Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, June 3, 2020
“Central Park Karen” was a big story in the lead-up to the Minneapolis riots. Two weekends ago, a white woman, Amy Cooper, called the police on a black man who confronted her in Central Park about her unleashed dog. The man allegedly threatened her dog. A video of the incident went viral. In short succession, Miss Cooper lost her dog, lost her job at Franklin Templeton and begged for forgiveness. She may face a lifetime ban from Central Park.
This is because she called the police on a black man.
Many people called Miss Cooper a “Karen.” Karen is “a mocking slang term for an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged white woman,” according to Dictionary.com. This term has become popular in recent months. It’s meant to highlight “white privilege” and shame white women into accepting non-white misbehavior. Vox says Karen is “the frontrunner for the average ‘basic white person name’ — a pejorative catchall label for a wide range of behaviors thought to have connections to white privilege.”
“Becky” was once the favored epithet for “privileged” white women. In recent years, white women who called the cops on blacks for disputed reasons were dubbed Beckys and shamed on social media. A famous example is a white California woman who called the cops on black men violating local regulations by grilling meat in the park. She went down in infamy as “BBQ Becky.” Karen is now the preferred nomenclature.
Daily Beast senior social editor Nicole Phillip says Karen is “an award reserved only for the pettiest and most miserable and unnecessarily bothered white women who can’t stand to see a person of color do anything they believe encroaches on the privileges they feel should be reserved only for (white) people like them.” She assures us that “[n]ot all white women are ‘Karens,’ but ‘Karen’ is a moniker inspired by white privilege and anti-blackness/racism.” Miss Phillip adds that a “‘Karen’ will interrogate or call the police on any black person she deems suspicious simply for existing. And the last thing ‘Karen’ wants to see are black and brown people doing better than she is, ever.” How does Miss Philip know these things?
The Root’s Damon Young argues Karen is “a graduated Becky who’s extremely aware of her privilege and weaponizes it. A Becky convinces herself — and attempts to convince others — that her whiteness doesn’t matter,” she said, explaining the distinction. “A Karen doesn’t even bother to fake it. She knows it’s her Big Joker and plays it whenever necessary.”
Some liberals don’t like the Karen meme because it’s “sexist.” Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman says it is “mired in sexism” and men should stop saying it. However, she added that it’s fine for non-whites to “describe their experiences of racism in whatever language works for them.”
“‘Karen’ is not oppression,” says transgender activist Charlotte Clymer. “It is not a slur or discrimination. It merely reflects some white women being racist as hell but ALL white women not being our best selves. We are ALL complicit in white supremacy and our responsibility is to acknowledge that complicity and fight it.”
“In America, white women are often believed and protected at all costs, even at the expense of black lives,” said Washington Post global opinions editor Karen Attiah, exploiting her own first name so she can defend the term. She invoked the Emmett Till case and suggested that blacks are still arrested or assaulted because white women call police unnecessarily. “Becky and Karen memes and jokes should be understood in this context, part of a long tradition to use humor to try to cope with the realities of white privilege and anti-blackness.”
Some conservatives agree. “While it feels good to make fun of Karen and have a laugh at her expense, for a large swath of the population this behavior is no laughing matter,” Hannah Cox wrote in the Washington Examiner. She wants Karens “held accountable” by stricter enforcement of laws about filing false police reports.
The “Karen” meme normalizes contempt for white women. It stops whites from doing something when they see suspicious non-whites. “Karen” mockers want all whites to be like a recent New York Times reader who wrote to the paper: “I’d rather have my car broken into than have a person’s life ruined by my 911 call.” Would the writer rather have her throat cut rather than get a black in trouble with the police? Who will be the first white woman to die because she was afraid she might turn out to be a Karen?
New York, Michigan, and Oregon have considered legislation to penalize those who call the cops unnecessarily on non-whites. The popularity of the Karen meme may inspire other states.
A “Karen” may be annoying, but powerful people are mocking her for being white and for looking out for her community. This is an anti-white insult, pure and simple.