8Asians Reader Response: Reaction to UCLA Racist Posters

EDITOR’S NOTE: For the last few days, the Asian American websphere has been buzzing about two possibly related incidents at UCLA which campus police are investigating as hate crimes. This was submitted by a Cornell student in response to the first incident. –Joz

By Kyle Chang

This is most disappointing because it reminds me that even in college campuses where students are becoming “educated,” racism like this still exists (remember Alexandra Wallace’s rant?). What’s even more surprising (depending on who you ask) is that this would happen at UCLA which has a large proportion of Asian students. We’d like to think that a big proportion of minority students would cause the whole student body to be more accepting of the minority but perhaps it has caused even greater resentment.

One thing to note from this article is that racial acceptance should not be the assumed momentum of history. The U.S. doesn’t necessarily “progress” on social issues inevitably with time like we like to map out in our high school history classes. People still devolve backward. Any progress forward will be made through activism. The VSU is actively dealing with the situation as they should.

Oftentimes we see ourselves in a “post-civil rights” era: the voting act of 1965 was the culmination of legal battles for equality, Martin Luther King Day is a national holiday and celebrated as a hero in our school systems. But because these figures and movements have been celebrated in schools they have become institutionalized backdrops for our lives. We believe that equality was reached now that it’s being taught in schools and “we’re done with that race thing.” This breed of complacency is especially prevalent in comfortable lives that aren’t directly affected by such issues (I’m speaking from personal experience). But the truth is that racism is still alive and well, as evidenced by this article.

I asked my history professor is there was any nation in the world that had rid themselves of racial discrimination completely and after a long-winded rant he responded, “No,” which left me slightly disheartened.

Is discrimination part of human nature? Will “different” always mean “worse” based on instinctual ethnocentrism?

How much hope can we have for true equality?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’m just a guy and I like to write. I’m a student at Cornell.

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