The Problem with the Karen Archetype
Posted by Aimaloghi Eromosele
February 9, 2021
Dear White Girl (all white people really) who made the Tik Tok compilation video of her admittedly fashionable, quirky, yet still, very white mother with a caption that reads “Y’all were raised by Karens, but I was raised by a Veronica”,
I’m assuming the “y’all” you are referring to is other white people who have high-strung and difficult mother figures.
For the sake of being thorough, I’ll define what a Karen is to me. “Karen” is a term for entitled, demanding, racist white women who weaponize their perceived fragility and victimhood to enact harm on any person(s) they deem fit, which is usually Black people just existing.
(See a karen compilation here)
With a definition such as that, and a whole wikipedia page dedicated to this type of character, I can almost see where you may be coming from.
Ultimately though, I don’t, and never will.
White people will do anything and everything to distance themselves from the evils of white supremacy. Let me tell you all something:
All of y’all are Karens.
It doesn’t matter that you were raised by a white woman who grew up on Aretha Franklin, smokes weed, and wears butterfly clips in her hair. You are missing the point. ALL white people, regardless of gender, age, and stylistic choices, are equally complicit in the horrors of white supremacy, the harm it perpetuates on a daily basis, can weaponize it at any given moment, and of course, benefit from it.
I will admit that the obnoxious white women with the mixed-kids-asymmetrical haircuts calling the police on Black families and their cookouts, is definitely a more overt type of violence and makes for prime viral content. A lot of these captured Karen moments are so unnecessary and atrocious, I’m sure it’s quite easy to clutch your pearls and wonder “what kind of human being behaves this way?”. Newsflash, Becky, it’s your aunties and your godmothers and your neighbors you see everyday.
Obviously, no one can be held accountable for another individual’s actions or words, but this attempt at creating a distinction that you are not this “type” of white person is weak, boring, and useless, because either you’re guilty as charged or just guilty by association. It does nothing, but soothes your own ego and white-guilt, while doing nothing to protect or alleviate the attacks of the white people you’re feebly condemning.
Instead of trying to divy up white people into silly little archetypes, understand that y’all are one and the same. Take a more proactive approach by actually defending us when you see us being attacked and scolded unreasonable, and not just when it’s being captured on video. Use your white power and defend us in the classroom, in the hospitals, at family functions when we’re not even present.
In short, I truly do not care who you were raised by, just reckon with the reality that you are all one and the same, and stop disturbing Black people’s peace.
A Black girl on Tik Tok over the white shenanigans