Listen: We joke a lot about Karens. When it comes to the subject of white people and their abject inability to stop minding Black people’s business, the humor nearly writes itself. But there’s a reason these stories are important to report however we choose to report and post about them: Karens are dangerous.
When taken to an extreme, the racist and invasive actions of Karens and their Dilbert male counterparts— which involve deciding a Black person or persons don’t belong in a certain area and policing them accordingly—put Black people in danger. They potentially put us in life-threatening danger when they call 911 on us for simply existing while Black, and even more so when they arm themselves to take non-existent matters into their own hands. That’s how Amaud Arbery ended up murdered. It’s why Trayvon Martin is dead. It’s why FedEx worker D’Monterrio Gibson was shot at by white men while trying his best to mind the business that literally pays him.
Speaking of Gibson, a similar case to his has come out of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, where a white woman was taken into custody by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office last week after she followed a Black newspaper delivery worker and held her at gunpoint.
From Fox Carolina:
According to deputies, when they arrived at the scene, the victim told them she was delivering newspapers around the Town of Rock Springs neighborhood when she noticed a driver, later identified as Mary Holmes, staring at her. The victim reported that she continued to deliver newspapers and eventually left the neighborhood, where Holmes pulled up next to her. The victim told deputies that she asked Holmes if she could help her, and the driver responded, “No you can’t.”
The victim told deputies that Holmes continued to follow her into the next neighborhood she went in, so she turned around, where Holmes confronted her and pulled out a gun, but the magazine fell out of it. The victim said she then left the area and contacted law enforcement.
Deputies stated that as they were talking with the victim, Holmes’ boyfriend called 911 and reported that she had been following someone she believed was stalking the neighborhood.
Deputies met with Holmes, and she stated that she was terrified after seeing a vehicle driving through her neighborhood that “didn’t belong there.” She added that someone had broken into a neighbor’s home a month ago, so she was scared it would happen to her. Holmes said she pulled out the gun in “fear for her life” but admitted she was in the wrong for continuing to follow the vehicle.
So, just to recap: Holmes was “terrified” that a Black woman who was delivering newspapers was actually “stalking the neighborhood,” so she decided to grab a gun and follow the delivery person around from neighborhood to neighborhood, which means the extreme Karen went very far out of her way to put herself in a position to “fear for her life.”
Or—and I’m just spitballing here—maybe she’s just another violent racist who knows white women’s tears are perfect for hiding the fact that Karens in these situations are the only true danger.
It’s also interesting how these incidents always conveniently include a prior burglary or string of burglaries that supposedly justify Black people being racially profiled and policed. It’s as if every predominately white area suddenly becomes the neighborhood in Home Alone once a Black person waltzes into it.
Holmes would have us believe she went full George Zimmerman (minus the racist killing for which Trayvon received no justice) because a single neighbor allegedly had their car broken into. But she was also “terrified” once the person she was stalking confronted her, and then suddenly she became an American citizen with the God-given right to bear arms and perfect herself—against the non-assailant she traveled miles away from her home to stalk.
So, yeah, we might joke about Karens, but what they do is no joke.
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