A video of an IKEA customer who was allegedly yelling the N-word at people went viral, sparking debate on how mental illness is treated differently between white people and people of color.
“Just wanted to enjoy my FJÄDERMOLN in peace!!” the video caption reads by @squiddy_tiddies on TikTok.
The video garnered more than 1 million views and divided those who thought it was insensitive to make fun of the ‘Karen’ possibly suffering from mental illness and those who said it was still inexcusable to be racist.
The TikToker began recording after they approached an employee about calling security. The woman calls them a “piece of garbage” before trying to hit them with her cart. An IKEA employee shortly after starts walking after the woman while talking to security on his walkie talkie.
“We can’t have that in the store ma’am,” the IKEA employee says to the woman, referencing her use of the N-word.
The woman says she just wants to buy what’s in her cart and that the TikToker had been upsetting people.
“Get him away from me and this whole group,” the woman says, standing alone. People in the comments speculated that the woman was suffering from mental illness after the TikToker stated they did not know what the woman was talking about and because the woman was shopping alone.
“Us? *looks around*,” one user commented.
While some viewers made fun of the ‘Karen’, others said it was clear the woman needed help.
“What’s with all the people calling her a Karen??” one user commented. “She’s clearly not in her right mind.”
Others replied that it was important to acknowledge that white people suffering from mental illness don’t face the same violence and harm as people of color, especially under law enforcement or security officers.
“At this point we don’t give AF!” one user replied. “It’s always the same excuse!”
The IKEA employee then tells the woman that the store did not want her business and asked her to leave.
“We don’t tolerate that here,” the employee says. “I’m asking you nicely ma’am.” The woman grabs her things and leaves.
People praised the employee for handling the incident assertively, but calmly.
“See what happens when you have poc, specifically Black folks in positions of power,” one user commented. “Just like that. It’s handled.”
The TikToker ends the video saying she hopes the woman is doing okay and says “mental illness is real.”
“Just wanna say: yes there’s a difference between being a racist and being mentally ill,” the TikToker writes in a comment. “Yes, she is both.”
The Daily Dot was unable to reach @squiddy_tiddies for a comment.
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