By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka the PRDude
The newest video sensation fueled by YouTube and inexpensive and easy-to-use tech toys like the FlipCam has nothing to do with crying babies or pets engaged in comical antics. No, the “vlogosphere” now has a new star, one with blond hair, an apparent fondness for too-tight tops and push-up bras and speech patterns probably honed through many visits to shopping malls in the Valley.
The subject in question is Alexandra Wallace, a student at UCLA who studies political science, visits the library and more than likely will have no friends of Asian descent for many years to come.
Here’s the scenario: Ms. Wallace posted a video “rant” on YouTube where she complained about Asians who talk on their cell phones in the library. She goes on to say Asian students at UCLA have parents who do their laundry and purchase their food.
Watch the original, found from the link above, or visit YouTube to view the many responses and parodies to Ms. Wallace’s original production. As this is written, the original version had 1,035,297 views, while some of the reactionary videos have garnered close to a half million views.
The PRDude doesn’t comment about subjects involving racial stereotypes, world thoughts from blond political science students or related topics. But here are some random thoughts:
- Ms. Wallace and a few of the other “commentators” utter a few of the words you really shouldn’t say in polite company. Some advice: Video evidence of potty mouth won’t help your career opportunities.
- College students still go to the library? I’m impressed and amazed. Back when I attended Illinois State University in the mid 1970s, we had to go to the library because that’s where the books and knowledge were located. Can’t students today just Google a question?
- This post will take me around 45 minutes to research, write, review, add links, etc. Th0se who recorded and posted videos spent at least that much time. Don’t we have better things to do with our time?
- The “Asian library rant” is a true example of a video going viral. And, it exposes how this great nation — built and rebuilt — by peoples of all races and nationality still has a long way to go in terms of addressing stereotypes. Perhaps someone at Fox News or MSNBC will offer commentary soon. (Imagine a debate between Glenn Beck and Lawrence O’Donnell.)
- In other parts of the world, Northern Africa and the Middle East for example, people who take opposing views to what the government requires you to believe get arrested or shot. Here in the USA, we can make unpopular, and perhaps stupid, opinions known and publish them for all to absorb. The worse that can happen is ridicule, and maybe a lawsuit.
A few final thoughts from a true public relations perspective on this scenario:
- The administration at UCLA should use this opportunity to open up dialogue to address racial stereotyping.
- Colleges from coast to coast could build awareness for enforcing a “no talking on cell phones in the library” policy.
- We all should view the original “rant” and its subsequent responses to realize that sometimes it’s better to keep comments private.