HomeBad Ass AsiansHalf-Chinese Author Calls Out Highland Park Students for "Trolling"

Half-Chinese Author Calls Out Highland Park Students for “Trolling”

Jamie Ford
Jamie Ford

Best-selling Chinese American author Jamie Ford took to Facebook and his personal website to report how he was treated at Highland Park High School on Thursday as keynote speaker of the town’s literary festival, reports Dallas News. Ford, who debuted in 2009 with Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was speaking to an assembly of freshmen and sophomores when he experienced his first school visit gone wrong.

On his Facebook page, Ford chronicled his odd experience. He was initially welcomed with claps and cheers as he shared his personal high school career stories. However, the clapping and cheering didn’t stop there. It was halfway through his 50-minute talk when Ford began the Q&A session that students began to interrupt.

 

“Then as I opened my mouth to speak again—you began clapping. As I tried to answer questions you began clapping. For twenty minutes, as I tried to wrap up my presentation, you clapped and cheered randomly, a thousand students, trolling me,” wrote Ford. “I was perplexed as your teachers and your principal—who was just offstage, stood impotent, while you mocked me, a guest to your magnificent school.”

At the beginning of his talk, a few students had been escorted out by teachers for being disruptive; however, at this point, Ford had to quickly blurt out responses to questions to make himself heard.

Ford, whose great-grandfather migrated from China and worked in Nevada’s borax mines, was closing up his talk when he answered a question about World War II Japanese incarceration. “I managed to end my talk on a bittersweet note about the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans and nationals, about how if we forget that bit of history, we are diminished as a people,” he wrote on his website. “I got my point across and in that brief moment your impoliteness was forgiven and all was well. I thanked you, for not clapping and cheering the Japanese Internment. Then you clapped and cheered the Japanese Internment. You couldn’t resist. That showed me more about you than I wanted to know. But there it is, your applause still ringing in my ears.”

Ford brought up a reminder from the past of Highland Park High School alum Levi Pettit, who was recorded leading a racist cheer among his University of Oklahoma fraternity brothers. “You are part of an educational system that gave the world Levi Pettit,” he wrote. “Remember him? I’m sure you do, though I’m also sure you’d like to forget that video of Levi in a tuxedo, an Oklahoma frat boy on a bus leading a cheer that went like this: ‘You can hang ’em from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me, there will never be a n***** at SAE.'”

Despite the horrible treatment he received, Ford had praised the organizers of Highland Park’s literary festival and did have several pleasant encounters with some of the faculty and student body, even returning to the high school the next day to run fiction-writing workshops: “Your staff was amazing. And the volunteer organizers did a fantastic job.”

It doesn’t change the reality of the negative experience that he unexpectedly became a part of. “Yes, a handful of your students sought me out to apologize on behalf of their peers. And they were truly wonderful and I enjoyed our time together,” he wrote. “But they also said troubling things like ‘This place is awesome, but half the kids are basically corrupt politicians in the making and future date rapists.’ They even used an acronym, the FDRC, the Future Date Rape Club. (Please tell me that’s just a joke.)”

Ford does plan to return to Dallas later in 2017 to promote his third work of historical fiction, which is currently set to be published in September.

 

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