There was a point in time, in the not too distant past, where a certain name did not dominate our feeds, our discourse, or the curses we say under our breath after a seemingly simple trip to run an errand goes sideways because of one indignant and self righteous person pitching a fit in the middle of it.
I am, of course, talking about the name "Karen." Did you shudder a little when you read that?
It would make sense if you did. But the reality for women like Karen K. Ho is that, until very recently, this was just another normal name. And growing up as an Asian-Canadian kid outside Toronto, it was a name that offered an easy way of fitting in with different groups. Sadly, that is no longer the case.
In this week's episode of Namedropping, Giri and Samer sit down to talk with Karen, a journalist based in New York who you may also know as the lady who warns you against doomscrolling on Twitter. Karen shares how her Chinese name influenced her English name, how being raised not to bother other people shaped how she goes through the world and what it's been like watching her name become a marker for the "growing amount of awareness regarding antagonism between people who are white and everyone else."
You can find the transcript for the episode here. If you happen to read the transcript instead of listening to episodes, we’d love it if you could go to the podcast platform of your choice and give us a review.