Mainstream media was clamoring to cover how Elon Musk owned the “lib” Sen. Elizabeth Warren by referring to her as “Karen” after she posted a tweet criticizing how the world’s richest man pays so little in taxes commensurate to his overall wealth and income.
A simple Google search showed that pretty much every single outlet covering the overblown Twitter beef was reveling in their reporting that Musk called the former presidential candidate “Senator Karen” all because she accurately and publicly called him out for “freeloading off everyone else.” Warren also appealed to “change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes.”
Where is the lie?
Musk responded in kind by tweeting sarcastically, “Please don’t call the manager on me, Senator Karen,” in a post accompanied by a prayer hands emoji.
Still ranting at Warren, Musk also tweeted, “And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.”
The implication was clear: Musk knows he’s in the wrong but is instead deflecting and trying to shame Warren in a failed effort sparked by her public ridicule of him.
Putting aside for a moment the fact that the point of Warren’s tweet clearly went over Musk’s head, no one seemed to notice that he also completely misused the term “Karen” and clearly has a partial understanding of what it actually means, at best. At worst, he has absolutely no idea what a “Karen” actually signifies and represents.
If anything, he was the one who was coming across as a “Karen” via his entitled attitude toward a tax code that has been very favorable to him and other billionaires, which was precisely the intention of former President Donald Trump when he championed it into law.
To be sure, Karens are typically white women, like Warren. But not every white woman is a Karen, and certainly not every white woman who demands billionaires pay their fair share in taxes is a Karen.
That’s because a true Karen will always weaponize her whiteness in an effort to flex her purportedly morally superior existence and to police the behavior of someone who is typically Black or a person of color. (If anything, Warren is guilty in the past of trying to wield her non-existent Native American heritage as a bargaining chip, but that’s another, unrelated story…)
From this writer’s estimation, Warren did none of that when she called out Musk, who is worth a whopping $297 billion but paid an eye-popping $0 in federal income tax in 2018 – way less than the average American whose net worth is exponentially lower than Musk’s.
What Warren did carried none of the hallmarks of what Karens typically do. She neither called the police on Musk nor did she pretend to be the victim of a false crime reported to the authorities. She didn’t try to get him arrested under false pretenses. She didn’t play the victim. She didn’t even shed any so-called “white tears,” a nearly foolproof tried and true approach that typically evokes unwarranted sympathy.
Instead, Warren simply made the latest in a series of public pleas from a growing number of people for billionaires like Musk to stop taking advantage of tax loopholes put in place by Trump. Her sentiments were hardly unique.
In doing so, Warren also pointed to how Musk and his companies are enriched by billions of dollars in government subsidies funded by the average taxpayer with a higher tax rate even though he inexplicably lied last week that he doesn’t support federal subsidies at all.
In an article for TIME in which Musk was named its Person of the Year, he even had the nerve to say that government should keep its hands off his money.
“They’re basically saying they want control of the assets,” Musk said. “This does not result in, actually, the good of the people. You want those who are managing capital to be good stewards of capital. And I think the government is inherently not a good steward of capital.”