Now Sadness

Dear UCLA Student,

I viewed your video last evening and have been stewing over it ever since. I felt tremendous anger for a solid 20 hours. And then my anger elided into sadness.

I feel sad for you. I feel sad that you can categorically dismiss a whole race of people based on your non-encounters living alongside these people in an apartment building and studying alongside them in a library. If you had invested in getting to know some of your neighbors and colleagues, perhaps you would not have such a generally ill impression of them, or expect they all spoke loudly in one continental language, or had no sense of fending for themselves. Perhaps you would discover some of their values are distinct from your own, just as they might also be surprised that not all Caucasians are inclined to chastise a whole race of people via internet video.

I feel sadness that your perception of "American" does not include immigrants, which I assume your ancestors once were. I am sad that you seem to think you have ownership over a public university, such that anyone who ventures overseas to live and subsequently attend your university should be taught to adapt to a code of so-called "American manners." I have yet to read a textbook or manual on American manners so I, an American citizen, am sad that I am also unclear as to what American manners entail.

I am sad for my American-born children, whose ancestry includes Scottish, Irish, Italian, and South Korean, who will likely have to contend with similar snubs against Asians, to which they will neither relate nor understand since their experience has been shaped by two parents who love each other and work every day to understand the rich heritages that have informed their characters.

I am glad that you likely have never had to experience the heartache of not knowing whether your loved ones - separated by an ocean and time zone differences - are safe or worse, unaccounted for in the wake of a natural disaster. But I am sad for those who do and it makes me sad that you probably have not meditated on how your blithe words might affect some in this predicament.

I should probably not dignify your ignorant rant with a response but I am hoping by doing so, the weight of my feelings toward your diatribe would be lifted.

Yours very sincerely, Kendra Stanton Lee