Karen has taken an unexpected path. From being an exaggerated caricature of entitled white women, to becoming a symbol of consumer anger and racism.
She has been described as an uncaring mother who uses white privilege as a weapon against Black people and who often calls the police on innocent Black individuals.
Entitled Karens Have Evolved
Through 2018, the “Karen” meme has undergone many transformations. At its inception, it served as a humorous jab at anti-vaxxer mothers with entitlement complexes; but over time it has evolved into an more pointed and serious term that represents 2020’s tenuous social politics.
Karen has come to symbolize a type of white woman who uses her privilege and her position to exert dominance at the expense of others, sometimes to call out law enforcement on Black citizens. Online users refer to these people as Karens.
These Karens often appear in viral videos, using their power to intimidate and gain the attention of others. Usually aggressive and rude, these Karens exploit their white privilege when dealing with service staff.
However, some of these women also possess darker sides; Amy Cooper of Central Park Karen fame recently called police on an African American man she thought was threatening to her and her dog in Central Park.
As reported by The Huffington Post, Cooper’s actions could be seen as an act of racial profiling. While it’s common practice to call police on those perceived to be threatening or dangerous, Cooper’s conduct stood out due to her considerable white privilege.
San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton recently introduced the CAREN Act (Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act). She hopes this law will prevent white women such as Cooper from filing false reports with police.
While this law is an effort in the right direction, it will not stop White women from engaging in racist behaviors – such as calling police on Black citizens – nor will it prevent them from doing so.
Karens aren’t alone when it comes to engaging in these racially charged behaviors; there are other racist and classist white women engaging in similar public antics every day. These individuals feel entitled to get what they want and will stop at nothing until they achieve it – sometimes loudly and aggressively so. Their behaviors make a statement about society that can’t be ignored or easily disregarded.
They Feel They Have a Right to Throw Public Freakouts
Since lockups began happening, I’ve noticed an upsurge of YouTube and TikTok videos on my social media feeds. One of my favorites involves young adolescent girls with fragile egos who aren’t as cynical as their parents and are unafraid of asking questions and seeking information. One such girl stands out: an eye-catching hedibopper with plenty of charm who asks all sorts of probing questions with no inhibition whatsoever – her beauty never ceases to amazes! She truly slays!
Karens Are a Pandemic
One of the worst aspects of pandemic is how it has caused stress and fatigue among many individuals, leading to belligerence among some and making people more hostile toward each other – all while making those from privilege feel entitled to certain items or benefits more quickly than they otherwise would.
It’s an endless cycle, only accelerating with time. Entitlement among Karens is one contributing factor.
Karen is an intriguing character reminiscent of an earlier time when women were considered subservient, yet now these white middle-class women feel entitled. By using their privilege as white women to amplify and weaponize them further, these individuals risk using it against themselves and endangering themselves as individuals.
“Karen” has quickly become a meme, depicting a specific type of middle-class woman exhibiting behaviors associated with privilege. These include seeking permission to speak directly to managers in order to belittle service industry workers; being anti-vaccination; and perpetrating microaggressions of racism.
These behaviors are all very troubling, yet especially concerning as they take place in public spaces. Many incidents have made headlines or been shared on social media, putting an entire world on edge.
Sophia Rosing made headlines for her drunken attack against Black freshman Kylah Spring and subsequent video going viral highlighting just how destructive it can be for privileged white women to use their authority as a form of activism. This video has gone viral and stands as a stark reminder that privilege shouldn’t be used as an avenue for activism by white women.
One such instance involved an angry white woman calling the police on a black family who were writing with chalk on their sidewalk. Such actions are common among these “entitled Karens”, who frequently resort to using their position to call out anyone they don’t approve of with police action.
As such, it is imperative to recognize these behaviors for what they are and stop them from expanding into something worse. Actions which have caused so much discomfort for so many have now been brought even further to light with mobile phone videos showing more and more evidence.