I haven’t written as much on any topic as I have on this one; this record of racism against Japan since the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of last year. But I think it’s important to catalogue many of the things said, because it highlights a number of problems that America has in the way they deal with the past. It also provides an answer to the question “where do they get this reputation from?” In Part 1, we looked at how many Americans don’t seem to be over World War II – namely, the Pearl Harbor attack. Now, we’ll look at the “educated” people, and see how they compare to the public opinion.
To read all three parts of this series on a single page, click here.
A Model Racist
Now let’s look at Alexandra Wallace, the third-year UCLA student who dressed in a pushup bra to present her idea to the world: Asian people should shut the hell up in libraries. I understand her frustration regarding talking on mobile phones in the library, but she even acknowledges the fact that they might be talking about their relatives in Japan… so she basically comes across as saying “screw you and your tsunami-ravaged families, I have exams coming up!” Don’t take my word for it; see the video below:
“Ohhh… Ching chong ling long ting tong” she said, demonstrating the extent of her Asian education. I say “Asian” because I can’t figure out what the hell kind of a language she’s butchering. As you can imagine, she received a lot of hostility and the original video was quickly taken down. Within a few days, the UCLA Chancellor Gene Block gave a statement, saying “I am appalled by the thoughtless and hurtful comments of a UCLA student posted on YouTube. I believe that speech that expresses intolerance toward any group of people is indefensible and has no place at UCLA.” Wallace received death threats, and had her exam locations posted online, which very quickly led her to publicly apologize.
“Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate,” she said in a statement. “I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did and if I could undo it, I would. I’d like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand.” Within a week, she decided to drop out of UCLA. If it’s true that she and her family received death threats – a claim that UCPD investigated but cannot confirm – then it’s hard not to sympathize; because speech, no matter how ignorant, should not be met with violence.
However, her complaint about being “ostracized from an entire community,” deserves no sympathy. Being ostracized is, frankly, a response that restores my faith in America as a land of intelligent and open-minded people. It just goes to show that she is a racist minority within a majority of people who do not tolerate intolerance.
But honestly, from the sound of it, she does seem to be sincerely apologetic, and she probably understands the magnitude of what she said – after all, she left her the prestigious university of her own volition. Lucky for her in her new modeling career, the camera doesn’t care about what comes out of her mouth. Though, apparently, T-shirt makers do. ohhhchingchonglinglongtingtong.com is a website that sold shirts with her quotes or other such messages, giving proceeds to the Red Cross in order to benefit Japan. I’m really not sure wearing one of those shirts would make you popular with the Asian community, but at least proceeds went East.
As bad as you think that was, it doesn’t top some of the intentionally offensive trash below. In the words of Penn Jillette:
And then there’s this asshole…
Trolls and Religious Folk
Meet “Tamtampamela.” People on the internet like her are known as “trolls.” They essentially say something appalling – whether they believe it or not – just to get attention; particularly hate-mail. Her video is disturbing on many levels:
“It’s amazing to see how fast God answers prayers sometimes. [. . .] I can’t even begin to think of how vengeful he’s going to be on America, because we have a lot of Atheists here in America. I mean Japan is a fantastic place to start.”
Classy gal. As Kyle Munzenrieder responded on the Miami NewTimes blog, “Maybe if I pray hard enough, God will shake some sense into stupid people.”
I was debating for almost a year about whether I wanted to join in with the shower of attention that these people get, wondering if having her appear on the internet yet again would be a good or bad thing. I decided that what I hope to accomplish by contributing to her publicity is that one day, this troll applies for a job to someone – or meets someone in her community – who has read this post, or one of the many like it (indeed, many good Americans complained immediately) and they say “Oh wait, you were that creepy girl who went on YouTube and said that God was so great because he killed tens of thousands of Japanese people. …Yeah, go fuck yourself.”
In fact, she had a history of these videos, including an idiotic message to Massachusetts voters, appealing for them to vote republican, with the threat that God will strike them down like they did in Haiti if they didn’t. Actually, she made a separate video about God punishing Haiti all together.
I’m still not completely convinced that she actually believes the nonsense that she spewed, but I hope she has a hard time finding employment because of Google picking up her information. The real name of “Tamtampamela” is either Tamar Boehm, who was a 22 year old student of Biola University (a Christian university) at the time of her video on Japan, or Pamela Foreman. I presume the former is true, despite introducing herself in her videos as “Pamela.”
Just three days after the disaster, twenty two year old Tamar “Tamtampamela” Boehm of Biola University created another video (click here for the entire 35 seconds) called “tamtampamela – coming clean” in which she said this:
“Hey guys, it’s Pamela. Um, I’ve been making troll videos for a while now, but this last one seems to have pissed off a lot of people. …Which was my intention! But… at this point, I’m kind of tired of pizza. So, uh… I’m gonna let the cat out of the bag. Comin’ clean! It was fun guys. So uh… ya! I guess I’ll see ya.”
Unless her idea of “coming clean” is admitting that she had fun trolling, I’d say that’s a hell of a lousy admission, let alone an apology. Don’t they practice confessions in church? We already knew she was a troll, so I really don’t understand the point of her video. And the poor girl had to put up with having pizzas ordered to her house? What a tragedy. Tamar Boehm of Biola University soon decided to take her YouTube account down, but not before her videos were saved by various other YouTubers to keep a record of her hate-speech.
I hope the future powers that be, such as employers, realize that this is a clear reflection of her character. If she meant it, she is an unapologetic bigot, and if it was just for the attention, then she is an immature and an obliviously ignorant attention-whore. When people like her seek a notorious 15 minutes of fame, we should give it to them. Maybe by exposing this caliber of scum, we can deter future bigots from spreading their filth.
…But I know what you’re thinking. “Who cares about this random girl? She’s the only idiot you’re going to find who said something so stupid.” I wish.
Following Japan’s disaster on March 11, the Public Religion Research Institute began calling Americans. Almost 4 out of 10 Americans polled between March 17-20 (38% of 1008 respondents) agreed that natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami are were divine intervention. And of the 1008 surveyed, over half of white evangelicals believe that God punishes nations for their citizens’ sins. I was under the impression that Christianity was founded on the principle of forgiveness… but I guess “God just works in mysterious ways.”
Actually, the American TV show Real Time with Bill Maher contacted the Public Policy Polling group to conduct a telephone-survey last month. The 1,071 respondents were republicans and independents, and they were contacted between January 13-15; the results were shown on his show a week later. There’s one result I particularly wanted to mention. When they were asked if they would be willing to vote for a particular minority, 47% said they would be willing to vote for a gay candidate, whereas only 30% would be willing to vote for an atheist candidate. This was very surprising to see. As host Bill Maher joked “A president can live any lifestyle he wants. …As long as God hates him for it.”
TheSocietyPages (TSP) showed how many Americans believe that God is deeply vengeful about sea-life, as well. “No offense japan,” chiliconcharney politely began “but just saw the cove and mother nature is kicking your ass for the millions of dolphins and whales you’ve slaughtered.” Cesar Adrian (@Cesarf00lz) emphatically agreed with one racist, tweeting “YES! RT @LizBones9: Over reacting on this japan shit, its their karma for how they treat dolphins #Assholes”. Andrew Kay (@LoneStar_88) wrote “Japans having a nuclear meltdown. Maybe thats karma for all the whales they have killed and eaten?…” Kristi Poll (@Kristipoll) said “I think mother nature is just pissed at Japan for slaughtering whales and dolphins. Just maybe.”
Clearly, Americans feel strongly about dolphins and whales. In fact, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which took place in Vancouver a few days ago, researchers from various fields proposed that dolphins and whales deserve legal protection as non-human “persons” under the law. I suppose the verbal hostility above is the idiots’ ways of expressing this opinion.
Others believe that there were other reasons that this was deserved. mollymsherphard said “you don’t realize how good this is? Asia deserves this. They treat citizens like shit.” I’m not sure who taught Molly M. Sherphard geography, but painting the biggest continent in the world with one stroke is kind of… well, let’s say… – as I sigh in disappointment – unsurprising for such loud Americans. Why are the ones who rarely speak always the ones who have something good to say?
I suppose that’s because they listen.
One of the first comments on the TSP article was Tatiana Covington, who I hope represents a larger American public perception, saying “No, stupids, it’s all just blind, impersonal, inanimate plate tectonics. There is no god. There is no karma. Nature does not care about us, or even know that we are here. Read a geology textbook, instead of such ridiculous pieces of superstitious trash as the bible.” However, I’m sure Twitter user @IAmJoshMcFresh would refuse such advice, tweeting “This is a blessing Japan ! This was God’s way of saying you were over populated … ‘oh there’s to many people’ *MASSIVE WAVE*”
If Josh knew anything about demographics, he’d know that Japan didn’t need any help with overpopulation. In fact The Associated Press recently reported that by 2060, the population of almost 128 million Japanese people will shrink by a third. But why bother making an argument against a fool? It’s no wonder why Richard Dawkins doesn’t debate random creationists.
Part 3 will look within, and beyond the United States.