Alexandra Wallace’s now famous rant against Asian students at UCLA has been seen more than five million times.* Countless more people have seen or read about the video in the New York Times, Gawker, the UK’s Daily Mail and elsewhere. And in all these places, the video prompted outraged commentary from readers and viewers who told Wallace about her racism—and, in the process, slung mounds of misogyny her way, too. (Not to mention posting her address and, reportedly, sending her death threats.)

Even on Colorlines.com and Jezebel.com, which targets a largely progressive female readership, many of the comments posted in response to Wallace were loaded with sexist name-calling. “I’m sure her mom also taught her to make sure you wear a tight tank top that exposes your boobs when ranting about Asian students on video,” a commenter wrote on Jezebel. On our site, the word “bimbo” thrived.

Caroline Heldman at Ms. Magazine’s blog reminded readers that oppression comes in many different forms. She offers a hypothetical for comparison: “Imagine if an African American man posted a sexist video and commenters responded with a steady stream of racial slurs.”

The point isn’t to equate race and gender. Rather, Heldman’s question offers a good place to start a discussion. What if Alexandra Wallace was black or Latina and people called her racial epithets? Would people be OK with that? Probably not. But some of the most popular comedic web videos of people of color sounding off against Wallace include starkly misogynistic language and ideas. A few examples:

DavidSoComedy’s rant, with almost two million views, refers to Wallace as a “bitch,” and a “slut” who is probably good at performing sexual favors. He also jokes about hiring a ninja to kill her.

Jimmy sings a love song to Wallace and tells her he wants to talk dirty to her all day long.

 

 

Ky only refers to Wallace as a “bitch” and says she won’t pass any exam that doesn’t involve “giving head and juggling beer.”

 

The Daily Bruin reports that Wallace, who issued an apology for the video, contacted university police on Sunday evening after receiving hundreds of threats via e-mail and phone. She’s been advised to reschedule her finals because her address and school schedule have been posted online.

School officials are still investigating if Wallace violated any of the university’s code of conduct. Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment scholar and a professor at UCLA School of Law, said he could not identify any statements made in the video that would not be constitutionally protected.

The question isn’t whether Wallace’s video was hateful to Asian students. It’s whether the community response to it raises equally troubling questions. Chime in with your own thoughts below.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/03/ucla_asian_rant_comments_fight_hate_with_misogyny.html


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