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9.18.2008

the worst club recruiting video ever



Got word about this from Jennifer, who attends the University of British Columbia... A student social club at her school is facing possible sanctions, and even disbandment, after creating and post a series of online "recruitment" videos that many Asian students are calling culturally offensive: UBC social club video 'culturally offensive'.

Last week, dozens of complaints poured into the Alma Mater Society, the campus body that regulates student clubs, labeling the videos as offensive:
The videos - posted last week by the Chinese Varsity Club in a format similar to the hugely popular Mac/PC television commercials - depict two Asian students discussing the respective merits of their social clubs.

The young woman representing the CVC speaks perfect English, with no accent, while the second character, a member of the fictional "Typical Honger Club," struggles with the language, at one point pulling out a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word "multi-cultural."
Ouch. You can watch the video in question here (EDIT: Looks like the video has been taken down). It's pretty awful. What's worse is that this comes from a Chinese student organization, and the intent is actually to promote diversity and apparently break the club's image as a Chinese-only group in an effort to expand membership. Yeah. That didn't work.

This is definitely an interesting twist in the usual culturally insensitive campus conflicts. We're normally used to seeing stupid pranks and videos and misguided party themes from lameass idiot fraternities and the like. Here, it's actually an Asian Canadian group being accused of cultural insensitivity—by other Asians. This kind of intra-cultural conflict isn't anything new, but it's just interesting to see it play out this way. Bad move, CVC.

By the way, is it just me, or does going on a ski trip with 800 people just sound like a really terrible, unfun idea? (Thanks, Jenniffer.)

UPDATE: Here's a campus news segment on the controversy, and the subsequent disciplinary actions imposed on CVC for the video: CVC punished for video. The segment includes clips from the offending video, in case you're curious and didn't get to see it before they took it down.