In May of this year, footage was revealed of Ashley Barkis, a 25-year-old woman, who, during a road rage incident, spews racist rhetoric toward an Asian man and his family before physically striking him. The clip, which has been circulating on social media, shows Barkis recording the interaction while shouting at him.
“Where is your insurance? You hit my car! I don’t give a f*** about this b****!” Barkis yells. “You hit my car! So where is your insurance? Where is your insurance? Do you have a driver’s license? Are you from America? Do you even have papers? Are you legal to be here?”
As the man goes to give her his driver’s license, Barkis knocks it out of his hands and strikes him. She then shoves him into oncoming traffic on the freeway. Based on pictures attached to some TikTok videos, Barkis allegedly physically assaulted other people at the scene.
In a now deleted Instagram post, Barkis both apologized for and defended some of her actions. She urged audiences to understand that they lack “the full story” here.
Content creators, specifically creators of color, have taken to TikTok to share their reactions to Barkis’s apology, as well as point out the ways in which she fails to genuinely own up to her racist actions.
“I would also like to apologize for any offense to the Asian community as I am half Filipino,” Barkis reveals in her apology. “And I definitely don’t condone any violence or racism against anyone in this world.”
On May 19, Korean American creator Ellena Cuario (@ellenacuario) shared her thoughts about Barkis’s apology, including what she felt was a disingenuous, sudden effort to show an allyship with the Asian American community by stating that she’s part Asian herself.
“She should’ve just taken that to her grave,” Cuario says in response to Barkis saying that she’s half Filipino and therefore does not condone anti-Asian hate. “‘Cause you’re revoked from your Filipino pride … ’cause seriously, this is one of the worst cases of ‘it be your own people sometimes.'”
“To spout all that hate about Asians being illegals… My husband’s Filipino family at every family function literally will talk about their grandparents’ struggles coming to this country and having all the roadblocks of being recognized as legal immigrants,” Cuario explains. “There’s just no way you can be part of the culture and behave in that way.”
“I hope you guys understand now that I am not, at all, racist,” Barkis concludes in her apology.
“‘I’ve got a lot of internalized racism to undo,’ that’s what you should’ve said,” Cuario says. “But you know what, don’t bother with her. Don’t send her any hate, it’s not worth your time. She’s done plenty of damage for herself, but for anybody else, if you do something racist, just take ownership of it ’cause you look mad bobo.” Bobo is a Tagalog word that translates to “stupid” or “foolish” in English.
Fellow TikTok users, particularly Filipino Americans, are responding to Cuario’s video. And many are showing their disappointment that Barkis identifies as Filipino American.
“I assumed she wasn’t raised by her Filipino side coz if she was She will not embarrassed herself like that,” @marykae22 wrote.
“I wish she does not mention Filipino, i feel embarrassed,” @sheaalpha17 replied.
“‘As I am Filipino’ so now you wanna add that in,” @anginguyy commented.
Podcast host and content creator Soogia (@soogia1) posted a video on TikTok the same day Cuario did, also in response to Barkis’s alleged apology.
“And to make an already horrible situation worse, the fact that she’s half Asian and is saying such horribly racist s*** to other Asian people, especially during Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month only makes everything just, I don’t know, that much more painful,” Soogia says. “I’m pretty sure this apology is not gonna keep her out of jail either.”
“Not the ‘I’m half Filipino’!!!” @gilport25 replied to Soogia’s video.
“I’m hearing… I’m sorry I got caught being awful,” @stopburningdownmysheshed wrote.
“Bro I hope she gets charged no apology is going to fix that,” @honey_hive33 commented.
Creators who’ve come across the Barkis’s tirade as well as apology video seem to be in agreement that trying to rationalize her actions, she’s better off owning up to the anti-Asian rhetoric she spewed. Whether or not she’ll ever take full ownership for her racist remarks, however, remains unknown.
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