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Asians in the Library is a YouTube video posted by University of California Los Angels (UCLA) student Alexandra Wallace in which she rants about Asian students using cell phones and talking loudly in the campus library. The most notable excerpt is her coarse characterization of Asian speech as “OHHHHHHHHHHH CHING CHONG TING TONG LING LONG….. OHHHHHHHHHH.”
UCLA student Alexandra Wallace posted a rant about Asian students using cell phones in the library to YouTube on March 13th, 2011. In the video, Wallace states that she was annoyed by Asian parents washing their children’s clothes and cooking their food and expresses irritation at Asian students using their cell phones in the library while performing a racially insensitive impersonation of Asian speech. The original video has since been taken down.
Okay, so here at UCLA, it’s finals week.
So we know that I’m not the most politically correct person so don’t take this offensively. I don’t mean it toward any of my friends I mean it toward random people that I don’t even know in the library. So, you guys are not the problem.
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.
Which brings me to my next point. Hi, in America we do not talk on our cell phones in the library. I swear every five minutes I will be -- okay, not five minutes, say like fifteen minutes -- I’ll be in like deep into my studying, into my political science theories and arguments and all that stuff, getting it all down, like typing away furiously, blah blah, blah, and then all of a sudden when I’m about to like reach an epiphany… Over here from somewhere, “Ooooh Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong, Ooohhhhh.”
Are you freaking kidding me? In the middle of finals week? So being the polite, nice American girl that my momma raised me to be, I kinda just gave him what anybody else would do that kinda like, [puts finger up to lips in a “shh” motion].
“You know it’s a library, like, we’re trying to study, thanks!” And then it’s the same thing five minutes later. But it’s somebody else, you know -- I swear they’re going through their whole families, just checking on everybody from the tsunami thing. I mean I know, okay, that sounds horrible like I feel bad for all the people affected by the tsunami, but if you’re gonna go call your address book like you might as well go outside because if something is wrong you might really freak out if you’re in the library and everybody’s quiet like you seriously should go outside if you’re gonna do that.
So, thanks for listening, that was my rant. I just -- even if you’re not Asian you really shouldn’t be on your cell phone in the library but I’ve just never seen that happen before so thank you for listening and have a nice day.
— DISGRASIAN™ (@disgrasian) March 14, 2011
On March 14th, Wallace emailed a letter to the school newspaper The Daily Bruin apologizing for the content of the video.
“Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate,” she said in the statement. “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.”
That same day, the official UCLA YouTube channel uploaded a message from the Chancellor proclaiming he found the video appalling:
UCLA officials said that Wallace would not be disciplined for her actions because her video was an exercise of free speech rather than hate speech. Also on March 14th, the college lifestyle blog COED Magazine published a post titled “Alexandra Wallace: Racist UCLA Student’s Bikini Photos Revealed”, which included several modelling photos of Wallace wearing a white bikini (shown below).
That week, the story was subsequently picked up by Hyphen, The Huffington Post The Daily Mail, L.A. Now and The New York Times. On March 18th, The Daily Bruin reported that Wallace apologized a second time and announced she would be leaving UCLA.
“I made a mistake. My mistake, however, has lead to the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats, and being ostracized from an entire community. Accordingly, for personal safety reasons, I have chosen to no longer attend classes at UCLA.” – Alexandra Wallace
On February 4th, 2012, The Economist published an article titled “Making ting tong cool”, which reported that while Wallace’s video was still referenced as a joke at UCLA, increases in Chinese student enrollment were eroding negative Asian stereotypes on campus.
Many in the Asian YouTube community found Wallace’s video to be ignorant and offensive, leading to a series of response videos criticizing the statements made in the rant.
Jimmy Wong’s music video response to Wallace was the first to reach one million views. On March 24th, 2011, Wong appeared as a guest on the NPR show “All Things Considered” to discuss Wallace’s rant and the subsequent success of his parody video.
Viral Marketing Accusations
According to the Sacramento Bee, Wallace was planning on making a video blog. Her father posted on his Facebook page on the same day Wallace’s video was posted:
“My daughter wants to start a blog. She’s asking for domain suggestions for ‘Asians on their cellphones in the library!’ She’s shooting videos as I write.”
Alexandra claimed that she was merely attempting to create a “humorous video”:
“In an attempt to produce a humorous YouTube video, I have offended the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture. Especially in the wake of the ongoing disaster in Japan, I would do anything to take back my insensitive words. I could write apology letters all day and night, but I know they wouldn’t erase the video from your memory, nor would they act to reverse my inappropriate action.”
Food Delivery Service
On June 20th, 2011, LA Weekly reported that a UCLA Chinese food delivery service had named itself “Ching Chong Ling Long Gourmet Takeout” after the racist viral video.
The partnership came about when Rachel Lee, owner of The Palace, heard about UCLA Munchies, a service run by four students who delivered snacks like burritos and ramen to the dorms into the wee hours of the morning. Sensing an opportunity to better serve the local community -- and expand her business -- Ms. Lee contacted the UCLA Munchies team for some consulting work. And so, Ching Chong Ling Long Gourmet Takeout was born.
Search query volume for “asians in the library” and “alexandra wallace” peaked in March of 2011, the same month the video was originally uploaded to YouTube.
Sacramento Bee – UCLA student who posted anti-Asian viral rant is from Fair Oaks
The Huffington Post – Alexandra Wallace, UCLA Student, Films Racist Rant
New York Times – Student’s Video Rant Against Asians Fuels Firestorm