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Race & Ethnicity

Alexandra Wallace: Was UCLA 'Asians in the Library' Video One Big Publicity Stunt?

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Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 5:30 PM

click to enlarge The infamous Alexandra Wallace - CO-ED MAGAZINE
Update: Wallace drops out of UCLA, right after school officials announce she will not be punished for her racist rant. Details after the jump.

Alexandra Wallace may not be as dumb as she acts. For a UCLA pity admit whose poli-sci career is obviously going nowhere, what could be better for her best shot -- reality TV with a side of B-list modeling -- than a little infamy?

At first, YouTube commenters condemned Wallace's "Asians in the Library" video as the biggest mistake of her life. In a day-after apology letter to the Daily Bruin, she wrote, "I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would."

But wait.

What bad, exactly, has come of Wallace's tirade? Though the outrage was vitriolic Sunday evening, and Wallace even reported receiving death threats to the UC Police Department, all that anger quickly erupted into an absurd Internet carnival of dubstep remixes, hot bikini pics (if nothing else, who wouldn't enjoy a good rage-screw?) and comedic parodies, to the point where her words became a harmless meme that could do no hurt.

(They've even done some good! See: "Alexandra Wallace-Inspired 'Ching Chong' T-Shirts to Fund Japan Relief Efforts.")

Now, she's got campus police at her beck and call, and the UCLA chancellor is lashing out harder at "uncivil discourse" in response to the video than at the video itself.

UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton, who's gotten more press action this week than a Japanese news correspondant, told the LA Weekly yesterday that "right now, the campus is focused on ensuring [Wallace's] well-being so she can complete her finals."

And what of her highly publicized potential punishment? "I'll say that there is no ongoing discussion about that at this time," Hampton concluded. (Rightly so: Nothing in the student code of conduct could have overridden her First Amendment rights. Just in case anyone out there is still crying "hate speech.")

So now, not only does the notorious library "epiphanizer" have the full sympathies of campus authorities, she's gained millions of Internet followers and an instant household name. Playboy and L.A. porn empire Vivid Entertainment would have her in a second.

It's genius, really. Better than Paris could have pulled. But we're so onto it.

Leave it up to digital-age dinosaur Dad to give it all away on his Facebook page. The Silicon Valley Mercury News revealed yesterday that John Wallace had been all but pushing for his daughter's rise to infamy:

"My daughter wants to start a blog," wrote Wallace's dad on his Facebook page.

John Wallace, a Sacramento-area retail developer, posted on Friday at 11:17 a.m.: "She's asking for domain suggestions for 'Asians on their cellphones in the library!' She's shooting videos as I write."

John Wallace also posted March 3 that his daughter was selected for the audience of MTV's "Jersey Shore" reunion show.

Thus outing his daughter as a blatant fame-monger, and proving that parents on Facebook is always a bad idea.

As for you, Alexandra Wallace: We'd recommend you sign some deals, stat (girl-on-girl with Rebecca Black? Please?), before your inevitable fade into that apocalyptic 21st century wasteland where the virals of yesterday -- Ted Williams, double-rainbow guy, cute little girl who sang cute -- go to die.

Because from where we're sitting, you've still got a good week's worth of SEO to cash in on. Cha-ching!

Update: The Associated Press confirms what we've all known since Day One -- that "Asians in the Library" did not, and could not, seeing as we live in a free country, breach UCLA policy. From today's report:

UCLA's vice chancellor for student affairs, Janina Montero, said in a statement Friday that Alexandra Wallace's three-minute video did not violate the student code of conduct.

Montero says the video was misguided and disrespectful, but it did not seek to harm or threaten a specific person or group.

And in other amusing aftermath: "Angry Black Cowboy Responds to Alexandra Wallace: 'Bruce Lee Was Asian!!' (VIDEO)."

Update: The Daily Bruin just broke the news that -- on the same day as the vice chancellor's big announcement -- Wallace has decided to drop out of UCLA. Here's her letter of resignation:

In an attempt to produce a humorous YouTube video, I have offended the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture. I am truly sorry for the hurtful words I said and the pain it caused to anyone who watched the video. Especially in the wake of the ongoing disaster in Japan, I would do anything to take back my insensitive words. I could write apology letters all day and night, but I know they wouldn't erase the video from your memory, nor would they act to reverse my inappropriate action.

I made a mistake. My mistake, however, has lead to the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats, and being ostracized from an entire community. Accordingly, for personal safety reasons, I have chosen to no longer attend classes at UCLA.

Alexandra Wallace

Wait. Did she just use the word "ostracize" in a sentence?

Originally posted at 8:45 a.m.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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