Ignorance entangled in web

 

By Augustine Ugalde Jr.

The sooner people realize that we’re all in this world together, the better off we’ll all be.

Most East Los Angeles College denizens have seen the anti-Asian rant conducted by current University of California, Los Angeles student Alexandra Wallace on YouTube.

Wallace felt it necessary to voice her message of bigotry and intolerance for all the world to see last week on an Internet post that quickly went viral.

For those that may not be familiar with Wallace’s rant, don’t bother.

Her venomous rant is nothing new.

This country’s history is rife with anti-minority diatribe.

Notwithstanding Wallace’s opinion, the diversity of this country and the way most of its citizens co-exist in relative peace is simply amazing.

The United States of America is the most diverse, integrated and tolerant country in the world.

Yes, it has its problems, but when the enormous number of cultures that call the U.S. home is considered, a clear idea of what this country is all about surfaces.

It is time to celebrate our differences, not to use these differences to separate us.

Intolerance is a byproduct of ignorance and frustration.

Why is this important to ELAC students?

The answer to that question comes from the International Students Program, which is part of Student Services.

There are more than 850 international students from 41 countries that call ELAC home and who share the campus with the rest of the student populace.

The enrollment process these students must endure is much more complex than what the average student goes through.

There are procedures to be completed, testing to be satisfied, along with the requirement of approval from a diplomatic consulate to stay in the country.

And this is just to earn the right to apply for admission; so a little respect here.

International students are not alone in this battle though.

There are a great number of first and second generation students that have clear ties to their heritage who still speak their parents and grandparent’s language on campus.

If Wallace had her way, she would limit the number of times these students could speak to their relatives.

Since my return to ELAC and while working in the Writing Center, I have had the privilege of working with students from a number of different countries, each with their own unique culture.

I have learned a great deal about the traditions and customs of many Asian, Latin American and African cultures, among others.

It is amazing how different we are from these individuals and it is equally amazing how similar we are.

We are all here for a common purpose and that is to get an education that will provide us with the best opportunity to improve our lives and the lives of our relatives, both today and in the future.

Then there is the issue that UCLA faces.

Does the school take any action against this mental midget or let it go?

The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the making of any law infringing on the freedom of speech of its citizens.

So what’s the school to do?

UCLA Chancellor, Gene D. Block issued a d a m a g e – c o n t r o l s t a t e m e n t s h o r t l y after Wallace’s tirade, pointing-out that her message of hate was not representative of what the school is all about.

“This one act certainly does not represent the views of the UCLA community,” said Block.

“I believe that speech that expresses intolerance toward any group of people on the basis of race, gender or sexual, religious or cultural identity is indefensible and has no place at UCLA.”

Block said that it is “our collective responsibility to confront hateful and ignorant speech and to uphold UCLA’s core values.”

Wallace has issued an apology of sorts to the Asian community

It is unclear if she issued this apology because she is truly remorseful, or if she did it because of the backlash from the Asian community and many others.

You don’t have to be Asian to dislike and condemn this dimwit’s comments.

Predictably, Wallace has set-off an outpouring of negative response to her views and has even received death threats that have necessitated the use of campus police escorts for her as she commutes across campus.

I doubt very seriously that the scribes who penned the First Amendment had ‘ignorant speech’ in mind when they decided to add this most impactful decree to our constitution.

What Wallace said was hateful, ignorant and just plain hurtful.

This attitude of intolerance must be changed.

So if you feel compelled to ‘YouTube’ Wallace’s venomous rant, go ahead.

Maybe it will teach you how not to act and what not to say in a decent society such as ours.

Illustration by Kien Ha

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