2020: The Year Of The Unleashed Karens
This year, there were Karens, Karens everywhere and not a cop to think, “Why are we giving Black people are hard time because some white lady won't chill?"
2020's most famous Karen is inarguably Amy Cooper, who tried to sic the cops on Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper in Central Park because he committed the crime of asking Lady Karen de Bourgh to leash her dog. Instead of politely complying with the rules, she instead called 911 and falsely claimed that an "African-American man" was “threatening" her. Oh noes! She repeatedly mentioned his race while raising her voice and delivering one of the five best "scared white lady" performances of the theatrical season.
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clear… https://t.co/zFb3O0cClz— Melody Cooper (@Melody Cooper)1590426192.0
This went down over Memorial Day Weekend, which is also when Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd on the street. America clearly saw how dangerous it was for Black men to have interactions with the police more significant than watching a "Law & Order" rerun. Something close to justice occurred: Ms. Cooper lost her job, her dog, and access to the outside. She was also charged with filing a false police report, which is a slap on the wrist considering this was arguably attempted murder. She'd gone so far as to suggest Mr. Cooper was trying to assault her. Fortunately, he recorded the whole incident on his phone, because the spirit of Steve Jobs watches over Black people.
Barely a week later, NYC-based restaurant owner and socialite Svitlana Flom called the police and claimed that an "African American" woman was "harassing" her and "threatening" her children. This was also a lie. Jana'e Brown, a Black healthcare worker, told the New York Daily News that Flom confronted her in Waterline Square on W. 59th St. She accused Brown of smoking pot and begged 911 to send the police in less than 30 minutes or her racism was free.
"I didn't know who she was," said Brown in June. "She's just a random person, telling me I can't sit here, telling me I can't be here."
Brown also recorded the encounter, which went viral on Instagram. Flom is heard telling the 911 operator that she “wants that video gone," because Karens have learned that filmed evidence of their Karen-ness is the problem, not their gross bigotry. Flom later insisted that she was the true victim, which is classic Karen behavior.
Also in June, a couple of white busybodies called the cops on a man painting “Black Lives Matter" on his own home, which they had refused to believe was his. This is why I never wander outside my own house without a copy of the deed of sale.
Amber Lynn Gilles showed up at a San Diego Starbucks this summer with her face hanging out during a pandemic. She refused to wear a mask inside, despite the city's public health requirements. She thought she'd film the masked “sheeple" buying lattes while caring whether other people live or die. Barista Lenin Gutierrez refused to serve her dumb ass, and she posted a video on social media “calling him out." She thought this made her a white, maskless, and stupid Rosa Parks.
Gilles went viral, as she'd hoped, but she went viral for being an asshole, which she deserved. Decent people set up a GoFundMe for Gutierrez, and instead of going away forever like Jesus would've wanted, Gilles tried to get her cut, as if she were Gutierrez's personal Karen agent.
Such unrepentant Karen-ess should take the crown but this is also the year where Donald Trump, the Karen in Chief, refused to concede the election he lost and instead called the manager in charge of democracy. This asshole claimed the first Black president wasn't legitimate and his sorry ass is leaving the White House baselessly arguing that the first Black, first woman vice president is also illegitimate.
Trump assembled an “elite strike force" of Karens who wasted our time spreading his conspiracy theories. He's got his Shurfine lawyers, Jenna Ellis and Kraken wrangler Sidney Powell, who are regularly laughed out of court because they're laughable people. (Powell even wears leopard print without irony.) Trump's taxpayer-funded Karen representative is Kayleigh McEnany, who is either the White House press secretary or a Trump campaign spokesperson depending on her mood. She likes to wave around blank pages and pretend they contain “evidence" of "widespread voter fraud." It's all just crap.
We did manage to vote out the country's worst Karen, even if he won't go away quietly, which is just so damn Karen!
And if your name is Karen and you've spent any amount of time this year whining about how “Karen" is a racial epithet instead of being secure in the knowledge that you're not one, please put down your cell phone before you hurt someone.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."