There is an obnoxious, entitled Karen going viral online: the one who demands speaking with a manager when asked to wear a mask, or who commits other coronavirus-related microaggressions.
Middle-aged white women tend to call the police on POC without justification and often escalate situations into police involvement.
1. The Central Park Karen
Amy Cooper became known as the internet’s first Karen when she called police on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park in 2020. Video of the encounter quickly went viral, prompting doxxing, death threats and eventually job loss for Harvard graduate Amy. A year later she was charged with false reporting but charges were later dropped after attending racial bias therapy sessions; still her name will forever be associated with calling police on an African American for doing his job.
Franklin Resources Inc., which owns Franklin Templeton Investments, was accused of defamation when publicizing her firing and alleging an investigation had taken place into this incident. US District Judge Ronnie Abrams dismissed this claim on Wednesday due to improper termination and defamation proceedings being ongoing against Franklin Templeton Investments.
Cooper can be seen yelling at Christian Cooper (whom she does not know personally), alleging he threatened her and following them both; though whether this happened is unclear.
However, she was immediately fired following the incident and her bosses made it known they weren’t pleased with how she had handled things. Additionally, she filed a civil rights lawsuit against New York City and two NYPD officers; that case remains active and is currently underway.
Hopefull the two officers involved learn from this incident and don’t use their positions as platforms for harassment and discrimination against people just seeking safety in public spaces. In a unanimous 3-0 ruling, Manhattan appeals court rejected Cooper’s appeal of her wrongful dismissal ruling.
2. The Costco Karen
“Karen” has quickly become part of our lexicon: an offensive term used to refer to middle-aged white women who act with entitlement in various societal interactions. A recent instance occurred at Costco in Hillsboro, Oregon: viral video posted to r/PublicFreakout showed “Costco Karen” refusing to wear a mask at checkout and engaging in verbal confrontation with an employee at Merchandise Returns counter declaring she has medical conditions which prohibit wearing masks while alleging company is violating her constitutional rights by insisting they need not wearing one as required by company policy.
Employees asked her to step outside so they could discuss with a manager, but she refused and instead sat on the floor near the entrance, blocking a main path for shoppers. Their employee attempted to persuade her by offering to get her a chair; but she insisted on ignoring Costco’s Covid-19 policy because it is private property.
Eventually, the man filming the entire exchange decided to call security on her and she was led out of the store by security officers, not before threatening to call police on him for filming her and coughing in his face as she made her way down an aisle with Halloween decorations in tow. Hopefully security guards were able to restrain her before things became violent; Costco can count this success towards its goal of customer safety by mandating that all customers wear masks within its store – although free samples may not always be guaranteed!
3. The Zombie Karen
On 4th of July, video went viral showing Karen from Houma, Louisiana losing it when she was denied entry into a bar due to not possessing a mask. Outraged, she transformed into a zombie who looked similar to characters from Will Smith’s I Am Legend movie; licking glass surfaces, trying to break down doors with headbutts, headbutting door frames and eventually knocking herself unconscious by banging her head against windows before police showed up and arrested her before further injury occurred – now known as Zombie Karen!
4. The Pool Patrol Karen
After George Floyd’s death and subsequent national reckoning with racism, the meme “Karen” is enjoying an unprecedented surge. According to Williams’ definition, Karen refers to white women “surveilling and patrolling public spaces to call police on Black people for non-illegal infractions,” providing much-needed shorthand for behavior which has become more prevalent than ever in our hyperconnected and social media-fuelled society. Of course, Karens are nothing new; we’ve witnessed their presence with names like BBQ Becky, Permit Patty or Pool Patrol Paula among many others over time.
Names are essential components of memes as they allow for shorthand recognition by millions. Kyle last year, Chad this year and now Karen serve an invaluable purpose on the internet – their existence serves a vital purpose!
The Karen meme has created problems by giving white women permission to act like victims of racial injustice while using their privilege as an excuse to harass people of color. Williams refers to this behavior as “white clicktivism,” which has become more and more frequent since Ferguson. Events which would normally have gone ignored — like when one white woman called the police on another while birding in Central Park — now become news stories because they fall within its parameters and fit with this meme.
5. The Dog Park Debbie
After an anonymous white woman from Massachusetts dubbed “Dog Park Debbie” went viral online for calling the police on a black man after his dog humped Debbie’s at a local dog park, this created widespread outrage across social media and created discussions about whether dog parks can often be seen as exclusionary spaces. CityLab writer Ayanna Perry noted how public resources such as parks are allocated through political processes which leaves longstanding residents without sufficient clout to have influence in allocating them feeling disenfranchised by politics compared with longstanding residents with more political power who influence these allocation processes than most.
If you thought unnecessary 911 calling was limited to 2018, think again: A new BBQ Becky has surfaced online after a white woman in Massachusetts reported Franklin Baxley for his pit bull aggressively humming another dog at Attleboro Dog Park.