The National Republican Congressional Committee had a bit of a Twitter spat with conservative writer Kurt Schlichter on Sunday. Somehow “Karen” was mentioned in all of the drama and the fact that a Republican organization is now using “Karen” brings to question whether this is another instance of appropriators taking all the fun out of a word.
Of course, “Karen” has become universally known as any white woman attempting to leverage their privilege to surveil, demean or degrade a Black person. “Karen” can also refer to a white woman who is so full of entitlement that she’s quick to ask to “speak to a manager” or get law enforcement involved for the pettiest matters. The NRCC knew this and tried to use “Karen” against Schlichter.
The beef occurred in the midst of conservative organizations receiving some criticism for sending harsh or demanding fundraiser texts, according to Business Insider. Jake Lahut of Business Insider reported that Donald Trump‘s presidential reelection campaign is one example of the intense communication. According to him, recent fundraising communications have become “very in-your-face and awkwardly personal.” Apparently, the NRCC has adopted a similar tone in their messaging.
Schlichter clearly took issue with it because he tweeted at the NRCC attaching a screenshot of a text from the organization that reads, “We texted you TWiCE. Why did you let your 500% Trump House Patriot match expire AGAIN? We’ll give you 1 more chance. 500% match for 1 HR.” Schlichter captioned his tweet with a simple question: “Hey @ NRCC — WTF is wrong with you?”
“Stop this. Do it now,” he added.
Other people seemed to mirror Schlichter’s feelings because, according to a Daily Dot report, people started leaving comments under his tweet. “They must’ve hired someone with experience working in extended car warranties and credit card refinancing,” one user wrote. “Grifters gonna grift,” read another tweet.
The NRCC defended itself by claiming nearly $200,000 had been raised via the text in question. “But we’ll pass your complaints on to our manager, Karen,” the NRCC’s tweet continued.
The fact that the NRCC used the term “Karen” is quite cringeworthy considering the group helps elect Republicans to Congress, some of which have a clear, documented history of racism. For example, the NRCC recently endorsed Ted Howze, who was called out for racist comments he made concerning Black Lives Matter, according to Politico. Republicans in general have always been criticized for a long history of policies and strategies that have suppressed or marginalized Black people. It doesn’t help that the party elected Trump to office, one of America’s most racist presidents.
So for the NRCC to even utter the word “Karen” against someone else feels like an attempt to absolve themselves from the responsibility of “Karen,” a mindset that is probably rampant in the GOP.
Of course there are still those on the right who don’t like the use of the word “Karen” at all. Fox News host Tucker Carlson got involved with the spat between NRCC and Schlichter calling the name “Karen” an “ethnic slur.”
“Anyone know why the NRCC is using ethnic slurs,” Carlson questioned in a tweet.
Republication Illinois representative Adam Kinzinger also addressed the NRCC’s tweet, tweeting that the “Karen thing” was “way overplayed.”
In the instance of white conservatives and Republicans using the term “Karen,” yes it’s “way overplayed’ indeed.