K.A.R.E.N. It’s Not the Name, It’s What’s Behind It

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Karen, Karen, Karen it is interesting how a simple name has become the topic of controversy all over social media? Many women with this name are lodging complaints because the name is being used to describe women who call the police or make a scene about minorities, especially black people, being in places like swimming pools, driving UPS trucks, delivering furniture, making coffee, bird watching in central park, parked on the street, barbecuing and such makes them afraid. If they don’t claim they are afraid for their safety (at first), they often claim to be helping in the fight against crime so they call the police. Once they call the police after not getting their “entitled way” they cry, tremble their voice or act as if they were terrified of those same people doing everyday stuff causing them some harm. They feel they have a right to stop people and demand they answer their questions, leave the locations they’re in, and more.

As complaints about this Karen name calling started to ramp up, the name turned social media term “K.A.R.E.N.” is being called a racial slur by some equal in weight to the “N” word because it usually refers to a white woman. These women have been caught on tape over and over harassing minorities and those who they deem lower in class than them. These same people sadly make fools of themselves and risk things like losing their jobs with their behaviors. In a world full of cameras, I could go on and on as to why it’s not smart for people to partake in such public foolery but they let their emotions rule and the K.A.R.E.N. train rolls along. The saddest part is they can’t even see their own biases and how they impact their behaviors.

Now I do have a couple of relatives named Karen, as well as a friend with the name so I thought about how this might affect them. One is closely related to me and I can honestly say she's a terrific person just like the other two. As a matter of fact Karen is the 24th most popular name in the United States so it must be a pretty cool name for girls/women. My close relative by the way has not ever expressed any angst over the name that trends whenever an incident is filmed. In fact, we’ve discussed how at one point people were calling different people different names like BBQ Becky, Poolside Patty and so on. As an adult, from an intellectual perspective, I can point a finger and say, “hey guys we all know name-calling in any form isn’t right.” In theory that really is a fair and correct statement; however, that isn’t the nature of humans especially when things happen like this that transcend logical reasoning in most cases. This leaves people looking for ways to express their disgust, anger, and frustration which in this case that need for expression has equated to the shift to calling people in these videos K.A.R.E.N.

For those who are offended, some don’t get what’s behind it. They haven’t taken time to think about it. For others, maybe they are offended because they too possess the traits of some of these people caught on camera. To reiterate, the name itself is not the issue here but the meaning behind it. This is one reason why those who have begun comparing it to the “N” word have received so much push back. As I think of this name, an acronym comes to mind. K.A.R.E.N…… could it mean Kindness Abandoned & Replaced by Egocentric Nuisances? Some would argue that is putting it kindly; however, that’s what it seems like. Simply being kind and existing with people you don’t know or know anything about has been abandoned by many who feel that the world revolves around them and they are entitled to have people answer to them. People displaying these behaviors have turned into a public nuisance.

If only people could see themselves from the outside looking in before they act out, think of how the world would be so different. Instead, people in this position act as if what they want or how they see the world is the ONLY way, thus giving them the mindset that they have the right to be the nuisances we continue to see on video. They think they are doing good by keeping the world safe; but people aren't’ safe from them. These so-called want to be do-gooder folks constantly embellish. They waste taxpayer dollars by calling police to scenes where there is no threat or crime but instead to feed their own self imposed sense of power over others and increasing divisiveness. They create spectacles of themselves and cry foul when they are demonized on social media and end up losing their job, friends or customer base. The truth is though, they make it bad for others who have legitimate reasons to question situations for REAL safety reasons because people are on high alert waiting for a K.A.R.E.N. to show up at every corner these days. They can be dangerous to those who they get involved with especially when they call the police. Police come out to deal with situations like crimes and accidents. They come out ready for something to happen. Yet K.A.R.E.N. sees it is a way to have their current temper tantrums managed. What about if it goes wrong? Will K.A.R.E.N. then say, “but that’s not what I wanted to happen?” People need to think!!! And to be fair, trust and believe there are definitely males that fit this description too. Oddly, none of those names for them have stuck but maybe it’s because we don’t see as many videos pop up. For the ones who have, they too have been identified and fallen victim to the social media slam they brought on themselves.

The real deal is this. If you are highly offended by this because your name is Karen, you’ve missed the point. If you think like those who are doing this, I am sorry you feel this way because to function in the world as a healthy functioning person, you will need to find a better way to manage yourself, take the blinders off and hopefully not get people locked up or killed because you can’t get out of your own way.

If you don’t think like K.A.R.E.N. there is no need to self-identify with those folks period! How many people have said things like “Bye Felicia” perpetuating the stereotype of what a female addicted to drugs looks based on a movie character? I even have a cousin with that name, yet still she never CHOSE to identify with the term spun off from the movie character vs identifying with her beautiful name instead.

If you are on social media, a lot comes with being connected to a world full of people you both know and don’t know virtually. You will be subjected to things you may never have imagined. For those who are upset by the name that has turned into a term, imagine how those feel who have innocently been attacked by these persons. If we all spent time standing up for each other when things are wrong regardless of race, gender, age, ability or orientation, maybe the world would be better . Until then, the K.A.R.E.N.s and all those who will come after will continue to deal with social media’s sting. It’s not optimal for sure and it may not be right; however, it is our current reality in a world where many groups feel disempowered to change a narrative that is strongly built against them. As humans, we should spend more time focusing on the problems we need to fix instead of worrying about being identified by a name turned term that in essence people are willingly CHOOSING to label for themselves as a racial slur about themselves. Keep in mind as one compares it to the “N” word black people NEVER had a choice in being called the “N” word from the beginning and the word still lives on simply because of the color of our skin and not even the behaviors as evidenced in the videos noted above.

Written by

Trauma-informed #emotionalintelligence coach, diversity consultant & speaker writing about everything to help you live, love, and prosper in the best way!

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