UPDATED: 12:00 p.m. ET, July 13, 2021 —
While they never really went anywhere, Karens and their Karening — white women amplifying and weaponizing their privileges when it comes to exerting their purported moral authorities — are apparently making a serious comeback.
The pandemic seemed to bring them out in hordes before the unfortunate phenomenon died down, but now they’re coming back with a major vengeance.
But one constant throughout it all has been how Karens keep getting immortalized on the viral videos in which they and their racism are unwittingly starring.
The latest proof of that truth came in the familiar setting of retail, where it seems that Karens have become increasingly emboldened.
Twitter star Chris Evans on Monday tweeted three separate videos of a white woman (let’s just call her Karen, shall we?) feigning fear of a Black woman when the white woman was the aggressor. What is known, however, is that the Black woman started recording with her phone sooner than Karen anticipated — as she was charging angrily at the Black woman — prompting Karen to stop in her tracks and take another tack: activating Karen mode.
After Karen unsuccessfully tried to grab the phone out of the Black woman’s hands, she pretended to be the victim, trying to appeal to the other white women in the store for help. A couple of white women even try to oblige, apparently feeling pity for their fellow Karen and telling the Black woman to leave the original Karen alone.
Throughout it all, store security is scarce and Karen is putting on a show for the ages, complete with the histrionics of a fake fainting spell and another episode of her legs convulsing while Karen is laid out on the store’s floor pretending to fear for her life. Meanwhile, the Black woman never touched Karen once.
Watch the videos below.
With the proliferation of all the Karens, it can be hard to keep track of them, especially amid ongoing protests against the very racism that they represent.
And if you thought Karens could only be women, get your sexist mind out of the racial gutter. There have been a growing number of instances of white men unknowingly vying against their female counterparts (though there doesn’t seem to be anything more irresistible to police officers than a white woman’s tears, but we digress…) to one-up each other’s irrational anti-Black racism.
Those folks have been Christened as “Karen’s Husband.” We met one earlier when a white man decided to call the cops on protestors because they were allegedly “honking horns” near his home. In peak white entitlement fashion, he tried to use his service in the military as a reason why he has the authority to make demands.
In another video, a group of Black entrepreneurs described being racially profiled by a white man in a Minnesota building where they rent office space.
Previously, one notorious Karen had an unwanted moment of international attention when a woman named Amy Cooper claimed to be deathly afraid of a Black man because he asked her to put her dog on a leash in New York City’s Central Park where bird-watching is popular. Oh, and because it is against the rules to have dogs off leashes in the public park. It was one of the more egregious instances of Karen trying to police a Black person under flagrantly racist pretenses.
The incident unfolded early on the 2020 Memorial Day holiday after Christian Cooper (obviously, no relation) spotted Karen’s dog off the leash in a part of Central Park called the Ramble. The video begins directly afterward and shows Karen, clearly embarrassed at being rightfully called out, reacting mercilessly on both human and canine levels, fumbling to put the leash on her dog while scrambling to call police at the same time. In doing so, she appeared to be choking, lifting and dragging her dog by the leash.
Karen can be seen and heard repeating in a shaky voice on her phone that “there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Christian Cooper’s video, of course, showed that the only apparent threat came when Karen moved aggressively toward him despite his pleas for her to stop advancing in his direction.
Watch the video below.
Prior to that madness, a social media debate broke out over the racial connotation behind the name Karen, with white women claiming it was the “N-word for white women.”
But not all of these videos have a racial undertone to them, either. Many of the so-called Karens show just as much negative energy toward their fellow white folks as they do to Black people. The underlying theme each time remains the same — how dare anybody go against what Karen says?
That privileged attitude, however, has not prevailed as it used to not so long ago when an earlier incarnation of the Karens — BBQ Becky — dominated the news cycle by calling the police on Black people who were somehow exhibiting threatening behavior by participating in everyday activities that included but were definitely not limited to having a cookout, selling Girl Scout cookies and studying in a university library.
Karens were already rising to infamy before the coronavirus pandemic set in. But as the COVID-19 crisis has continued, so have the Karens, undeterred in getting their points across.
From questioning why a Black police officer was “breaking into” his own home to assaulting workers at a Red Lobster restaurant who were only enforcing social distancing guidelines to finding a UPS worker “suspicious” for delivering packages to threatening pharmacy employees, the coronavirus has emboldened Karens across the world.
Another hallmark of the Karen videos is the decided absence of police violence. In one video, a Karen is joined by a throng of other Karens at a playground, one of the many places initially ruled off-limits during the pandemic. The video opens with a police officer politely and patiently asking the lead Karen to kindly leave since playgrounds were closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially among the young. But the head Karen in charge had other ideas and decided to mouth off to the cop, who gave her multiple chances to leave before he finally arrested her. We shudder to think of the police treatment a Black person would have received for exhibiting the same behavior.
That came after a male Karen blocked a Black delivery driver from leaving a gated community and called the police over the same kind of misguided suspicions that white folks have been known to have when they see Black and brown skin.
For the full Karen experience of living life feeling like there are no consequences and repercussions for one’s own actions, scroll down for a hearty dose of Karens’ reality as documented in the growing number of videos below.
1. Mailbox Karen
One of the more recent installments of the seemingly neverending episode of Karens was publicized by Bishop Talbert Swan. The video showed an unidentified white woman on a street going into her purported neighbor’s mailbox to steal a package that she said she deemed (without proof, of course) to be suspicious.
“Something’s going on in there,” Karen says confidently (but probably incorrectly) while pointing at her neighbor’s home.
While the video has since been exposed as a parody by social media creators desperate to go viral, the larger point of privileged white women acting like they have moral authority over others and disingenuously casting themselves as victims is hard to ignore.
2. Karen goes shopping at Ross
One Karen revealed herself in the form of a shopper at a Ross clothing store where she can be heard and seen hurling racial slurs at a Black store manager. The video was captured and posted on TikTok and has reached more than 2 million views. It is not clear what led to the woman’s outburst, and as we know, it doesn’t take much for Karen to get riled up.
A sampling of the riveting dialogue with Karen follows:
“You ignorant mother f*cking bitch is what you are!” the white unmasked woman screams towards the manager.
“Please leave,” the manager cooly responds.
The white woman continues to hurl obscenities as she prepares to leave.
“Call it racism!” she yells. “F*ck you, you f*cking Black bitch.”
“OK, that doesn’t bother me,” the manager responds. “Have a good day.”
“F*ck you!” the customer repeats.
As she exits the white woman yells that the manager is “sitting on the porch like a f*cking monkey.”
“Get out!” the manager lastly exclaims.
The difficult confrontation was first published on TikTok.
3. Karen Defaces Monument To Only Black Member Of Lewis And Clark Expedition
Another Karen made her social media debut in June when a bystander snapped some photos and then recorded a video of a white woman defacing a monument to the only Black member of the Lewis and Clark expedition that took place back in the early 1800s. When the unidentified Karen was asked why she was spray-painting the base of the monument, she said she was mad because it replaced a statue of a white man (except, her expletive-laced racist rant wasn’t said as nicely).
For context, York, the name of the slave whose monument the Karen vandalized in Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon, is credited with helping explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traverse the U.S. beginning in 1804.
4. Judith Ann Black, racist Burger King Whopper KarenSource:Sumter County Sheriff’s Office
A 77-year-old white woman named Judith Ann Black was arrested on May 1 for throwing a Whopper she bought at a Burger King employee in Florida. She called the Black woman working the register all types of racial slurs over the thickness of the tomato on her Whopper, no kidding. The ironically named Black was so angry that in addition to throwing the food, she called the cashier a “stupid Black bitch,” a “Black n****r” and offered up a general, “f**k you Black n****rs.”
Black was charged with assault and battery, but not a hate crime. However, the charge was a felony because of her admitted racist language. It was a rare instance of a Karen immediately being held accountable for her actions.
5. Stephanie Denaro, AKA “Bagel Karen”
The most recent installment of the ongoing Karen saga came in the form of Stephanie Denaro, also known as “Bagel Karen” for her racist comments to a Black bakery worker who refused her service because she would not wear a mask in the New York City store. Denaro, who was accompanied by her young half-Black children, called the worker a “b—- a– n—–” to the horror and shock of onlookers, some of whom recorded the racist encounter and posted it to social media.
When she was confronted by the media later, she both doubled down on her racism as well as denied using the word, prompting Durven Dawes, the Black man who fathered Denaro’s children, to recommend she seek “proper mental care.” TMZ reported that Dawes said Denaro using the N-word is “nothing new for her.”
6. Courtside Karen
A young white, maskless woman identified as Juliana Carlos confronted NBA star LeBron James during a game in Atlanta on the first night of Black History Month 2021 after her husband heckled the professional basketball superstar while they were sitting courtside. She later offered her side of the story, blaming LeBron and claiming that she was standing up for her husband.
But LeBron would have the last word, tweeting after the game: “Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!” The tweet was accompanied by seven crying laughing emojis.
The moniker LeBron bestowed on the heckler’s wife stuck and quickly became a top trending topic and the world woke up Feb. 2 to see memes mocking the behavior of her and her husband.
7. Arlo SoHo Karen
This unidentified white woman got her “Karen” on by falsely accusing a 14-year-old of stealing her iPhone before she “attacked” his father, Keyon Harrold Jr., in the lobby of the Arlo SoHo hotel in New York City on the morning of Dec. 26, the day after Christmas.
When they came downstairs for breakfast, Karen angrily approached them and accused Harrold’s son of stealing from her even though she had no proof to back up her allegation. At one point she had to be restrained by a hotel employee, who, of course, took her side in the matter.
Karen then allegedly grabbed, tackled the young boy and scratched Harrold.
Karens don’t die, they only multiply.
8. Trader Joe’s ‘Karen’
This “Karen” refused to wear a mask while inside a Trader Joe’s and was promptly asked t leave — but not before she put up a privileged fight.
9. ‘Karen’ the angry neighbor
10. ‘Karen’ Pulls Gun On Black Woman And Daughter After Chipotle Argument
A white woman was arrested after she was shown on video aiming a gun directly at a Black woman and her daughter who were just feet away following a nonviolent dispute at a Chipotle restaurant in Michigan.
11. Nurse ‘Karen’ Fired
Caron Jones — that’s Caron with a “K” as in “Karen”— was fired for complaining about #BlackLivesMatter in a lengthy Facebook post that said in part, “All Lives Matter and BLM is just a political trick to upset a group of people to riot and terrorize!”
12. St. Louis ‘Karen’
Patricia McCloskey and her husband confronted nonviolent Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis with their guns, including her husband’s assault rifle.
13. ‘Karen’s Husband’ Investigated After Calling Cops On Black Men
“Karen’s husband” has surfaced as an offshoot to Karen, describing a white man who will also call the police over the pettiest of things. One man in Connecticut exemplified “Karen’s husband” when he called the cops on a group of Black men and referred to himself as “God,” declaring “White lives matter too.” He even allegedly pepper-sprayed the guys.
14. Convenience Store ‘Karen’
An unidentified white woman in Sacramento who is now known as “Convenience Store Karen” or “Sacramento Karen” got into a heated argument with an unidentified Black woman after calling her the N-word. Karen’s racism was promptly met by Black power in the form of the Black woman’s fist colliding with the white woman’s face, repeatedly.
15. Nurse ‘Karen’ Loses Her Job For ‘Black Privilege’ Video
This time around, Karen — presented in the form of a nurse — seemed to not only be cognizant of her disdain for Black folks, but she also advertised it while recording a selfie video complaining about “Black privilege” (which, of course, doesn’t exist) and suggested George Floyd was to blame for his own death that a medical examiner called a homicide.
16. Seattle ‘Karen’ Has A Total Meltdown After Black Driver Records Her ‘White Tears’
A white woman driver was apparently more worried about becoming the next star of a viral “Karen” video than she was about allegations of her own racist road rage after a Black motorist confronted her on film in Seattle.
17. Officer ‘Karen’ Is Slammed For Crying White Tears Over McDonald’s Wait
A Georgia law enforcement officer broke down in tears over the delay of her McDonald’s order and took to Facebook Live to air her grievances about a topic that is not important in the vast scheme of things.
“It doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve been up, it doesn’t matter what I’ve done for anyone, right now I’m too nervous to take a meal from McDonald’s because I can’t see it being made,” she said in the clip.
18. Kroger ‘Karen’ Blocks Black Mother From Pulling Out Of Parking Lot Over ‘Gatorade’
A Black woman was grocery shopping with her three kids in a Detroit Krogrers when a white woman stood behind her car in the parking lot, preventing her from leaving, because one of the children allegedly stepped on the bottom shelf to reach a bottle of Gatorade. That upset “Karen,” who took the law into her own hands against something that isn’t even a crime.
19. San Francisco ‘Karen’ Who Called Cops Over ‘BLM’ Art
Lisa Alexander and her husband were fired for racially profiling their Black neighbor in San Francisco and then calling police on the innocent man.
20. Karen the “Shorewood Spitter”
Stephanie Rapkin blocked a group of protesters with her car, got out, walked up to protesters and directly confronted them before she spit in an unidentified Black teenager’s face in Milwaukee. The person who uploaded the footage and posted it on Facebook attributed Rapkin’s actions to “racism” and accurately pointed out that the victim who was spit on was participating in a peaceful and nonviolent protest.
Rapkin was arrested and released in just enough time to confront people who were writing in chalk on the sidewalk in front of her home in Shorewood, Wisconsin. When her neighbors rightfully called out Rapkin about spitting on the Black teen the day before, she went into “Karen” mode and allegedly assaulted one of the people confronting her. Police arrested her again, but not before she allegedly kneed an officer in the groin.
21. Karen’s husband
This white man pulled the ultimate Karen move and called police on Black people because they were exercising in the same office gym that he was in. He couldn’t believe they were tenants. Turns out, not only were they tenants, but the man — Tom Austin — consequently lost the lease to his office space in the building because of his anti-Black racism.