Who is “Karen” and why is she a threat to Black lives everywhere? 


For Black women, the knowledge of who “Karen” is and why “she” is a threat to Black lives everywhere is thoroughly understood. However, for White women, the answer may not be so clear. You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t be a Karen” or “don’t call me Karen” and you’ve probably even wondered what being a ”Karen” really means.
Here’s a snippet of how dictionary.com has defined it: “Karen is a mocking slang term for an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged White woman.” This slang use of the name “Karen” has even caused some to be offended by it. I’m not sure why this has caused some to feel this way. I can only assume it’s solely because the reasons behind it have been made clear. So if you are among the offended, let me take a moment and clear a few things up…

  • First and foremost, if your given name is Karen…this does not apply to you, unless of course, you’re being a “Karen.”
  • Being deemed a “Karen” is something that is earned by your own actions. 
  • Lastly, if someone is called a “Karen” it is NOT equivalent to being called the “N” word. The reality is, there is not any other word that has incited centuries of hatred, brutality, and systematic racism. Therefore, the term “Karen” in no way can be deemed equivalent in nature when referencing a group of women whom never have endured racism.

The concept of “Karen” was originally stereotypical in nature, flooding social media with memes of a White woman with a blonde bob asking for the manager. Though these memes have given many a chuckle, there can be vicious consequences. Let’s dig a little deeper…

Who is “Karen,” really?

She is someone whose sense of entitlement bubbles over from an endless source of White privilege. This fuels her to call the police on Black people for reasons that would never prompt her to if they were White. “Karen” believes that she has the right to dictate how, what, when, and where Black people can and cannot live, take naps, exercise, take pictures, barbecue, etc.

Over the past few years, the term “Karen” has become synonymous with many other names. Although each has been given a name specifically related to their actions, they are all still considered “Karens.” Below are a few not-so-honorable mentions:

BBQ Becky called the police on two Black men while barbecuing.

Permit Patty called the police on an 8-year-old Black girl for selling bottled water. 

ID Adam (A male version of “Karen” is also known as a “Ken” or “Bob.”) called the police on a Black woman at her community pool. 

Pool Patrol Paula assaulted Black teens at a community pool because she said they didn’t belong there.

Cornerstone Caroline called the police on a 9-year-old Black boy and said he groped her. 

Amy Cooper called the police on a Black man and said she was going to tell them “An African-American man is threatening my life!”

“Karens” Cause Deadly Consequences

These stories have gained the notice of many news and media outlets. However, there is another story that is always left untold: the story of what could have happened. Each one of these could have potentially cost someone their life. 

Emmett Till is an example of what happens when “Karen’s” actions turn deadly. His story is a heartbreaking part of America’s Black history… 

Emmett Till was accused of grabbing Carolyn Bryant Dunham when he was only 14 years old. She also said that he made lewd advances toward her. This led to him being kidnapped, tortured, and brutally murdered. This is the epitome of why the “Karens” of today are a threat to Black lives everywhere!

In 2017, Emmett Till’s accuser, Carolyn Bryant Dunham admitted her claims were false. The audacity of what she did sickens me. Not only did she tell a lie that cost a child his life, but she stayed silent about it for 60 long years. 

So you see the  “Karens” of this world are more than just a White woman with a blonde bob asking for the manager. Can you imagine your 14-year-old son enduring such a vicious and inhumane murder? Can you feel the pain expressed in his mother’s face? Can you sense her agony? Can you envision yourself looking down at your baby boy in a casket? Can you fathom not being able to recognize his face because he was so brutally beaten? Can you believe the audacity of the woman, the “Karen” who lied on him? I can, because this has been happening for hundreds of years. It needs to stop.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

How can you avoid becoming a “Karen”?

  • Check your heart. Ask yourself: why am I so bothered? 
  • Ask yourself: if they were White, would this bother me?
  • Acknowledge that White privilege is your “blessing” and our “curse.”
  • When all else fails…mind your business!
  • Lastly and most importantly…ONLY call the police when an ACTUAL crime is being committed.

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “knowing is half the battle.” Well, now you know, so don’t be a “Karen!”

We are tired, fed up, and no longer tolerating “her” actions. “Karens” will be called out, recorded and shared on social media for the whole world to see.


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