EDINA, Minn. — As a young actor, Edina High School senior Louisa Darr knows the stage is never necessarily real life. So she didn't expect to live what she had just acted out.
"I just recently wrapped my show at Theater Mu, 'Man of God,' which the central theme of the show revolves around violence against Asian American women," Darr said. "So then the next day Monday, I got a text from my sister saying, 'Have you seen the video?'"
The video showed several of her classmates using fake Asian accents in a mocking fashion, and one boy doing the Nazi salute.
"Then there are other girls in the room laughing, and the camera switches to another girl doing an Asian accent," Darr said.
"Your boyfriend think you ugly," the girl in the video can be heard saying.
"I honestly felt disappointed and heartbroken that — I mean, this is nothing new — I guess the fact that it's students I know," Darr explained. "Kids I was with every day in class, and I know I can speak for myself on behalf of my Asian and Jewish peers that we're scared and we're very disappointed."
In response to the incident, Edina High School Principal Andrew Beaton wrote a note to families and students. It read:
"Dear EHS Families and Students,
Today we became aware of a social media post on a private account that has disrupted our school environment. The nature of the post is culturally insensitive and violates our Core Values. We responded immediately, investigated and took appropriate action in alignment with district policy and protocols.
We understand that this has caused harm to members of our school community, and will create a space for students to speak about how this has impacted them.
Our mission is to create an equitable and inclusive school culture, and a positive learning environment for every student and we will quickly respond to any activity that does not align with that mission.
Thank you for your ongoing support."
A school spokesperson said "data privacy concerns" prevent further comment, but the school said it held space for students to speak about how this affected them.
"Kids who were a part of student government could come in and voice their opinion on the situation, which I'll admit, was a good part on their choice, but I think the people that actually needed to hear it would not voluntarily attend those meetings," Darr said. "That's why we need to have a mandatory school discussion."
"I'm an actor and I loved theater from a young age working with Mu, but it's different when you have to speak out in the spotlight about this," Darr continued, "This is something I believe in and want to fight for, but it's lonely work sometimes. And I have a ton of support from peers and members of the school district. I just wish I didn't have to do it in the first place."
Theater Mu is the second largest Asian American theater organization in the country. It is based in St. Paul.
They sent a statement in reaction to this that reads in part:
"The fact of the matter is that in the last two years, there's been a rise in anti-Asian violence, and we at Mu believe that silence only perpetuates that violence. Only when we speak our stories and raise our collective voice can we fight against other people seeing us as other. Although the teens in the video did not physically assault anyone, their words are still harmful and damaging and they should be held accountable for their actions."
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