather than dismissal of people’s hurt feelings when these types of things happen. We should all take a moment to educate ourself about the trials groups of people have felt as they immigrated to this country. We would find we have more in common than we imagined.

    Again, I applaud and support the UCI BSU in their stance against this behavior. As a graduate of the Cal State system, I can’t say that I encountered anti-black behavior toward me…but I would also count myself a bit of an exception in that regard rather than the rule.

  8. Ruth R

    May 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I am glad to see the BSU on the UCI campus taking such a proactive and positive position in regard to this incident. As much as people like to say we live in a post racial society, we really don’t. If we did there would be discussion rather than dismissal of people’s hurt feelings when these types of things happen. We should all take a moment to educate ourself about the trials groups of people have felt as they immigrated to this country. We would find we have more in common than we imagined.

    Again, I applaud and support the UCI BSU in their stance against this behavior. As a graduate of the Cal State system, I can’t say that I encountered anti-black behavior toward me…but I would also count myself a bit of an exception in that regard rather than the rule.