Painted in a Different Light

12
1934

This article is in response to the article posted on February 24, 2021 titled “N.E.C Athletes Post Insensitive Tiktok on Valentine’s Day.”

The video that had been posted showed two friends providing another friend and her boyfriend dinner on Valentine’s Day since they did not feel comfortable going out to a restaurant during the pandemic. The couple had wanted to attend a Chinese restaurant for their favorite meal but decided against it as a way to remain safe and adhere to the recommended COVID guidelines.

The article that was published contained numerous assumptions concerning the creators, the activities in the video and the individuals within the TikTok that are inaccurate and do not convey our true intent. In other words, what is presented in the article is taken out of context. We feel it’s important to provide an accurate account of what transpired, our intentions, and the actions we have taken to make amends and address the situation with the author of the article.

The video posted was a result of two friends attempting to make Valentine’s Day special for another friend and her boyfriend, nothing more.

The February 24th article stated, “In the Tiktok, the poster’s two teammates can be seen wearing a bathrobe and a floral kimono, respectively, both with their hair in tight buns.” Not knowing us, we can see how the video may have been perceived by the author. In reality and to explain ourselves better, one individual had their hair tied in a bun for the entirety of the day, not knowing she would be involved in this Tiktok later. As for the other individual, she had been sporting a ponytail all day, as she was in the Tiktok, not a “tight bun.”

Later in the article, the author states that “two of these individuals decided to costume themselves in a half-a**ed costumes.” This is simply not the case. Both individuals were wearing what they wear most nights. The authentic floral kimono was given to the individual wearing it as a gift from a close friend in the military who had been deployed for a year and a half in Japan. This article of clothing means a lot to the individual as she wears it almost every night, not simply for the Tiktok.

Further down in the article the author compares our video to a case from the University of Arkansas where a student “posted a selfie in black face to his Snapchat story with the caption ‘I hope this offends someone.’” This is not comparable to the Tiktok posted on February 14th. When posting this video, in no way did we have any intentions of hurting or hoping to offend anyone. There was no malice in creating this video but we understand that at least one person was offended. That was never our intent. We are all very sorry that anyone was offended.

Since the article has been posted, it was brought to our attention that the author of the article posted on a social media account of their own that when they first addressed us, we had threatened them, which simply is not true. When they first addressed us, we immediately took the video down and messaged them to let them know that. We did this because we did not want anyone offended or hurt by what we believed was an innocent, harmless and kind gesture for our friend and her boyfriend. This is just one false statement out of the many that have been made regarding the situation.

In an attempt to resolve the situation, we’ve had numerous meetings with school’s administration, including the Director of Student Conduct, the Athletic Director and the Provost. On multiple occasions we’ve also tried to connect with the author to introduce ourselves, discuss the situation, and come to a mutual understanding of how this incident evolved and bring it to a respectful conclusion.

To date the author has declined all requests to meet with us. We continue to be ready to have that meeting.

As we attempt to resolve the misunderstandings with the author of the article, we understand how certain types of communications can be received and interpreted. In the event we have offended anyone, we’d like to apologize. It was never intended to hurt anyone.

The three of us are proud and privileged to be a part of such a diverse and cultured community that is NEC. All of us were raised in an environment of acceptance and tolerance and we would never want to cause anyone any emotional pain, trauma, or turmoil. We in no way would post something that, to our knowledge, could be hurtful, racist, offensive, etc. Anyone who knows us knows that we love and accept all cultures, races, religions, beliefs, ethnicities, sexualities, etc.

But, again, to anyone who was offended, we are sorry.

We’re thankful for the opportunity to respond and will all three learn and grow from this experience.

-Three N.E.C. Athletes

Read the Response to the Response!

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Nope

“It’s okay though because we didn’t mean to be racist!!!!! I’m sorry of **you** took it **the wrong way**” Take some responsibility for your actions. The author of the original article doesn’t owe you a conversation, apologize for real. Do you know how many Asian Americans have been murdered recently? Just say you don’t understand that posting such a disgusting tiktok as consequences and leave. What you did was messed up and every Asian American at this school deserves a SINCERE apology.
And to those of you claiming this is well written or that people ARE BEING RACIST?!?!?!? by calling the posters of the tiktok racist, you do realize this stupid tiktok was making fun of an entire ethnicity, mocking the way they talk, and what the original posters assume Asian culture is in whatever world is the most backwards? I bet you would defend this even if the original posters “joked” that Asian people eat dogs.
Maybe talk to someone who isn’t the same milquetoast white person that is nearly every student at this school.

Karleigh Waldron

Who are you? Scared to reveal your names? Don’t be shy. You posted that video no problem.

Dumbfounded student

What I read
“We’re sorry. We don’t think we were being racist and we will defend the least racist parts of the Tik Tok”
The schools response:
*crickets chirping*

Sad

John

This is a very disappointing and ignorant response. This video was racist, and students should acknowledge they made a mistake which was insulting to many people. This article did not bring up the dancing or disgusting mock of a Chinese accent on the menu. These students know why they wore the robes too, it doesn’t matter how “authentic” you’re japanese kimono is. It was a mock of asian culture. Along with that, it is not white peoples place to determine if an action is racist, as we are the perpetrators who have cause so much pain to minorities in history. I’m disappointed in my fellow NEC students for not only allowing this to happen but also not having these students held accountable for their actions.

Actual Asian American

This statement comes off as more of a character attack on the author of the article. It seems as if the three NEC athletes think only the author had an issue with their video, whereas anyone with an ounce of empathy for Asian Americans would have felt that the video in question was racist. It was disturbing.
The author isn’t personally attacking you. She has called attention to your actions.
People who were truly raised in an environment that respects all cultures would have had the empathy and foresight to not write something as crass and ignorant as “tank you peas come again etc” and wouldn’t have improvised dances that frankly mocks Asian culture, and regardless of an emotional attachment to the kimono, all of this together completely disproves that “there was no malice in making this video”.
Everyone in the video seems to exist in an echo chamber of validation but only from the people living their exact same lives. It was an ignorant video, regardless of your intent.

[…] Painted in a Different Light […]

Iris Wren

What a great article. Do not worry about the comments on this. They are being racist to you saying “white privilege” that is so rude and awful.

Concerned Parent

This response is horrifying. The lack of response from New England College is even more so.

Anon

well done

Ryder Close

Though I am not a student of color, I believe there are parts of this article that may begin to create some sort of apology, albeit quite lackluster. I do find it interesting that the authors and TikTok-posters have decided to omit the part of the video that I think was the most offensive. The part where they stereotyped Asian restaurant owners. At the bottom of the menu, these students wrote, “Tank yew, peas come back in 15 minutes for pork fried wice.”
Why was this not addressed in their article? Why only address the parts they can “explain away”?
I am quite upset that New England College continues to refuse to make a statement on this. I am not necessarily asking for the students to receive harsh consequences, but the lack of reaction from a school that uses its extremely diverse campus as a calling card must do better than what NEC is doing now.

Storm

If you were actually sorry, you wouldn’t be justifying your actions. Instead you are hiding behind the white privilege you have and putting something up to apease the general population and it won’t work.

Intrigued reader

Very well written article.