In America, we are seeing an unprecedented rise in videos featuring entitled and rude Karens – white women who have been caught on camera flipping out and calling the police on people they don’t like.
These incidents often stem from racial profiling and cultural “redlining,” in which white people attempt to maintain exclusive access to public spaces. But they may also be the result of mental health, socioeconomic hardship and substance-use problems that intersect.
2. Permit Patty
Recently, there has been an uptick in local arrests of “entitled Karens” – white women who have been condemned for abrasive, irrational and inexcusable behavior. These instances, which involve people scolding, cursing or even pointing guns at people have gained notoriety on social media and in real life alike and drawn a lot of attention.
Many of these incidents have been captured on video and shared online by social media users. In particular, local news outlets have reported on cases of “BBQ Becky,” “Jogger Joe,” and now Permit Patty.
For years, people of color have been labeled for their bad behavior by giving them alliterative names. Recently however, this practice of assigning alliterative labels to white women with privilege has gained steam due to a series of viral videos which exposed an alarming trend: white people making unnecessary 911 calls in response to minor indiscretions such as selling water on the street or barbecuing.
These videos quickly caught the attention of social media users, who began sharing them online as “Karen” memes and in comments on news articles. Furthermore, these Karens have become well-known on forums such as Reddit’s r/FuckYouKaren where complaints about their harmful and entitled behavior have gone viral.
Karen memes began with these incidents and have now evolved into an umbrella term that encompasses a range of problematic behaviors – from aggressively refusing to wear masks or quarantine to spreading coronavirus disinformation and conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, some of these acts are racially charged and potentially hazardous.
Sometimes, however, people act out of an extreme irrationality without considering the consequences to others. Such individuals often don’t recognize that their inappropriate actions cause harm and must be stopped immediately.
It’s essential to recognize that some of these Karens may simply be expressing their own insecurities, which often revolve around gender and race. Furthermore, some of these behaviors have their origins in systemic racism that permeates society today.
3. Amy Cooper
In May 2020, Canadian woman Amy Cooper was in New York City’s Central Park when she called the police to report being harassed by a Black man. She pretended hysteria, alleging the Black man was threatening her and telling her to leash her dog.
This incident was captured and quickly became one of the most popular videos online. At present, more than 5 million people have watched it on YouTube.
As the video of Amy Cooper making the call has gone viral, it has become evident that she was indeed “Karen.” Karen is an intense and dramatic individual who will cause a scene if someone looks at her wrong way. She can be irrational and insensitive but also highly motivated and determined.
She used aggressive behavior to intimidate a bird watcher into calling the police on her, and kept repeating herself to 911 dispatcher because her voice was almost inaudible. Now her life is in shambles; she has been doxxed, fired, and received death threats.
But there’s good news: Manhattan prosecutors have dropped charges against Amy Cooper after she completed a series of restorative justice sessions. This program, which involved education and therapy, sought to help her understand that her racial identity was important but not at the cost of others.
After a year of court proceedings that could have led to jail time, the case was finally dismissed. But it’s essential to remember this was an instance where a racist white woman acted out of an entitlement complex.
An entitlement that stems from America’s legacy of white supremacy cannot be easily taken away, but can be defeated if enough people recognize its true nature and don’t give it any room to grow. That is why public outcry and Amy Cooper’s termination offer some hope for the United States.
In the United States, we often see videos of white women calling police on black people for doing something as innocuous as taking a walk in a park. These incidents are not isolated incidents but part of an extensive history of racism and anti-Blackness in this country – for instance, 14-year-old Emmett Till was falsely accused by a white woman in Mississippi of whistling, leading to his eventual death.
Recently, we’ve seen an uptick in viral videos featuring entitled Karens — arrogant middle-aged white women who use their privilege to push their agenda or police other people’s behaviors. These incidents can range from refusing to wear face masks for protection against the coronavirus to harassing service industry workers in restaurants and retail stores.
Over the past year, Karen phenomenon has gained widespread awareness. Some social commentators have even suggested it might be indicative of larger problems within society. They argue that it is a response to economic hardships like furloughs and layoffs, leading people to lose their tempers in public due to these stressful experiences.
However, many experts and social commentators are warning of a more grave problem with the Karen phenomenon. It has become a convenient shorthand for all kinds of troublesome white women – including some who could potentially murder.
Experts warn that this has made the Karen phenomenon an even more dangerous tool of control than its original use as a cutesy nickname for suburban soccer moms who wanted to speak with your manager. Now, experts say, the Karen has become a catchall term for any white person acting out in public due to their sense of entitlement, privilege or disenfranchisement and/or rage.
Lillian Glass, a communications and body language expert from Los Angeles, believes the anger displayed in these videos is likely caused by factors such as lockdown stress and the Black Lives Matter movement, which have left many feeling threatened.
In the United States, local arrests of entitled Karens have been on the rise. In one recent case, Becky Cooper was arrested for calling the police on a bird-watcher in Central Park and falsely accusing her of threatening her life. She was subsequently charged with harassment, false reporting, and disturbing the peace.