LAB= Little Asian Boy= Not Okay
If any of you are not yet familiar with Reddit, it is an incredible social news website where the registered users submit content in the form of either a link or a text “self” post. Other users then vote the submission “up” or “down”, which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site’s pages and front page. It is known to be the home of those truly dedicated to the internet and to what’s new.
According to Google DoubleClick Ad Planner’s estimate, the median U.S. Reddit user is male (72%), 25–34 years of age, has college education. The analysis also shows that many of the top ten audience interests are in the tech field, suggesting a computer savvy demographic.
Reddit is my most frequented website (besides facebook) and it is always fun to see what the top tier of those browsing the internet have to say or share. However, I was deeply disturbed by one of the story submissions made by a “Redditor” (one who uses Reddit) about how he was “trolled” by a 7-year-old Asian boy. If you are not familiar with what it means to troll (I wasn’t until I became a Redditor) here is a definition taken from urbandictionary.com
The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly angering people, usually via the internet, using dialogue. The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) give your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help.
Trolling requires decieving; any trolling that doesn’t involve decieving someone isn’t trolling at all; it’s just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccesful troll.
So what this user relates in his story, is that a 7-year-old Asian boy, a frequent customer of the place in which he works, one day starts speaking in a very heavy Chinese accent. The author writes that he and his co-workers found the boy hysterical, and had already given him the nickname of LAB, or “Little Asian Boy.” Throughout his description of the event, the author refers to the boy as LAB. The author says that he asked the boy, “Little Asian Boy, who told you to talk like that?” and the boy responded, dead serious, “I have no idea what you are talking about, you guys are racist.” Therefore, the author claims that he was “trolled,” or purposefully drawn into a scheme and fooled, by his “LAB.”
What is much less important than the story is how he, and all of his co-workers, refer to the boy as “LAB.” The post became incredibly popular, with many commenting on the author’s racism. The author defended himself by saying “I called him Little Asian Boy because he is in fact Asian, a boy, and little. It’s not intended to be racist.” If an older, white man who I did not know called me “Little Asian Girl” when I was seven, I would be incredibly shocked and speechless. To me, that moniker is absolutely unacceptable. Even if the boy was having fun and “trolling” by pretending to have a very thick accent to amuse the author and his co-workers, it gives them no right to slap that demeaning label onto him. I find the “little brother” mentality of this story to be disconcerting, and am glad that some the Reddit community was able to see, and point out to the author, that referring to his customer as “Little Asian Boy” was wrong.
I think the scariest part of discovering this post was the fact that the demographics of Reddit are those who are young and well-educated. But when scrolling through the comments of the author’s post, many agreed with him and defended his actions/nickname of choice. Additional comments were made of “LAB’s” other Redditors had encountered in their lives, or how Asian boys had fooled them or defied their expectations. Here I saw that though the way Reddit functions is wonderful, it can also be very dangerous due to the way it encourages “group mentality.” Because those who choose to post are normally those who have the most severe of opinions (volunteer bias), it would appear that virtually everyone is okay with the “Little Asian Boy” name-calling, when that most definitely cannot be true.
By Lauren Moon
Entry filed under: Uncategorized.