Alexandra Wallace made a typical non-apology apology to "the entire Asian culture" (wtf?), while also making some bold accusations about threats she received that were never confirmed or validated, therefore painting herself as a victim. I've been observing the aftermath of this event given how much mainstream attention it has received. What we do know is that this wasn't a one-time accidental mistake from this woman; Wallace had actually planned a series of internet releases about Asians.
One writer remarks how often casual offensive remarks about Asians are made in conversation, as if they are perfectly fine. It merely confirms the widespread prejudice that has been tracked for multiple years by Asian American organizations. Even worse are when Asian Americans excuse or apologize for events that are offensive, which helps to justify or perpetuate this behavior after they are challenged. We've seen this apologist behavior in the past, like when Lucy Liu brushed off Rosie O'Donnell's "ching chong" joke, or anytime Michelle Malkin talks on Fox News about minority issues. It's no surprise that after the Alexandra Wallace incident, some Asian Americans were brushing it off or excusing it, or even asking if people overreacted.
The Alexandra Wallace outburst relates to other recent issues, like overtly complaining that there are 'too many Asians' in colleges, or where some notable Americans flee areas because they are uncomfortable being around so many Asian Americans. This article does a good job covering some of the underlying issues related to xenophobia and intolerance related to Asians and Asian Americans.
On one page where an Asian American writer was excusing or apologizing for Wallace's comments, one internet commenter named maxben had a great explanation for why it is so damaging to downplay these types of incidents:
Look, I might be Jewish so I'm more defensive about this seeing as how there are less of us. Yet even in my community I see those who would try to explain away anti-Jewish rants because they think that by taking things lying down we are not causing a divide between Christian and Jews, and speaking out would just make Jews look like whiners. This was the number one strategy for Jews in 1880s-1930s Germany who were finally allowed citizenship and believed that if they stay quiet the Germans would accept them eventually. But staying quiet about hate merely reinforces that its ok to hate, that such comments are appropriate. And when they repeat, more voices join and the hate becomes louder.
There have been recent reports about how Asian Americans need an extra 140 SAT points to compete equally with white college applicants, and other studies showing that with nearly identical qualifications and backgrounds, white students are three times more likely than Asian American applicants to be admitted to elite colleges. There are also multiple incidents of violence against Asians in schools, as deliverymen, or as restaurant owners. Reactions from the Asian American community range from anger, to neutrality, to apathy, to apologizing and excuse-making. All of these events are related -- there are negative views or intolerance about Asians and Asian Americans behind these behaviors, which we are supposed to tolerate, and a familiar cycle continues to perpetuate because there aren't enough vocal voices (even within our own communities) saying this is not okay.