What are “American manners”?
Alexandra Wallace, a UCLA student, posted a culturally insensitive rant directed towards people of Asian descent on YouTube. Her video has gone viral within the University of California community and beyond.
She concedes to her lack of political correctness, but she goes on to target “these hoards of Asian people” because their “lack of American manners” really pisses her off.
By lack of “American manners”, I am assuming she means using a phone in a library.
Apparently, her staunch advocacy for phone etiquette transcends the necessity to be “politically correct”. She coyly stated that she is “not the most politically correct person”. However, I don’t believe social consciousness and political correctness are synonymous, so I don’t buy her microaggressive preface.
And I still don’t understand how this phone incident spiraled into a rant directed at an entire ethnic community.
There are hundreds of opinions already circulating throughout the internet regarding her offensive remarks. And there are just as many responses piling UCLA Chancellor Block’s inbox.
Clearly, I’m confused by a lot of statements made in this video. But I’m as confused by many of the responses. The original YouTube posting was deleted, but sexually explicit comments regarding her gender and appearance were made.
From phone etiquette to offensive racial comments to degrading gender-related responses, I don’t understand how each step of this reactionary cycle relates to each other.
Incidents like these have added fuel to support institutionalizing Ethnic Studies programs in our UC system. Although, I don’t think institutionalizing Ethnic Studies is necessarily going to mitigate this clear, horrific mess of insensitivity.
Ethnic Studies courses mandated by General Education requirements along with mathematics, science, etc. objectifies cultural competence itself. Social consciousness isn’t an academic discipline or specialization, it’s the lens which we need to see the world. When Ethnic Studies is viewed as a product of liberal arts curriculum, there’s obviously a problem with our educational paradigm.
In the higher education arena, social consciousness and ethnic appreciation should be the foundation and lens in which we view the rest of academia, not just a subject or discipline in and of itself.
In addition, racial issues don’t transcend gender lines, either. The objectifying remarks directed towards Alexandra are as appalling as her racial insults.
Alexandra’s lack of cultural sensitivity makes me question exactly what are “American manners”. Several people’s responses have traces of misogyny and make me question people’s conception of “manners” in general.