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Opinion

First ‘Karen’ was sexist, now it’s racist – in fact it’s neither and if you think otherwise, well, have a guess what you are…

The seemingly confusing ‘Karen’ moniker has reared its head once again, this time with the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh claiming it is an anti-white slur, ironically making him seem like a complete ‘Karen’.

To help anyone who has had any confusion in the past with the term ‘Karen’, all you have to do is ask a retail worker. Heck, just about any person who works in a form of customer service can tell you about where the term originated. A ‘Karen’ is someone, typically a woman (hence the name), that is overly entitled and demanding of service workers. It’s the type of customer that someone runs into that wants to ‘speak to the manager’ whenever they hear something that they don’t like, or sometimes just for the sake of it. Now for someone working within the service industry, it has nothing to do with race or gender. If this statement sounds familiar, it’s because I made a very similar one last April when a writer made the term out to be sexist.

Since that time, the term has taken on a life of its own. It has expanded beyond the retail and customer service world and into pop culture. Whether it is someone calling the cops on a little girl and her lemonade stand, or a busybody alerting the authorities to some black dude minding his own business in Central Park, it has come to be a universal term to point out a sense of entitlement. Elon Musk was dubbed ‘Space Karen’ for complaining about the accuracy of Covid tests and, just this week, LeBron James branded a loudmouth fan who was thrown out of a Lakers game ‘Courtside Karen.’ It is now essentially used as a catch-all term for someone who wants to ruin your day because they didn’t get what they wanted, or you’re not following the rules that they think you should be following.  

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FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for an automobile awards ceremony in Berlin, Germany, November 12, 2019 © Reuters / Hannibal Hanschke
Professor calls Elon Musk ‘Space Karen’ for his complaints about ‘bogus’ coronavirus tests

Yes, in some of these high-profile cases the ‘Karens’ in question were white people berating black people, but there is nothing to say that the term could just as easily be applied in a situation where this was the reverse or there were no racial dynamics at all, such as in the case of ‘Target Tori’. 

But that hasn’t stopped the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, in the year of Our Lord 2021, coming to the conclusion that it is an anti-white slur. Walsh goes on a fairly lengthy tirade about people of color using the term about white people. Or rather that’s how he decides to see it. During the course of his article, he cites Wikipedia (which can be edited by anyone), and articles by Time Magazine and Teen Vogue. Neither of the articles is aware of the origin of the Karen meme either, or it’s proper definition. Basing his conclusions on articles that didn’t even get it right in the first place, he goes on to make definitive statements about it being a racial term.

The most ironic statement in his article is “anyone who doubts the racial connotation of Karen need only listen to the people who originated and popularized it” before citing the articles. So if I doubt the racial connotation of Karen, I should read two articles that don’t get it right either? That would make about as much sense as going to Jim Acosta to write a biography of Donald Trump. In fact, Walsh’s article reeks of both entitlement and a victim complex. In my own experiences working in customer service, we had a term for that.

We would call you a ‘Karen’.

Also on rt.com

Juliana Carlos went viral after her run-in with James. © Instagram @julianacarlos / Twitter
15 minutes of infamy? LeBron James heckler Juliana Carlos – aka ‘Courtside Karen’ – faces calls to be BANNED from NBA games

This is the irony of just about everyone who complains about the term. Whether it’s a right-winger like Matt Walsh or a left-winger on Twitter, it seems that people want to turn the phrase into what they would like so they can play victim. That is part of what a ‘Karen’ does. Anytime the manager ever was called in, you would get the same sort of tones of faux disbelief and victimhood. They act like you just ran over their first born with a pickup truck. People who act like Karens are not victims of anything, which is why the term exists in the first place. So if you spend time out of your day to pen a thousand-word article that falsely sets you up as a victim because of the color of your skin, you are a Karen.

Whether you’re a retail customer or an op-ed writer, false accusations of racism like this are Karen-like behavior, and are just wrong. Then again, this is why the pejorative exists in the first place.

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