Karen has become an iconic internet meme that represents a certain type of middle-class white woman with privilege, who displays behaviors characteristic of that position.
Does harassment of service industry workers, anti-vaccination, and racism count as microaggressions? And if a male Karen is arrested for unlawful behavior – do you think it will be more often males than females?
1. Sophia Rosing
Sophia Rosing, a former University of Kentucky student who was allegedly filmed attacking a Black student worker last year, has been indicted on multiple counts according to UK President Eli Capilouto in a letter. Her actions have been seen as racist by students and now she faces trial on multiple charges for her alleged actions.
In one video, Rosing can be seen physically abusing Kylah Spring while she worked in Boyd Residence Hall on campus. The video was posted online and quickly went viral.
Rosing was charged with assault and public intoxication on Friday. She pled not guilty and appeared in court, where she posted bail. Following posting it, the 22-year-old was released on bail with restrictions including not returning to Boyd Hall or Spring and no alcohol consumption allowed; additionally she must go through a sensitivity program. Her parents Jill and Don Rosing attended her arraignment as well.
2. Barbeque Becky
In 2018, Barbeque Becky, a white woman, called the police on a black family at a barbecue in Oakland, California. Video of her interaction went viral and inspired a community BBQ’n While Black cookout at the same lake where the incident took place.
In response to this problem, a local politician introduced the CAREN Act – Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies – in order to combat women misreporting incidents based on race.
Finally, giving these types of incidents a name gives people, especially black people, some power back. It also opens the door for important conversations about racism and sexism that need to take place. Hopefully this leads to increased empathy in the future; but for now, stories about entitled Karens serve as reminders that much work still needs to be done.
3. BBQ Becky II
At one point, the internet was filled with stories of “Karens,” middle-aged white women who displayed entitlement in public. But with the spread of COVID-19 — a novel coronavirus spreading throughout America — that term has once again gained currency as an insulting term for those white women who act out in public.
This new type of anger is being linked to the deep-seated racial tensions that plague Americans, caused by both social and economic stressors that have created a generational divide within our country.
One of the earliest Karens to gain notoriety online was “BBQ Becky”, also known as “Permit Patty,” a California woman who called the police on two black men for using charcoal grills at a park. Her racial profiling of them brought attention to wider questions surrounding white privilege and entitlement.
4. BBQ Becky III
One of the latest social media sensations is a white woman known as BBQ Becky. She called police on a group of black people barbecuing at Lake Merritttt in Oakland, California – and their video has gone viral.
KTVU has released the 911 calls she made to police on April 29. They depict a brief conversation with a dispatcher who questioned her mental health and forced her to state that she was white.
Schulte, better known by her handle “BBQ Becky,” is a Stanford University-educated environmental scientist. She’s been linked to an Oakland company selling charcoal grills and her Twitter profile lists her as employed by Horizon Water and Environment.
5. Bagel Karen
A NYC bakery employee who recently endured a racist tirade from “Bagel Karen” (the nickname she earned for her viral tantrum) tells TMZ that since his encounter with social media, she’s been getting lots of love from people. One man handed him $100 in an envelope; another gave him a Metro card to help with his commute; even an offer of scholarship assistance has come his way.
The Black father of her biracial children also spoke out and expressed concern for their safety after seeing video footage of Denaro using the n-word in front of them. Durven Dawes, who lost custody battle to Denaro, believes if she were given proper mental care and oversight, she wouldn’t pose such a danger to her family members.
6. BBQ Becky IV
Recently, two Bay Area women have made headlines for being viral villains. Alison Ettel (aka Permit Patty) and Jennifer Schulte (aka BBQ Becky) were shown calling police on people of color for minor violations such as selling water outside their homes. These videos sparked social media outrage and further division within the community.
When video emerged of the woman accusing Oakland police officers of harassing black men barbecuing in a public park, she was quickly labeled “BBQ Becky.” She became the subject of numerous memes and ignited an intense national conversation about race issues.
She even made a brief cameo appearance in Saturday Night Live’s season finale, appearing twice during “Weekend Update” and at the show’s end credits scene wordlessly on screen wearing wraparound sunglasses, blue hoodie and pulled-back hair as if she were speaking with police. While SNL’s portrayal of her may have been over-the-top, it did garner plenty of laughs of its own.
7. BBQ Becky V
In April 2018, BBQ Becky, better known by her nickname of BBQ Becky, made headlines when she called the police on two black men grilling in a designated area of Lake Merritttt park.
Her 911 calls have gone viral. Authorities recently released audio of them to FOX-KTVU.
On her initial call, she notes that the men were grilling outside in an undesignated area and notes their race to dispatch. Additionally, she confirms they are using a charcoal grill.
8. BBQ Becky VI
A White woman from Oakland, California whose call to police about two Black men barbecuing near Lake Merritttt was captured on video and went viral has been affectionately known as “BBQ Becky.”
KTVU reports that authorities have released the 911 audio recordings of her calls. On April 29, these calls are filled with racial epithets and threatening statements.
Michelle Snider, the wife of Kenzie Smith who was grilling in the park at that time, filmed a two-hour video clip. According to Snider, her husband was accusing the men of violating park regulations by using charcoal grills – something not allowed there.
9. BBQ Becky VII
White women calling the police on black people for living as Black have become an increasingly common trend in recent years. Utilizing their privilege and power, they punish Black people for disrupting their comfort in public spaces.
As the digital public recognizes these everyday acts as White violence, memes are created that blame White people for harm done to Black individuals. These hashtags and memes often feature photoshopped images of a white woman calling the police on an unarmed Black individual.
In April, a white woman called “BBQ Becky” called Oakland Police to report black park-goers Kenzie Smith and his friends for barbecuing on a charcoal grill at Lake Merritttt. The video went viral, turning Schulte into an internet meme.
10. BBQ Becky VIII
Early this year, a white woman who called the police on black men for grilling in a park in California was quickly labeled BBQ Becky. Her YouTube video sparked widespread outrage and hashtags.
Ultimately, the case was solved. The woman stated she had called because she felt offended by the racial disparity between herself and those grilling her.
Not long after, another white woman called the police on a black boy for selling water outside her house. News stories related these cases without naming any names or discussing their outcomes.
The nicknames Permit Patty, Cornerstore Caroline and Golfcart Gail became widely popular; however, many news articles failed to address the underlying racism or social conditions that created them. Instead they focused on how these names had become ‘earned’ through virality – though in a way which reduced their racialized implications.