By Arturo R. García
Who knows what “inspired” Sam Hendrickson to think anybody wanted to hear him offer up his reasons why he wouldn’t want to be Asian. But it didn’t take him long to feel the heat for it.
According to his Twitter account, though, the rant wasn’t spontaneous; he posted a print-only version on his Facebook page on March 4, then offered to do a video version if the original note received 100 Likes. (His Facebook page has since been deleted.)
Then, according to Heidi Liu at Thought Catalog, the video was ripped and posted on YouTube by a viewer, who said Hendrickson and his friends reacted defiantly, throwing homophobic slurs at him and threatening to “dismantle him socially:”
He even sent me a message thanking me for posting this video. He said, “I was going to post it myself.” I do not know him, but many friends of mine are very offended by this, so I decided to let the world know what he thinks. This video is not mine, but I felt it necessary for everyone to see. I enjoy sarcasm and joking around, but this does not cross many as a joke.
Of course, Hendrickson pulled out the “joke” defense within 24 hours of the video going up. He also said his first attempt at an apology was voted down and–a little suprisingly, at least for anybody who followed the Alexandra Wallace story almost exactly two years ago–that he “didn’t think anybody would take this so seriously.”
Suey Park did come upon something of note at Critical Spontaneity:
Before Samuel took down his Facebook, his entire life was viewable to the public. One post of his details “Five facts that people don’t know about me” and explains how he suffers from severe Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and has depression. Mental health issues are stigmatized in many racial/ethnic groups. In some Asian languages, there exists no word to describe any mental health concern besides “crazy.” In turn, our community often times refuses to talk about mental health and its effects on our own community. This refusal to acknowledge the concerns of many of our own make it difficult for us to understand the hardships of others. While an individual’s experience within each cultural environment is different, it is also helpful to acknowledge that members from all communities struggle with mental health concerns; mental illnesses do not discriminate. By allowing each of our communities to see shared struggles that exist, we can slowly build bridges to move toward a more collective union.
Hendrickson hasn’t tweeted since apologizing the day after the video went online.