Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Racist behavior toward Asians arouses concern in L.A.

News article

Recent racist behavior displayed by some students at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), against Asians has aroused concern in the Asian community here.

California Assembly Member Mike Eng has sent a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block Tuesday, expressing concern and requesting appropriate action.

The case in point is the Ching-Chong-Ling-Long Gourmet Takeout, a new Asian food delivery service catering to Westwood, where UCLA is situated. The outlet got its name from one of the most memorable lines of Alexandra Wallace's anti-Asian tirade that appeared in March.

Wallace was a former UCLA student who ranted about the "hordes of Asian people that UCLA accepts" in a three-minute video. Wallace specifically complained about students in the school library using their cellphones to call their families in Japan after the tsunami hit just days before.

At one point, Wallace -- who later withdrew from UCLA -- crudely mimics an Asian student answering the phone by saying, "Ohhh! Ching chong ling long ting tong!"

"I write this letter to express serious concern over the recent actions by a select number of UCLA students. It is my understanding that these students partnered with a local restaurant and established a delivery service by the name of 'Ching-Chong-Ling-Long Gourmet Takeout,'" Eng's letter said.

"California is home to a broad range of diverse communities. Acts of intolerance such as these are senseless and have a profoundly negative effect on the community as a whole," the letter said.

"As a member of the California State Legislature and the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, I urge your office to look into this matter immediately and take appropriate action," Eng's letter said.

Ching-Chong-Ling-Long Gourmet Takeout was founded by Rachel Lee, owner of The Palace Restaurant in Brentwood, and four UCLA students who run the campus delivery service UCLA Munchies.

Lee told the press that she initially hesitated to use the name for the delivery service, but the students convinced her otherwise.

"I said, 'Are you sure this is OK?' My initial reaction was that people might get offended," Lee was quoted by the local media as saying. "But they said it was perfectly fine among UCLA students."

A statement on the delivery service's website explains: "We believe that the best way to combat intolerance is through a positive cultural experience mixed in with a healthy serving of humor, and hope that after you try us, you too will feel that way."

Lee's website uses the following wording to attract Asians: "Welcome to Ching-Chong-Ling-Long Takeout, Westwood's newest, sexiest, drop-dead delicious Asian-food Delivery. We at The Palace Restaurant Seafood & Dim Sum started CCLL Takeout in order to provide UCLA students/staff with quality, affordable Asian foods."

The Periscope Post suggested that Lee didn't do her homework. "You might have thought that Wallace's public shaming and subsequent self-removal from school would have brought a new era of communication about race relations to the UCLA campus," the paper said.

However, the paper said, after all, Wallace's widely-viewed rant wasn't an isolated incident in the California public university system -- about a year before she took to the Internet, several fraternities at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) hosted a "Compton Cookout," a "ghetto-themed" off-campus party to mock Black History Month, a celebration of achievements by African Americans.

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