Is “Karen” the new C-word?
When folks say "Karen" today, I think they are developing a profile of women that is very close to the C-word Tweet
Voldemort—Harry Potter's nemesis—exists, but one cannot say his name. That is a projection of power.
The C-word is tightly policed. It’s closer to Voldemort, superficially.
However, The C-word—and more importantly the reality behind the C-word—is losing ground fast.
The narrative is shifting.
There are only a few words that one does not say in polite society. The two most prominent are the N-word and the C-word.
Voldemort—Harry Potter’s nemesis—exists, but one cannot say his name. That is a projection of power.
When folks say “Karen” today, I think they are developing a profile of women that is very close to the C-word.
Of the two, N— or C—, the N-word is in wider public use. However, it is a word reserved only for use by particular people; only those who would be most offended by it get to use it. To use it outside the privileged group says a lot about the person using it. And nothing good. This is a projection of real power.
The C-word is more tightly policed. It’s closer to Voldemort, superficially. However, The C-word—and more importantly the reality behind the C-word—is losing ground fast. The narrative is shifting.
There is a bait-and-switch afoot with far-reaching consequences. When folks say “Karen” today, I think they are developing a profile of women that is very close to the C-word.
Just recently, two examples have surfaced.
The aging Babewatch Karen-on-the-Plane, hitting and spitting on an old man in the ever-increasingly unfriendly skies: This lady was an obvious, spot-on C.
Delta flight from Tampa to Atlanta got crazy‼️ pic.twitter.com/I9BZUKv3LB
— ATL Uncensored | Atlanta News (@ATLUncensored) December 25, 2021
And then there is Elon Musk calling Senator Elizabeth Warren a “Karen.” Her mantra, “millionaires and billionaires don’t pay their fair share,” came off as a little ideologically heavy-handed and unfair in light of the $11 billion approximate tax infusion that Musk’s sale of Tesla stock poured into federal coffers. We get it; it’s a lot of money—and the “you did not build that” ethos is unbearably strong in her.
My ruling on the field, is that Elon’s use of “Karen” was not well-directed. A rapacious, confiscatory, you-did-not-build-that word for redistribution is not necessarily a C-word. Yes, a socialist/progressive can be a C but not all socialists are C’s. Correlation is not causation. Elon, tell the truth: We know you like government and the tax-payer provided backstop more than John Galt—who would be standing on stronger ground to level such a statement to a female Mooch.
The etymology of “Karen” is in Black speech. This is why Joy Reed chastised Elon for cultural appropriation for using the K-word against Senator Warren.
According to Wikipedia, a Karen is a pejorative term for a white woman perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal. The term is a meme depicting white women who use their privilege to demand their own way.
Upon reading the definition of “Karen,” it would appear that Elon’s use of it was not an abuse of it.
My argument is that this word is evolving. It’s gone from a scarlet “K” for unbearable white women who are married with children and willing to weaponize their privilege in the pursuit of pique willfulness to something more colorblind. A Karen is becoming a women of any race who is unbearable, condescending, privileged, vengeful and in need of being called out, for her sake—and for the sake of the community she irritates.
Can a black woman be a Karen? To ask that question is to answer it. Ought any woman want to be called a Karen? Of course not. It’s saying a lot about a person and none of it good.
Used properly, however, it could make the world a better place. But for this to happen, it needs to be held in reserve for the truly deserving.
Also, the term is not fair to non-Karen Karens, real Karens like my sister-in-law, who doesn’t have a Karen bone in her body. As you expect, Karen is dropping in popularity as a baby’s name, at 26% in 2020 and on its way to zero. Karen is on an Adolf trajectory of namesake oblivion.
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