Chaque semaine, Daisy Nguyen, étudiante en troisième année de sciences politiques et de droit à l’Université de Californie, en échange cette année à Sciences Po, nous racontera la vie vue par un bon tiers de la population estudiantine de notre institut – en anglais.
Every week, Daisy Nguyen, a third year exchange student from the University of California studying Political Science and Law, will relate life as third of the Sciences Po students see it – in english.
Spring has barely arrived in Paris and cafes all around the city have pulled tables out into the sun, and Paris could not look anymore beautiful. Even the Luxembourg Gardens have put out their fresh pots of flowers from winter hibernation. Paris never ceases to amaze me with its architecture and skyline. If there’s one remarkable thing about the city of love, it’s that Spring pulls on our sex strings- clearly exemplified by the couples everywhere who have gone into heat. If I thought Christmas holidays were bad, now the weather permits people to tear off each others’ clothes in the convenience of a very public sidewalk café.
However, I digress. Spring is distracting. In light of the devastating events in Japan (earthquake followed by a tsunami, which lead to the failure of 4 nuclear power plants), a UCLA student decided to vomit her thoughts on Asians in America, more specifically of her Asian peers in the library, and post it on YouTube. In the video, she addresses Asian students and “all their family they brought over from Asia” even at one point says “ching chong, ling long, ting tong” in a failed attempt to mock the language. This vlog went viral in mere hours, and has called the attention of not only the Los Angeles community but the international one. Alexandra Wallace has been critiqued by prominent broadcasts (like CNN) and faces severe repercussions from the University for her racist insults. It’s bad enough that she made the choice to rant about an issue as sensitive as race, but the fact that she is a student of the University of California is disappointing and shameful.
At this point, you are probably wondering, “What has this UCLA girl have anything to do with your experience in Paris?”. Well, to be honest, she is irrelevant to my studies at Sciences Po. But I chose this precise topic to highlight just one of the many sparks for Anti-American sentiments. By no means is she a representative of UCLA or even a general part of America, but the internet has the amazing power to turn small, precise scandals into golden politics. I had no idea this clip had proliferated to this side of the globe until I had dinner with some French friends who brought up the video.
Frenchie: Do all you Americans think like this girl?
Me: No. Do all you French stink and wear berets?
Frenchie: Well no, but everyone knows that is a French stereotype. However, American stereotypes are always solidified with real events, IE Bush and now – THIS girl. Zis is why we hate you all.
Good point. It makes complete sense, however beware the underlying straw man argument. All stereotypes are true to some extent, though often times they are taken to be sufficient evidence for, as I like to call it, Haterade. Haterade is an imaginary high which people feed off when they socially skewer others. American stereotypes seem to be the world’s preferred Haterade. Our stereotypes seem all the more true because the world sees evidence of our stupidity and ignorance (most promulgated by a certain Hockey Mom). But don’t be gullible enough to forget that most of the world pop and political culture is centered on US news, and therefore American shenanigans are very much on center stage. Every dumb thing any American has done is tweeted, made into a Facebook status, or flashed on YouTube. This fuels anti-Americanism, which in turn eats me up on my yearlong stay in Paris – the anti-American capital of the world (just kidding, don’t kill me).
But in all seriousness, let’s not take the idiots in this world too seriously. My point is (finally) that national stereotypes are humorous and even true to an extent; however these clichés have the power to fuel racism and ignite prejudice when used as weapons of hate. Let’s not fight hate with hate, instead – hug a Frenchie today. I leave you with a rebuttal to the UCLA girl video which should be proliferated throughout the world.