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I‘m sure there are a lot of white people who long for the day when they could just mind other people’s business without someone pointing a camera in their faces and shouting “Karen” at them. “Why can’t I just arbitrarily find Black people suspicious in peace?” they might ask themselves. “Why can’t they just yield to my non-existent authority like in the good old days?”

So, there’s this TikTok video floating around the interwebs that begins with Black children crying and an understandably aggressive man shouting, “Welcome to the neighborhood, Karen!”

The man claimed that the white woman shown in the video was “insulting my daughter” who he said had been “coming out here watering plants for three weeks while they’re out of town,” apparently referring to neighbors who had asked her to do so.

Eventually, the Karen—who had been looking flustered and frustrated that she was being put on blast for trying to police Black folks for simply existing—started shouting back that she needed the names and addresses of the family members who were menacingly *checks notes* watering plants, to which the father responded, “You need to go somewhere, Karen!” while a child can still be heard crying in the background. 

“Something just don’t f***king smell right,” the white woman then replied, to which the father responded, “YOU DON’T SMELL RIGHT! YOU SMELL LIKE BOLOGNA, EMPTY SPICE RACKS AND 400 YEARS OF OPPRESSION!” (OK, I made most of that up.)

Eventually, the woman walked away, far into the distance, but then she turned around and started walking back only to pass the man with the camera muttering some Karen nonsense as she walked away again in the opposite direction. Then she turned around again to walk back the way she began walking the first time. (It was as if she had spent so much time minding Black folks’ business that she had completely forgotten where she lived.)

The whole incident was reminiscent of the time a Black pastor in Alabama was arrested while watering his neighbor’s flowers while they were away. In that incident, a cop asked the man, “How do we know” he was just watering flowers, to which the good pastor responded, “I had the water hose in my hand! I was watering the flowers.”

Then there was the white man in New Jersey who called the cops on a 9-year-old Black girl, his neighbor, who was spraying bugs outside her own home.

“There’s a little Black woman walking and spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees,” the man to 911 dispatch. “I don’t know what the hell she’s doing. Scares me though.” Imagine being so afraid of Black people that calling the cops feels like a safer alternative than simply asking a 9-year-old what she’s doing. (I mean, if you’re so deathly allergic to minding your own business that you feel the need to do so.)

It’s hard to imagine why children watering plants didn’t “smell right” to this woman, but it really doesn’t matter. Black people are just sick and tired of not being able to perform the most mundane, regular-regular activity without being profiled. Can we just live? Can we even help plants and flowers live?

If only there was a spray we could use on Karens and their Ken-tlemen counterparts. If only.


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