Recent arrest statistics for racist, rude and entitled Karens have been growing exponentially – particularly when they’re caught falsely calling the police on their victims. This has become a recurring theme in small-scale disputes that escalate into international confrontations. Thankfully, this racial element helps elevate these incidents to global concern.
1. Racist Karens Charged with a Crime
Racial Karens have been arrested across the country for their unlawful behavior. These arrests often stem from minor infractions of law, such as stealing or spitting on an Asian person.
Some people have been arrested for perpetrating acts of racial violence, such as attacking or killing an Asian individual. This may be an intentional act or the result of being provoked by the victim.
Amy Cooper, better known as “Central Park Karen,” set an example of racism when she called the police on a Black man birdwatching in Central Park in May 2020 when he asked her to put her dog back on its leash.
She was ultimately charged with both aggravated harassment and a hate crime for her actions, which occurred during an uptick in anti-Asian attacks. It was an eerie moment in history.
Last month in Northern California, a white woman accused of stealing food and clothes from a grocery store allegedly told the store employee that she didn’t have to pay because the victims were Asian.
Prosecutors allege she then spat at a man in the same restaurant where she had previously been convicted of an anti-Asian hate crime. Additionally, she was charged with petty theft, robbery, and two counts of violating civil rights by force or threat for throwing her cigarette out of a store window on February 13.
These charges serve as a reminder that racism still persists in America. Although many have been encouraged to accept responsibility for their own actions, we still have a long way to go before reaching full accountability.
In order to effect real change, more Karens must be charged with their unlawful behavior. Our next step should be putting an end to racism from being part of our daily conversations and lives.
Hopefully, we can achieve that in the near future. Let’s begin by being more honest with ourselves and those around us.
2. Rude Karens Charged with a Crime
Karens have been captured on video in a number of rude acts, yet not always leading to arrests. The “Karen” phenomenon is relatively new and has gained momentum among some social media users–albeit not always in a positive light.
In early February, the Karen meme made its first appearance – a humorous caricature of entitled white women who often want to talk to a manager in public places. Over time, however, as social policing around Covid-19 intensified and Black Lives Matter protests spread across America, the Karen took on an increasingly serious significance.
These videos, which often garner tens of millions of views online, can be both captivating and disturbing. But they also raise important questions about how we manage anger in society.
According to Lillian Glass, a communications and body-language expert and author of “Toxic People,” people can become easily irate in stores or airplanes when they feel threatened or out of their comfort zone. Many times these run-ins aren’t even related to race but rather stem from personal or financial stressors that people face on a regular basis.
Last year, a woman known as “SoHo Karen” pleaded not guilty to falsely accusing a 14-year-old Black teenager of stealing her iPhone at Arlo Hotels in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. She was recently sentenced to two years probation with no jail time required if she follows the terms of her deal.
The SoHo Karen incident is just the latest in a long list of racially charged incidents captured on camera. These videos serve as a sobering reminder that white privilege and class inequalities can still affect people of color, even today.
In addition to the SoHo incident, Karens have been caught on video chasing Black people down the street. These encounters don’t always turn violent, but the racial tensions caused by the Black Lives Matter movement have left many feeling tense and insecure.
3. Entitled Karens Charged with a Crime
Many entitled Karens are charged with crimes for their unlawful behavior. This can include breaking the law, threatening to harm another person and/or breaking any other clearly established regulations.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office in New York City, unlawful behavior is defined as “conduct that violates a clearly established law,” with this distinction being made between unethical behavior and that which involves one’s conscience.
Harassment of any kind, whether at work, school or online, can take place. The harasser could be anyone – including a supervisor or someone else working for the employer.
There are numerous examples of entitled Karens harassing service industry workers in public settings. Often these incidents stem from racism and classism, with anti-vaccination beliefs playing a prominent role.
These actions are especially heinous in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which impacts people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and is disproportionately associated with poverty. Aggressively refusing to wear a mask as protection has become another manifestation of Karen stereotypes as has sharing disinformation and conspiracy theories on social media platforms.
Furthermore, the return of Black Lives Matter has left many entitled Karens feeling threatened and insecure. Furloughs, layoffs, and lockdowns have only added to this tension.
Karens are either indicative of America’s current crisis, or simply evidence that the gap between White Americans and people of color is widening. Whatever their cause, these incidents are certainly disturbing to witness – some even get captured on video!
A therapist and body-language expert believes the resentments displayed in these videos are likely the result of multiple personal and financial struggles. In particular, the return of Black Lives and economic turmoil related to President Trump’s policies have created a sense of isolation for many middle class white women.
Linda Clemons, a Chicago-based therapist and CEO of Sisterpreneur, often advises her White-Woman friends to use their privilege against white supremacy to create more inclusive workplaces and schools. She uses Karens and Kens as examples of the rifts in society that have been growing since slavery and the civil rights movement, encouraging them to be vocal about speaking up against these types of behaviors in pursuit of justice.
4. Karens Charged with Falsely Calling the Police
Many Karens, such as Central Park “Karen” Amy Cooper, have been arrested for falsely reporting their victims to police. In May 2020, Cooper called the NYPD reporting that a Black man named Christian Cooper (no relation) was threatening her life.
The incident was captured on video and quickly gained national notoriety. A month later, she was charged with a crime for falsely reporting the incident to police.
Governor Phil Murphy signed the “Central Park Karen” law into law in June of this year, intended to prevent Karens from making racially biased reports to police. This measure was inspired by George Floyd’s case – a Black man killed by white police officers in New York City – and makes it illegal for individuals to falsely claim someone of color is trying to assault or commit a hate crime against them when calling 911.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Amy Cooper was recorded calling police on a Black man for standing next to her dog in Central Park. She then made another 911 call, this time informing the dispatcher that this individual had attempted to assault her.
On Wednesday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office revealed that Cooper had been arrested and charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree – a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. She has yet to enter a plea and is currently working with prosecutors in an effort to avoid jail time.
Karens have also been charged with falsely reporting an incident and with harassment, intimidation and assault. These offenses carry potential punishment of up to five years in prison for those found guilty; fines or other forms of compensation may also be administered.
Although it is essential to address this problem, we shouldn’t do so by adding more criminal penalties on these Karens. Instead, let’s use existing laws as a deterrent against them harassing people of color.