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Social media serves up racism once again

By Chang Jun | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-09-06 01:25
A California attorney made national headlines last week by unleashing a racist diatribe against Asian Americans – their driving habits, accents, how they dress and even their ambition for success.

Asian Americans account for 15 percent of California's population, according to US Census Bureau data. Regrettably, they still remain an easy target for racial discrimination in public domains, including Facebook.

Commenting on the recent hit romantic comedy movie Crazy Rich Asians, which features a majority Asian-American cast and has continued to soar at the box office since its Aug 15 opening, a California attorney made national headlines last week by unleashing a racist diatribe against Asian Americans – their driving habits, accents, how they dress and even their ambition for success.

Christina Ignatius, the Irvine, Orange County-based women who bills herself as America's top law school tutor, started her post by saying that the Crazy Rich Asians reminds her of "all the Asians who flooded into Orange County and then took over our mall at South Coast Plaza. In fact, they came up with a shopping word called 'snoshy'. It stands for posh and snobby."

She went on: "You can see them around Fendi, Dior, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. They have a zoned-in personality where they act like no one else exists and they just run straight in front of you to grab the next purse.

"They also drive this way near South Coast Plaza. They will drive in their Mercedes in the carpool lane and then cut across 5 lanes to get over to the mall, as if your car right next to them didn't even matter. That's why we have the term 'driving like an Asian.'

"At UCI [University of California at Irvine], they brought their obnoxiously lowered and really loud speedster cars that can't handle the speed bumps in the parking structure so you need to drive one mile behind them," she added.

Citing many offensive stereotypes about Asians, including "If you went to UCI like I did you probably went to school with a lot of rice rockets," Ignatius mocked the accents of her Asian students when they approached her for tutoring services.

"They kept telling me that they were attending UCRA, I need to translate that into my head to deduce that they were going to UCLA."

Asians flooded that school (UCI) if "they were smart and could get in," she said. "They went there to become doctors. They were raised by Tiger Moms who told them to 'become docta (Asian accent)' and then if they were not smart enough to become a doctor, 'to marry a docta.' If they didn't marry a doctor, then they were encouraged to marry a lawyer."

Ignatius' resentment towards Asians went beyond Orange County, stretching northward. "If you thought you could get away from them for a hot second and go on vacation to Yosemite, think again. They came in huge buses and stood in front of each waterfall to give the peace sign in their selfies."

"From one annoying thing to another, welcome the Asians," she concluded.

Naturally, Ignatius's rants fomented a fair amount of pungent feedback.

Among the 500 plus comments under her post, which was removed but electronically captured, Mack McCoy wrote: "Christina Ignatius sounds deeply racist and a total embarrassment to the University of California, Irvine and to Chapman University (where Ignatius has graduated). I feel sorry for anyone who hires her because a lawyer with such a closed mind can't be very good."

Jamie S. Ceman, a spokeswoman at Chapman University's Fowler School of Law, Ignatius' alma mater, said: "The statement made by the alumna is regrettable, and certainly not consistent with the values and beliefs we hold at Chapman University."

Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, wrote a Facebook post on Ignatius' remarks: "I am saddened by your racist, insensitive and simply unacceptable post. It's hard to imagine that an attorney in Orange County would make such an ignorant post in 2018."

In a non-apologetic response to the public outrage, Ignatius justified her post by saying: "So I post something funny about Crazy Rich Asians. Apparently, it was so provocative that it was considered an abuse. I had no idea that talking about stereotypes would be so provocative."

She added, "I don't hate Asians. I really love them and I find differences to be funny and interesting."

The problem is, who would trust you, Ms. Ignatius?

Contact the writer at junechang@chinadailyusa.com

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