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Asian Woman’s Brother Calls Her A ‘Karen’ For Reporting Two Teens Who Were Racist To Her

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Anti-Asian violence and hate speech are on the rise across the nation.

One single look at the news will show growing tensions between the Asian-American/Pacific Islander communities and the populace of the United States, as elderly Asian people continue to be assaulted in public in broad daylight and Asian-owned businesses become the target of cruel pranks and harassment.

Reddit user Silver-Pizza-2059 was the target of some anti-Asian rhetoric while she was minding her own business.

Unclear if she’d done something wrong, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback.

She asked:

“AITA for reporting two teens for their behaviour?”

Our original poster, or OP, was minding her own business when these people verbally targeted her.

“Apologies this is on mobile so sorry for the format.”

“I (20F[emale]) was walking to the grocery store where two teens (13-14M[ale]) walked by me and made a comment about my race. They muttered ‘ching chong thanks for the virus.’”

“For reference I’m Korean and live in a predominantly white city.”

OP was not about to let them get away with this.

“I was absolutely appalled and asked them to repeat themselves. They said they were shocked I spoke english so well and then proceeded to stretch their eyes thin and ‘pretend to be Asian.’”

“They walked off laughing but I realized they were wearing their soccer jerseys with their numbers on them.”

“I made a mental note of the jersey colour and the numbers and went home to look up the league.”

“I live in a small city so there’s not many soccer leagues so it was pretty easy to figure out what league they belonged to.”

OP made sure they suffered consequences for their racist and inappropriate behavior.

“I ended up emailing their coach and basically filled him in on the behaviour of his players. I also made sure to state that this behaviour is unacceptable and that I would assume he wouldn’t want his team to be represented like this.”

“He emailed me back today and apologized profusely. He said he talked to the boys and that they would not be playing on the team for the remaining games.”

“The boys also sent me an email apologizing for their behaviour.”

“I felt pretty proud about calling out this racist behaviour so I told my brother (16M) about how the boys were punished.”

OP’s brother did not at all respond the way she thought he would.

“He basically called me a ‘Karen’ and how I ruined these boys’ summer because they would not be playing on the team.”

“He also said that since they were young and apologized, they probably didn’t mean it.”

“I personally think that 13 is old enough to know better and act like a decent human being but my brother seems to disagree.”

“Now I keep overthinking and think I might have overreacted. So Reddit, AITA?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors think OP did exactly the right thing by reporting the boys.

“NTA. Better to teach them that lacking basic human decency has consequences now than when this behaviour of theirs escalates to a point where the authorities may need to get involved.”

“I agree with you that 13 is old enough to understand right and wrong and act like a decent human being. You did the right thing by standing up for yourself. I’m sorry you went through this experience.”~Feestje94

“NTA. Things would’ve been much worse for them if you had caught them on your cell phone and uploaded the footage to the Interwebs.”

“Older teens have had their college acceptance rescinded for less, so missing a few games ain’t no big deal.”

“As teenagers, they knew what they were doing, and they knew the risks. Jungkook solo-traveled to Los Angeles for dance lessons at that age.”~Bubbly-Caterpillar35

“That and, Karen actually has a meaning or rather is specific in its container.”

“Part of the container of a Karen is that they experience privilege/power that others in the situation do not (a Karen is generally someone with power who feels powerless and so takes it out in those under her).”

“By that definition OP can’t possibly be a Karen as they had no power or privilege in this dynamic.”

“The whole point of the term Karen is not to say that you complain, but that you use legitimate paths of complaint – designed to prevent harm – to throw your power around over those who have less power than you.”

“It’s a very specific form of bullying. NTA.”~LimitlessMegan

“I’m hijacking your comment in the hope that OP sees this. I have a 14 year old and a 12 year old (and two younger kids).”

“If my two elder kids racially abused (or were just assholes) to anyone, their punishment would be unbelievably harsh.”

“I grew up in apartheid South Africa and will not tolerate prejudice in any way, shape or form. My 12 year old called her brother the ‘N’ word after hearing it on an online game.”

“Even though she wasn’t aware of how serious it was, she lost her laptop, phone and TV privileges for a few days and had to write (as in by hand) an apology to her brother and explain why it was so wrong to use that word.”

“You are totally NTA. On the contrary, thank you for helping to educate these two kids on the right way to behave and treat people different to them.”~Happy_goodie

Also, folks were disturbed at how OP’s Asian brother was excusing the behavior of these boys and weaponizing ‘Karen’ against her.

“Also unrelated but I LOATHE young people, especially young men, throwing around the phrase Karen to put down any woman for doing any thing.”

“In my mind at least, a Karen is a privileged woman using her privileged to unfairly target those less powerful than herself. You didn’t do that op.”

“You’re NTA here and I’m proud of you because sticking up for yourself and against racism can be really hard.”~Plus-Kaleidoscope900

“NTA. The reason we have so many AHs in the world is because they are often allowed to get away with appalling behavior with no consequences.”

“13 is old enough to know being an active racist is bad. And if they didn’t know that before, they surely do now.”~chirplet

“NTA. A tolerant society cannot be tolerant of intolerance. They need to learn that actions have consequences before they hurt anyone else.”

“The fact that your brother seems to be more worried about the summer plans of two little racists, instead of the fact that you were verbally abused in public is a little worrying.”~redheadedravenclaw

“NTA. Somehow boys are always able to have their horrendous behavior excused by ‘they’re young they didn’t know any better’ and ‘but this ruined their academic career or athletic career.'”

“Whatever consequences they face are nobody’s fault but their own. Also, forced apologies after the fact don’t mean sh*t!”

“If they were really sorry they would have apologized when you asked them to repeat themselves but instead they chose to make further racial comments.”~versaut_sauerkraut

And most people are saying that these consequences are light, compared to what they could be facing if they’d been a few years older.

“NTA, at all. First, you stood up for yourself, which is brave and important, given everything that’s going on in the world today.”

“Second, you taught them a VERY important lesson – that actions have consequences, words have consequences. They thought they could get away with harassing you – they could say whatever they wanted to you and go on with their day without any consequence.”

“They found out the hard way that that wasn’t true.”

“They will probably never say or do something like that again. You might have saved countless other people from similar fates – and the more they said/did to people and got away with it, the worse their crimes could have become as they got older.”

“You got called names – if they had gotten away with that, who knows what they could have done to someone else years down the line, when they’re bigger/stronger/and more empowered in their privilege and stupidity.”

“You definitely did the right thing. Not only did they get what they deserved, but for your own soul, your own self-respect, your own sanity – you took a stand, and that’s empowering and positive and good.”

“Even if they ‘didn’t mean it’ and were just showing off to each other and being dumb kids – they HAVE to learn the lesson that they can’t do that kind of thing anymore.”

“We’re done ignoring racist behavior, and we’re calling it out now, wherever we see it. It’s the only way we’ll ever get anything to change.”

“We can’t let this stuff slide, even when it’s a kid – actually, ESPECIALLY when it’s a kid – because the kid still has time to change.”

“Childhood isn’t supposed to be all fun and games – you’re supposed to learn some hard lessons sometimes.”

“This was one of them for those kids – and probably for the other kids on the team who most definitely heard about what happened and learned the lesson too.”

“I actually think you did an amazing thing.”~bettytomatoes

“NTA. Genius move to identify them by their soccer jerseys- I don’t think I’d have thought of that. Fantastic that the coach took it seriously and is punishing them.”

“Hopefully these two teenagers have learnt that actions have consequences and that racism is unacceptable.”~Sleepy_felines

“NTA. You were absolutely right to report this racist behavior to the coach. Those teens were old enough to know better than to say those horrid things.”

“They deserve their punishment. Who knows how they’d behave in the future if they weren’t called on it while young.”

“Are you supposed to wait to report them until you’re physically harmed? Of course not!”~No_Proposal7628

“NTA. If they didn’t mean it, why did they say it? If people who say they’re not really racist nevertheless deliberately act racist, then they’re ok with appearing to be racist.”

“They’re ok with using someone’s race to hurt them, for the sake of some crappy ‘joke.’ That in itself is racist.”

“Funny how people like that suddenly claim they’re not really racist once consequences to them show up. But they were ok with appearing to be racist, can’t take that back.”~calling_water

OP’s brother took a misogynistic, racist-apologist approach to justifying the behavior of these boys.  So while OP’s slight doubt is understandable, her approach to standing up for herself was the best available to her.

Hopefully more people have the guts to call out racism as openly as OP.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.