We all know Karen, a white woman who has a “Live, Laugh, Love” sign in her living room and a grudge against service workers. She represents a type of person who, at some point, most people have encountered.
Kevin Nguyen is also pretty well-known. He’s an internet caricature of a certain kind of Asian dude, probably from the suburbs, who speaks with frat-like inflections and appropriated AAVE, puffs his vape and raves. He’s a party guy, and he’s a bit of a himbo. He’s kinda politically incorrect, and he has an extremely common name.
Still lost as to what this meme is all about? Allow us to break it down below.
Where Does "Kevin Nguyen" Come From?
The earliest reference to the Kevin Nguyen character came out of Twitter, when on October 31st, 2018, the user @oblyviann tweeted the fateful message.
The tweet gained over 45,700 likes and 10,300 retweets in a year. According to many, the meme was likely popularized in the Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits, which was created on September 16th, 2018.
Subtle Asian Traits, which has around 2 million members, is a private Facebook group for Asians across the world to share memes about life, culture and general vibes. Kevin Nguyen is an extremely common name. In fact, according to a Vice article, it’s the most common name on the Subtle Asian Traits Facebook group.
Kevin Nguyen Usage In Memes
To get an idea of who Kevin Nguyen is, there’s no better place to begin than the Kevin Nguyen starter pack. Assembled here, you see some of his favorite items below.
There’s a JUUL, boba tea and wristbands from a rave.
For a physical description of Kevin Nguyen, try this tweet on for size … though it's worth noting this isn't the only type of Nguyen attire.
To learn more about his interests, there's a handy list below.
The character has inspired a lot of discourse, as many stereotypes do. Some, including this man who really is named Kevin Nguyen, believe the stereotype holds a deeper social and political resonance.
Often posters (frequently female, it seems) express distaste for Kevin Nguyen. Some have gone so far as to call him a “disgrace to our people.”
How Tall Is Kevin Nguyen?
6’ 0” … of course.
Why is Nguyen Such A Common Name?
Reportedly, over 40 percent of people in Vietnam use Nguyen as a last name. The name came to Vietnam with the Chinese, who conquered the territory in the medieval era. At the time, the Vietnamese did not use last names, so administrators assigned surnames for record-keeping purposes and Nguyen just happened to be one of those.
As time went on and the Chinese left, a tradition of taking on the last name of whoever the ruler was then emerged. Since the last royal dynasty in Vietnam was the Nguyen Dynasty, naturally, many people took on that name.
If you want to learn more about this topic, check out our entry on Kevin Nguyen here.