I will be the first to tell you that I don’t have a good sense of humor when it comes to racist remarks directed my way. When a fellow five-year old at daycare made some sort of remark about my skin color being ugly, I threw a bucket of sand over her head. And a few weeks ago, when someone responded to my roommate’s ad by calling her “egg roll” and “pork fried rice,” I can’t say my initial reaction would have made Gandhi-ji very proud.
Throughout my lifetime, I’ve had trouble moderating my inner Malcom X and channeling a more Martin Luther King Jr. approach. This despite the fact that I grew up in the most turn-the-the-other-cheek of communities, the Amish Mennonites. When I see racism, in any shape/manner/form, I tend to lose my cool. My blood pressure goes up. I start to see red.
The whole Alexandra Wallace incident was no exception. You’ll remember her as the girl from UCLA who made a YouTube video where she rants against Asian students. I admit, I felt a little bit of sympathy at the start of the video. My own classmates often vent about international students in the law library who blab loudly on their cellphones, seemingly oblivious to the glares of fellow students. But when Ms. Wallace started on her “ching chong” rant, I stopped feeling sorry for her and just got mad. Then I saw this.
How amazing is 24-year old LA-based entertainer Jimmy Wong? And how in the world did this kid manage to take such an ugly incident and make something positive from it? Pure talent, that’s how. This video has me considering my reactions to racism and how I can learn to better harness my anger into something good. Not to be naive or anything. I know things like these will continue. I know sometimes a little righteous indignation goes a long way. And that sometimes all the Glee songs in the world won’t take the sting out of a racist remark. But maybe the next time something like this happens, I won’t automatically reach for the anger that often accompanies the helplessness one feels in this situations.
What do you guys use to keep from losing your cool when you’re confronted with racism? Have you come up with ways for dealing with your anger in a positive manner?