woman with caption 'there was a karen on my flight today. read what she texted her family' (l) hands typing racist text message on phone (r)


‘Would’ve read it out loud’: Black woman catches racist Karen texting about her on plane

‘Nah she wanted you to see that.’


Tricia Crimmins


A TikToker caught a white woman texting about her in a racist way and using a slur to describe her while on a flight.

Riah Elese (@riahelese) posted a TikTok on July 31 showing the woman’s phone screen. The woman, dubbed a Karen by Elese, texts about the TikToker’s hair. In her text, the woman calls Elese’s hair “nasty dreads / corn rows,” uses a racial slur, and says that Elese “whipped” her with her hair.

In the video’s overlay text, Elese said that she apologized to the woman twice. On Wednesday, Elese’s video had over a million views.

“White [people] are crazy,” Elese wrote.

@riahelese Pause and read what she said. #racism #whitepeople #WeStickTogether #disrespectful #blacktiktok ♬ original sound – Riah Elese

In a follow-up video about the situation, Elese says she sat across the aisle from the woman during the flight and that she took the video as they were deplaning. While Elese was getting her belongings together, she says she accidentally hit the woman with her hair and apologized. Elese says the woman said it was OK and that Elese didn’t need to worry about it.

That’s when Elese says she saw the message that the woman was writing on her phone. The TikToker also says the woman took a photo of her and texted it to someone, even after Elese told her not to photograph her.

“Racism is still a real thing here in 2022,” Elese says in her follow-up TikTok. “Some people think it just ‘magically doesn’t exist.’” She also says that she felt the woman was attempting to get a reaction out of her.

Many commenters on Elese’s viral video said that they hoped the woman would be exposed for her behavior and identified by the TikTok. Others shared how they would have reacted had they been in Elese’s place.

“Would have been picking her phone up off the floor,” @giggles_832 commented.

“I would’ve flipped my hair again,” @tmoney0120 wrote.

“I would’ve matched her energy but I would’ve sent a voice message to my family talking about her,” @bmom113 commented.

“Would’ve read it out loud,” a fourth said.

Some speculated the woman wanted Elese to see the text. “Nah she wanted you to see that,” one claimed.

And other commenters simply reacted to the woman’s behavior.

“‘Karen’ seems like too kind of a term for her,” @argyraeus commented. “I am floored.”

“I just can NOT believe people think/talk like this,” @lil1thd3m0nia wrote. “Even though I kno issa reality I can’t wrap my head around it.”

“That’s how THEY ALL feel either behind closed doors or secretly,” @joemamasdaddy804 commented.

The Daily Dot reached out to Elese via TikTok comment.

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