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'Park Ranger Karen' tells Asian-American family they can't be in her country breaking laws

We decided to take a family hike through a trail in the woods about an hour from our house.

We brought our 11 pound Maltipoo with us. Along the hike, we saw several other hikers with their dogs. Everything was fun and friendly. People were saying "Hello" and practicing social distancing by letting others pass when we crossed paths. After a long hike, we were headed back down the mountain to our car. A lady and her husband were coming up the trail as we were going down. We stepped off to the side to let them pass. The husband passed, but the lady just stood there. So we continued walking. Our 11 year old daughter was in front with our dog on the leash. The lady aggressively stepped in front of our daughter and blocked her path. She began telling our daughter that we were breaking the law. My wife, who was behind our daughter asked what was going on, and the lady told us to turn around and go back to where we came from...more strangeness then ensues.

In the video, before they encounter 'Park Ranger Karen,' the mom tells her son, "... wait, let 'Ate' go down."  The mom (if not the husband) is Filipino.  🇵🇭🇺🇸

KAREN: The stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white women. Urban Dictionary

Claudine Wong, my sister's old neighbor & KTVU news anchor, speaks up

As a journalist I very rarely talk about my own personal experiences. I believe my role is to give others a voice. But in the last couple of days we've had a couple disturbing videos surface that highlight the growing incidents of hate against Americans of Asian descent and so I thought I'd give you some personal perspective in the hopes of adding to the conversation about racism and in the hopes of stopping it.

1) Go back home

I've heard this my whole life. I've been told by kids in grade school, by former coworkers and by strangers on the street. I've been ask to explain where I was born and where my parents were born. It usually comes in the form of "what are you?" I will often say I'm Asian American but I understand why some people do not like to be called hyphenated Americans. The only people are asked to do identify with a hyphen are people of color. I have many white friends who when asked about their heritage simply say "oh I am just American" and people just nod in acceptance. You don't hear British American, German American. It implies that people who are told to hyphenate their nationality are not fully American. I even had a former coworker tell me I should just go back to China ( I actually have never been unfortunately and so I technically can't "go back") . When I asked him his heritage he replied I'm just an American. I am proud of my heritage but it doesn't make me less American. My ethnicity is Chinese. My nationality is American. The first time I went to Europe was in college. It struck me that everyone there seemed to know I was an American. Not one person asked if I was a Chinese. I believe fully that if I went to China, they too would know right away I was an American. It's here in the U.S., in my home and in my country, that its questioned. It was a very lonely moment in my life to understand I would never be fully accepted anywhere in the world especially in my own country

2) Condescending racism

What struck me about the incident with the family in Marin (that's the video below) was that the woman in it was speaking softly to the family. It happens all the time in the racism I experience. People speak slowly and quietly, (although there are times where it's also loudly and slowly) playing into the stereotype that my english is not sufficient. FWIW I wish I did speak Chinese but I do not. Just because you whisper it, doesn't make it less racist. If you whisper it, you should look at why you do. Also it's not flattering to tell girls of Asian descent that they look like China dolls.

3) It's not funny

There is a recurring sentiment from some people that "they are just kidding" I can't tell you how many Wong jokes I have laughed off in my life. But that's not because I think they are funny. It's because I'm exhausted with hearing the same joke for the 1000th time and having the person tell me how funny it is. If I don't laugh then I'm told I have no sense of humor. Jokes over whether I know kung fu, long duck dong jokes (16 candles reference), people asking me if I'm Connie Chung are neverending. People make fun of my food, my name, my eyes, my appearance. I was in 6th grade when I got cornered after school by a group of 7th grade boys hurling racial slurs at me laughing. It was the first time I felt real fear of being hurt simply because of the color of my skin. Its been hard to find it funny since even though some have argued I need a sense of humor. Although laughing has been a way to deflect so maybe I am guilty of that.

4) Speaking up.

When I talked to the father in the recent Marin County incident he said one of the reasons he posted it was because there is the sense that not enough people of Asian descent speak up. It struck me. I have been silent. In college at UCLA another student told me she liked Asian people because "we" weren't so loud and protesting all the time. I was insulted then and I still am. So this is my effort to speak about my own experiences in case someone wants to listen. When I was in my 20's a coworker told me I shouldn't have kids with someone who was white, because I would taint their blood with mine. I have been told by another former coworker the only reason I got a job in the midwest was that the station wanted to check a minority box. I was told not to seek a job in another part of the country because they don't want Asians there. I have been called every racial slur that exists, and expect new ones will come my way. I struggled with my identity when I was younger. I think that happens when too many people tell you that you are less than others. I am empowered by who I am now. So many people have told me that they don't understand the experiences of people of color but they want to. I hope this helps do that.

From Superduper koolguy: Hey everybody! I want to thank you all for the insane amount of support & great comments. When we posted this, we had no idea it would grab this much attention. U may have guessed, we as a family try to stay on the bright side of things & just keep it moving. Even in situations like this here, we feel lessons can be learned, & we can build on it to make ourselves stronger. Anyhow, Thank You! BTW please know that she is NOT a Park Ranger! We RESPECT our state’s park rangers. The name was a tounge-in-cheek reference to all the Karens running around lately. PEACE Y’ALL Be Safe out there!

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