Submitted by: Members of the Vietnamese Student Union
On Nov. 27, at approximately 8:30 a.m., a piece of white paper was found posted on the sign of the Vietnamese Student Union’s office on the fourth floor of Kerckhoff Hall.
This vandalism, which included an illustration of an obscene hand gesture, read “asian women R Honkie white-boy worshipping Whores!!!” VSU is disappointed and offended that such racial and sexist comments are being made on a campus that prides itself on its diversity.
It is truly upsetting that this is not simply an act of ignorance, but intolerance toward our organization. The fact that someone took the time to create, print and post this hate speech in front of our office proves that this act is deliberate and intentional. This is not just an attack on our organization, but also an attack on the bigger Asian American and Pacific Islander community and women, especially those of color.
The incident carries several implications for society’s view of Asian women. By categorizing Asian women as “whores,” the perpetrator of this incident further promotes stereotypes of hypersexuality and objectification.
This message conveys the image of Asian women as mere sex objects rather than human beings and rejects their personal identity.
Moreover, it reinforces the idea that Asian women have an innate attraction toward whites to the point of submissive reverence. This belief creates division within our community and across communities by portraying white males as a dominant group. This message breeds divisiveness and seeks to undo the work of many people of color and their allies.
As the official voice for all Vietnamese students at UCLA, the Vietnamese Student Union is against the objectification of women.
The racist and sexist slurs posted in front of our office only prove that as an organization, we must continue to promote diversity and advocate for the needs of our community. Each year, the Vietnamese Student Union hosts its annual Vietnamese Culture Night at Royce Hall to promote and share Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American culture with thousands of UCLA students, family and alumni.
Events like this aim to increase the presence of our community not only as UCLA students, but as contributing members of our society, and to combat stereotypes and ignorance demonstrated by the incident mentioned.
It is especially relevant that the posting occurred just two months before our 33rd annual Vietnamese Culture Night, which will seek to address the issue of human trafficking and challenge the perceptions of Vietnamese and Asian women.
Although there is no quick fix solution to this incident, we want to ensure that it will not go unnoticed. We feel the most effective action that will begin addressing this issue is to first generate awareness.
Awareness alone brings light to this issue and opens opportunities for critical dialogue and potential action. This will come in the form of an awareness event held by the Vietnamese Student Union today at noon at Meyerhoff Park in front of Kerckhoff Hall.
To effectively gauge the demographic affected by this incident, this event allows prominent student leaders and UCLA faculty to demonstrate that our community is not silent and such actions are not tolerated. To further branch out to the demographic and allies of our cause, the Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA will open a discussion forum on Wednesday, at a time and location to be announced. Not only will this event promote awareness, it will also give some peace of mind to individuals who feel unresolved about the issue.
Roman Nguyen is a fifth-year international development studies student. Anh Nguyen is a third-year global studies student. Uyen Hoang is a third-year international development studies student. Justin Nguyen is a third-year psychobiology student. Johnny Tran is a second-year economics student. Jessy Nguyen is a second-year psychobiology student. Steven Pham is a fourth-year psychology student. Julia Tran is a second-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student. John Le is a fourth-year psychobiology student. Bounrod Xiong is a fourth-year English student.