As the “Karen” meme has gained momentum, people have started using it to disparage certain groups of people. Unfortunately, this practice often leads to acts of racism and should never be encouraged.
It serves as a stark reminder of the brutalities women can suffer in countries where they are often treated like second-class citizens. It is imperative that we continue to speak out against this type of discrimination and abuse.
The term province is used to denote those parts of a country outside the capital and major cities. In certain countries, such as France or Switzerland, it’s used to refer specifically to their regions or departments (en provincia), while in others like Australia it refers to the entire state (sa probinsiya).
The word is borrowed from Latin provincia and originally applied to lands ruled by Roman officials approximately 2,000 years ago. Nowadays it’s used to refer to regions or administrative divisions of a country created by the central government. The largest province in the world is Xinjiang, China at 4.1 square kilometers (1.6 million square miles), situated within an expansive border area encompassing Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan Pakistan and India – most of which are Buddhist.
Recently, the Internet has been inundated with videos of entitled Karens and Kens who refuse to follow store regulations. These videos have amassed millions of views on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
These incidents often arise as a result of social, mental health and substance-abuse issues combined with racism. They can be the result of racial profiling, white people’s perception that Black people are inherently violent or unruly, cultural “redlining” where white people attempt to maintain exclusive access to public spaces or just plain old entitlement.
Lillian Glass, a communication and body language expert based in Los Angeles, believes the anger displayed by Karen videos is often displaced and stems from multiple personal and financial problems. Furloughs, layoffs and lockdown stress all play their part, according to Glass.
Karens and Kens sometimes seem to disregard class and racism while using their privilege in protest against systemic problems they claim to address. Examples include spreading anti-vax conspiracy theories, sharing coronavirus disinformation or even refusing to wear a face covering because they believe it unnecessary for protecting others from Covid-19 virus transmission.
Some of these incidents appear to be expressions of people of color’s resentment against being taken advantage of in their neighborhoods or workplaces, according to Linda Clemons, CEO of Sisterpreneur, an organization that empowers female entrepreneurs. She noted that some of these Karens and Kens have been raised by their parents in rural areas where they may have grown up with a culture which does not accept people of color.
Karens and Kens are commonplace across America, but they’re especially noticeable at airports where, according to a survey by the National Center for Transparency and Ethics in Politics (NCTEP), they’re often observed. But as with so many cases like these, video evidence may not reveal an underlying issue – often times the video itself serves only to highlight one aspect of what’s wrong.
One of the more interesting trends to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic is a rise in rude, entitled Karens — white women amplifying their privilege and asserting moral authority. While they’ve been around on social media for years, only recently are they making headlines and appearing in mainstream news publications.
Karen incidents typically involve someone becoming frustrated due to being denied a service or breaking store rules. This could range from something as minor as refusing payment for their purchase or skipping the line at the grocery store, but it could also be more serious cases such as an entitled Karen refusing to follow the policy that requires people to wear masks.
Karen’s behavior is particularly troubling as not only is it insensitive, but it also violates both her retailer’s policies and state/local laws. According to Aram Sinnreich, associate professor of communication at American University in Washington, D.C., this issue goes much deeper than simply calling the police or being an unpleasant person – it involves breaking laws and violating retailers’ policies as well as breaking them by violating them repeatedly.
Last month, a video posted to Twitter by an unidentified white woman demonstrated this kind of attitude towards Black men for rooting for the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game.
She repeatedly shouted at him, thrust her finger in his face and threatened him for being Black. The video went viral, garnering tens of millions of views.
This video serves as a prime example of the kind of anti-Black, entitled behavior that’s becoming all too prevalent in our country. This type of attitude can be detrimental to both Black people and non-Black people alike, and should never be tolerated.
Karens often make offensive remarks that prompt security questions and other patrons’ harassment, violating both their privacy and rights as citizens. It isn’t unheard-of for Karens to record themselves making such remarks in order to post them online, giving rise to further online harassment.