Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by DaveC426913, Apr 28, 2020.


How bad is the Karen slur on a continuous scale of OK to horrible?

Poll closed May 12, 2020.
  1. 0 Harmless silly internet fun that too many are offended by

    1 vote(s)
  2. 1 Mostly harmless "You may be a redneck if..." fun

    3 vote(s)
  3. 2. Harmful, but not surprising in a cynical world

    0 vote(s)
  4. 3. Very harmful - needs to be fought as any other form of oppression

    0 vote(s)
  5. 4. Analogous to the N-word - as some claim

    0 vote(s)
  1. Bells Staff Member

    Not at all.

    I have addressed your point repeatedly.

    Not my fault you keep shifting that goal post and complaining when things don't go your way.

    Karen can stay Karen and Karen's who are being Karen's for COVID can be COVID Connie..

    You have repeatedly said that you were concerned that this was an attack on white women in particular.

    You have also repeatedly advised that you are concerned about the stereotype, as you feel it is now being used against women who are not "Karen"...

    The meme is not harmful to women who are not "Karen", Dave. It isn't actually harmful at all. It is a way of identifying and yes, mocking certain behaviour.

    The only people who are taking offense at the meme are Karen's.

    “The Karen meme is used to reference a middle-class white woman who feels entitled to special treatment,” said Jacqueline Arcy, assistant professor of new media at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. “She is depicted as the type of person that asks to ‘speak to a manager’ when she is dissatisfied with her service, often provided by working-class people of color. A defining feature of a ‘Karen’ is that she is oblivious to her white privilege.”


    “The term ‘Karen’ is not equivalent to a racial slur because it is not propped up by a system of racism against white people,” Arcy said. “Categorizing the ‘Karen’ meme as a slur is misleading because it obscures the racial discrimination the meme was designed to call out.”

    The attempt to equate it anywhere near equivalent to a slur was always going to backfire. But what about the claims that it’s sexist because it particularly targets women?

    “As a woman, I don’t really find it sexist, because it’s not aimed at all women,” said Twitter user Tara Darcy. “I know I don’t act like that so it doesn’t offend me. In my opinion, if you’re offended it’s probably because you act like that.”

    Arcy also added, “its purpose is not to oppress white women, but to identify the way they oppress others

    Pay particular attention to that last sentence.

    And then ask yourself why you think this stereotype is harmful and to whom.

    Once again, I don't even understand what you are talking about now.

    And frankly, if anyone whines about any meme about skinheads and considers it an attack on skinheads, then yeah, you would be defending them against what you perceive to be an attack.

    Something something about being anally literal applies here.

    If something or a meme exists to mock skinheads, truck on in my opinion.

    Anything that diminishes bigots and their ideology is a good thing.

    An attack against whom?

    As I said, if PoC's want to mock Karen for her bigotry, then you are in absolutely no position to tell them it doesn't help. Diminishing bigotry by mocking the bigot is a good thing as it is a way of lessening the impact on the victims and most importantly, diminishing the bigot.

    And if someone is privileged in that they feel they are entitled to whatever they want and they take their ire out on say service workers and demand to speak to the manager because they do not feel as though their privilege is being taken seriously enough by people they deem to be less than themselves, then they are bigots.

    When people act as though they are privileged or they believe they are privileged, then they will oppress others. They will consider others to be less than instead of equal.

    Do you understand what I am saying here?

    Or as Karen (her name) noted on twitter:

    #Karen is not a slur, it is a stereotype white women earned by raising monsters, voting for monsters, and behaving like monsters.

    Our behavior is so atrocious to everyone except us that our own children are making memes and videos mocking us

    White privilege is a driving force for Karen.

    And I don't think you quite understand just how white privilege is harmful Dave.

    This systemic and institutional control allows those of us who are white in North America to live in a social environment that protects and insulates us from race-based stress. We have organized society to reproduce and reinforce our racial interests and perspectives. Further, we are centered in all matters deemed normal, universal, benign, neutral and good. Thus, we move through a wholly racialized world with an unracialized identity (e.g. white people can represent all of humanity, people of color can only represent their racial selves). Challenges to this identity become highly stressful and even intolerable.

    The following are examples of the kinds of challenges that trigger racial stress for white people:

    • Suggesting that a white person’s viewpoint comes from a racialized frame of reference (challenge to objectivity);
    • People of color talking directly about their own racial perspectives (challenge to white taboos on talking openly about race);
    • People of color choosing not to protect the racial feelings of white people in regards to race (challenge to white racial expectations and need/entitlement to racial comfort);
    • People of color not being willing to tell their stories or answer questions about their racial experiences (challenge to the expectation that people of color will serve us);
    • A fellow white not providing agreement with one’s racial perspective (challenge to white solidarity);
    • Receiving feedback that one’s behavior had a racist impact (challenge to white racial innocence);
    • Suggesting that group membership is significant (challenge to individualism);
    • An acknowledgment that access is unequal between racial groups (challenge to meritocracy);
    • Being presented with a person of color in a position of leadership (challenge to white authority);
    • Being presented with information about other racial groups through, for example, movies in which people of color drive the action but are not in stereotypical roles, or multicultural education (challenge to white centrality).

    Any of this seem familiar to you, Dave? You should read the article. It will hopefully enlighten you.

    Take a moment. Have a think about it.

    Afterwards, consider the Karen meme with that in mind.
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    You have yet to provide any actual other interpretation aside from one white feminist who is a known bigot, whose comments were then picked up by right wing trolls on twitter and here you are in its aftermath.

    I have provided you with input from white and black women and how they interpret and treat the Karen meme.

    And you still refuse to accept it.

    I mean, honestly, what exactly is the issue here?

    Who do you think "Karen" is harmful to?

    It is thought that it was first invented by a guy on reddit several years ago because of his ex-wife and the meme was born to describe privileged women and then picked up, and others say it was invented by black women and service workers..

    Why are you so hung up on its origins exactly? Are you upset that I am not crediting white people with inventing it?

    Okay, congratulations white people for inventing the Karen meme!

    And if it was invented by black women, then congratulations to them for inventing the Karen meme!

    Minorities use it a lot and if others also use it to describe white privilege women and white privileged bigots, and? I mean, what do you want me to say here? Stop calling out offensive behaviour? Or are you upset in the manner in which it's being called out? That it's not being taken seriously enough by diminishing these people by mocking their behaviour.. That's your opinion and you are free to wax the lyrical against bigoted behaviour because you don't think mocking it or the bigot is helpful.

    Frankly, I can think of a few choice terms for Karen's.

    Can we move on from this now?

    You're just upset that the Karen meme might be offensive or harmful or a slur to white women, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    And you are free to do so.

    If people deem it to be more effective to mock the crime and those who commit said "crime" with a label of "Karen" and diminish that person and what they are doing so that Karen is nothing but a joke, then so be it.

    Because bigotry, racism and white privilege deserves to be mocked to hell and back. It deserves to be diminished to the point where people feel ashamed for such behaviour because it turns them into a joke, a caricature of repulsiveness.

    I never said you should not interpret it as you saw fit.

    I gave you different in put and opinion to what you had espoused after you asked for different input because as you advised, you didn't really know much about it.

    You want to have a whine about "Karen" as a meme, knock yourself out. Don't expect me to take you seriously when you deliberately seek me out for my take and opinion on this..

    As I said, the only people responding as you are about Karen are Karen's themselves.. You know, the ones who report to the manager and try to get their own way or things shut down, because things aren't going as they think it should or as they want it to go.

    Knock yourself out.

    But you are still to show how Karen is harmful and to whom exactly. Thus far, you have alluded to white women.. Despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Do you have links to support your claims that Karen as a stereotype is harmful?

    I mean, have you done your research as you asked others to do their research before posting in this thread?

    Karen is very much a person who behaves a certain way.

    And who became a meme..

    You keep saying it is a slur. So you don't think a slur is offensive and you aren't offended by the "slur"?

    And you have been provided with several.

    You are the only one wringing your hands "about the meaning of Karen".

    To again point out the obvious, you deliberately sought me out for my perspective.

    I gave you my perspective and you said that was what you wanted. You just did not approve or agree with it because it does not fit into the stereotype that you have.. Ironic, no?

    This thread is not about me, Dave. And I never said it was. So calm your farm.

    If you don't want my opinion or perspective, do not deliberately seek it out.

    You do seem to have this particular ideal or stereotype of how people should be responding to your issues or opinions. You sought me out for my opinion and perspective specifically because you had stereotyped me as a particular type of woman.

    When I failed to adhere to how you expected me to respond or behave in (as you reminded me) your discussion/thread, you reported me to management.. I mean, I am still laughing at that one.


    All I can say about that last sentence Dave is practice what you preach.

    There is no evidence that Karen is harmful. Until you are able to provide said evidence, then you are the one screaming into the turning windmill..
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I don't follow this last bit. All Dave was pointing out, surely, is that unpleasant misunderstandings can arise if one person interprets the Karen label in the original sense of obnoxious entitlement, while the other interprets it in the racially charged way in which some people are now using it. I can't see what is controversial about that observation.
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
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  7. zgmc Registered Senior Member

    I’ve been trying to get “Darrell” to gain traction as the male equivalent.
  8. Bells Staff Member

    Dave has been arguing that it is a slur and a stereotype that maligns white women and that it is no longer used to describe the traditional "Karen" - the privileged Karen that is - and is now being applied to white women too broadly and he deems it an attack on white women and as such, is harmful. I asked him to provide evidence that the meme is harmful to white women.

    That is what I was responding to.
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    That is not what is being argued in the passage in question, so far as I can see. It is one thing to have a mocking term for an "entitled" person. When it gets turned, by some people, into a term denoting racism, that is very different and not so much a joke, in most circles I know. So a misunderstanding is possible that could be quite nasty. It seems to me that is all that is being pointed out.
  10. Bells Staff Member

    He advised there were or are a myriad of interpretations for "Karen". As I advised and pointed out, the only one he has been pushing or addressing is the one interpretation from feminist who deemed it a slur.

    I provided him with numerous links discussing Karen, all of which addressed its usage in current context and social media. I also queried why he was only portraying "Karen" as a slur, and thus, Karen becomes a victim of a slur or "attack" instead of as a perpetrator of bigoted behaviour because of her white privilege. He has advised that the meme is racist as it is targeted to white women - while ignoring that the meme is a response to Karen's bigoted and often racist behaviour.

    I asked him to provide proof of his claims about Karen and to support his argument. Which is what I was addressing with Dave.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    wegs and Exchemist are correct. The ambiguity in the Karen meme can - and certainly is - resulting in harm - right here in this thread. And this is just a microcosm.

    I am not concerned about the target - Karen - I am concerned about the harm of widespread, inaccurate mean-spirited memes upon society.

    They harm everyone.
    It's harming me, because I'm being accused of all sorts of terrible things.
    It's harming Bells because she is feeling attacked by what she sees as white privileged males telling her what she can and can't do.
    Neither of those is very accurate.

    So, my conclusion - I should say, my take in it - and taking into account everything everyone has said - certainly including Bells - is that this meme is poorly-defined and thus does more harm than good.

    If someone is witnessed as being racist call them out as racist. If someone is witnessed as acting privileged, call them out as privileged.
    But using a broad brush to call out any obnoxious behaviour - seen second-or twelfth-hand on the internet - and apply a poorly-defined, easily misused stereotype is, in the grand scheme, bad.

    Q: Is the Karen meme apt/warranted/justified?
    A: Sometimes yes. Sometimes not so much.
    And therein lies the problem with stereotypes.
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Let me draw another loose analogy:

    Lots of chatter on the innertoobs about obnoxious parkers:

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    Some call it "Princess Parking".

    Here's the thing: who can tell me for certain that this Volvo had a choice about how he parked?

    For all we know, it's the last spot in the lot, and the car that was parked in the left spot earlier was parked obnoxiously, and this Volvo couldn't fit in his spot. That kind of sucks, but he's not being deliberately obnoxious - he's making the best hand he can of what he's been dealt.

    So, this 'princess parking' slur - calling this guy obnoxious - can be unwarranted. We don't know.

    Here's the my point: The Volvo is not being attacked when someone posted this pic online. I am not concerned about harm coming to Mr. Volvo here. I don't eschew this meme out of any concern for Mr. Volvo being any kind of victim of an attack.

    What concerns me is how easily people find it to accuse others of terrible behavior - even when it is circumstantial and bereft of context. This gleeful disgust of other people in-general is harmful to us as a society. And it's cumulative. All these memes tell us other people are horrible. And they encourage us to pass judgement in an absence of relevant contextual facts.

    The Karen meme is similarly used (often, though not always) based on circumstantial appearance and bereft of context. I'm not concerned about harm to "Karen"; I'm concerned about harm to our communities - how willing we are to judge each other without waiting for justification. How quick we are to assume a woman - who may feel she is simply standing up for her rights - is labelled 'privileged' and 'racist' ... because we saw a pic of her online.
  13. zgmc Registered Senior Member

    Stop it Darrell.
  14. Bells Staff Member

    I thought it was meant to be Ian or Richard..?
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    "Wha'd you just call me?"
    "Er ... Bigfoot?"
    "My name's Darrell."

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  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Better a Darrell than a Rupert I suppose (British Army slang for an upper middle class officer with no common sense).

    Which reminds me of another stereotype:

    I've never forgotten the names Nigel Incubator-Jones and Gervase Brooke-Hamster.

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    Fr some reason, nobody troubles themselves much about whether this sort of stereotype may be damaging.......
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    If it happens that someone says, "Hey, have you heard about this?" that is what it is. But there is also a saying, that, it's all in how you say it.

    If someone was just exploring complicated questions of race and ethnicity in society but managed, for all his hemming and hawing and saying he didn't want to bias the discussion with his own input, to present a classic fallacious inquiry, who wouldn't notice? If someone's take on racism is to wonder why white people can't say a word when black people can, or outlook on misogyny is that a man gets to decide what a woman thinks, who wouldn't notice?

    It stands out that your poll skips over a particular range; between "mostly harmless" and "harmful, but not surprising in a cynical world", is a more functionally applicable answer. First, though: Mostly harmless kind of works, but one thing this manner of juxtaposition—(Karen/redneck)—historically fails to account for is the manner of behavior. This is actually a longtime, well-known sleight in supremacist rhetoric, to focus not on the behavior, but the internalized reaction to individual perception. It really is as simple as however complex your decision to call out a lie, to the one, versus a liar's pretense of hurt feelings so they call you an asshole because they think it will sting, and, hey, fair is fair, right, to the other.

    There are many such false juxtapositions; people fall for them because they are emotionally gratifying. Remember, this question of function versus sentiment includes however many people who still, these years later, cannot figure out the difference when complaining that their equality is violated because they are refused the supremacy to disqualify another person from equality. And, yes, stripped down to its bare function—「Is equality violated by the obligation to be equal?」—it sounds ridiculous. But I've also over a quarter-century of watching people wreck themselves on the rocks over this; it's actually part of the reason we Americans exhibit such dangerous political convulsions, right now.

    There are ways I can sympathize with "Karen", but it's unlikely she would appreciate the historical narrative that goes into it.

    And something about cynicism goes here: Sometimes the prevailing market influence can be seen complaining of its own result, and while we have our own context, here, in our moment, it does kind of look like how you're framing the question. Cynicism, sure, but this is market demand. Here's one from my lifetime: Women, even in the U.S., still faced particular barriers, and part of the advice they were given by patriarchal family values was to marry well. Naturally, the men at the bar complaining about the inadequacy of their wives could also be known to say a thing or three about golddiggers, along the way, and that's the thing—these values produced that result, so, why are they complaining. American political Christianism, for instance, and its long voting alliance with economic conservatism: The people complaining, during my youth, about unmarried cohabitation were also the ones voting for union-busting, trickle-down, and other denigrations of worker purchasing power, increasing the need for shared residence according to expense, resulting, according to diverse applicable behavioral ecomomics, in continual redefinition of heteroseuxal cohabitation expectations concomitant to increasing unmarried, intimate, heterosexual cohabitation.

    One of the reasons I'm willing to mulch the Karen stereotype is that I perceive a trivializing influence about it all. But this phenomenalized branding, as such, is a symptom, a perceived market necessity. I might say what I will about a manner of vernacular iteration, but if it is what trades in the marketplace, that is the reality I must accommodate.

    Profane nomenclature might be personally satisfying, and may well coincide with historically identifiable themes of colloquialism and thereby serve some measurable utility, but it does little to actually stanch the problem. To the other, there are times when identifying behavior according to the words that accurately describe it upsets people who behave that way. There is, in Sciforums history, an argument that it is a forbidden fallacy to identify a racist argument. And, really, maybe ten years ago it didn't seem obvious to some that describing migrant workers from Central America as an invading army of Mexicans might be a bad idea, but what was really offensive, apparently, was the idea that someone who would say such things about Latinx should have to think about the possibility of being wrong. These days, when I make a point about, what they voted for, I'm not joking; what you see taking place in the American Covid response, for instance, isn't really about white individuals, but it is about a range of ideas described as whiteness. A war of the sexes version crossed my twitfeed last week, but it is hard to gauge traction compared to the spectacle of a bunch of white, armed people storming government buildings and even physically assaulting police, and getting away with it.

    The question of whiteness is a grotesque result of a nasty mess of complicated factors, but one of the interesting things about the war of the sexes as contrast is that we can measure part of that result, and it's very much a masculinist, self-defeating effect. It's true, nobody is yet certain why men are dying in greater numbers than women, but the indicators are a variety of factors wherein chromosomal genetics of X and Y are not irrelevant, however, very much of what we're seeing in the higher mortality rate for men is also behaviorally linked. Meanwhile, where the question of women brunting greater impact arises is a result of tremendous concentration of female laborers in essential services, including medical and healthcare fields, and therein we find—also related to that question of what who voted for—a concept known as glass escalator. Another way to describe it might be iron ceiling, or some such, because it involves women securing a significant share in an employment sector because men don't want the jobs. In the war of the sexes, it's a self-inflicted wound.

    These aren't unimportant issues, in and of themselves; nor are they unrelated. But it is also nearly inevitable, according to the marketplace, that the debate arrived in my awareness according to an antifeminist complaint. That's how particular iterations of some issues tend to arise.

    We might turn back, for a moment, to basic juxtapositions: If you have ever encountered the argument that rejecting racism is the real racism, or variations on sexism, bigotry, supremacism, and hatred, then you already know what the problem is.

    As Bells↑ noted, the poll is premised on casting Karen as a victim: How bad is the Karen slur on a continuous scale ...?

    You could have asked how bad, or even simply, stupid, the Karen retort or caricature is. Or simply asked what people thought of it. And if you're worried about any pretense of right or wrong ways to say something, it's easy enough to simply leave it at the point that the formulation also describes the priorities.

    Your generalization of, slur, seems functionally problematic.

    Have you never met an Hispanic woman who loathes black people? I wonder how many people who say, "the Karen/Sally/Linda thing", know Linda is an Hispanic name.

    Still, where you landed was an historically familiar argument, that responses to racism are themselves racist. Meanwhile, back and forth↱ you offered, between the black-radical and exclusionary feminists, isn't the only thing ClaireShrugged had to say on the point of the Karen slur°; there was also her response to a controversial Twitter account°° a couple weeks later↱, which is a bit more specific:

    "The K-word is stronger than the n-word..." These claims that Karen is a slur have done nothing but open up space for anti-Black racism to be trivialised by white women.

    I think I'm going to go with the black radical feminist on this one. Karen is a slur according to a general definition of being insulting. As I said, the word is harmful like the sting of a snowball fight; as an insult, "Karen", is behaviorally oriented; questions of race wouldn't have anything to do with it if Karen leaves it out; there remains a question about how much attention we should give the hurt feelings of empowerment majorities, because it's all fun and games, or otherwise fine and dandy, until the empowerment majority is offended.

    Meanwhile, the question remains how we should address this behavior. Should we call her, "George"?


    ° per Bindel↱; see also Attiah (Washington Post)↱, qtd. in Bells, #21↑ above

    °° By comparison, conservative columnist Kurt Schlicter↱ responded to the same Karen-activist account even more bluntly:

    I have a different view. How about I say whatever the hell I want to whether you like it or not? How’s that, Karen?
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    What should we call this behavior, Dave? And, really, that's not a futile question. There is this: Compared to actually deadly colloquialism, like calling black men thugs—once upon a time a catch-all excuse for lynching black men, and, more recently, a post hoc justification in discourse about extraordinary police violence—what should we call Karen?

    Here's a problem I've found with the form you're presenting: Every once in a while, it is possible to formulate long strings of words to accurately describe people engaging a range of relevant and affecting behaviors; there are various reasons why doing so can be problematic within the scope of given particular discourse. But one of the reasons people need those long strings of words to describe certain groups is because of a phenomenon combining colloquialized elements of know-nothingism with self-inclusion from outside a label.

    We saw a lot of this in the Gay Fray, and I'm still waiting for explanations of how what one person said becomes all Christians, or whatever. I'm also waiting for explanations of a Christianist disdain for consent in sexual relations, but that's another question altogether. The complex distillation rendered simply: Over the years, some people never really grew out of it. That is, as the problem with the traditionalist outlook became more apparent, and struck ever closer to home, more and more people abandoned their internally-calculated hesitance to support gay rights. And at the end, when we won, there still remained those, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who were furious that homosexuals weren't more polite and respectfully and silently deferential to the people who would otherwise see them dead. Go ask black people about that deference. Go ask women°.

    But what we found, over the course of the Gay Fray, is there isn't really any parsing of terms that will satisfy those disdainful of accurate descriptions of their behavior. This isn't news, nor unique to homophobic Christianism. Bigots, homophobes, Christian supremacists, Bible-thumpers, usurpers; it's not quite like calling them Nazis, but the simple fact is that they were never pleased about the negative labels, and perpetually pretended confusion, to the point that we really do believe them, about the idea that they cannot discern the difference between oppressing and being oppressed.

    And in societies that have long used names as pejorative euphemism, honestly, "Karen" just isn't on par with why he's gotta be Jerome or Leroy or Muhammad↑.

    Moreover, as I said, "Karen", will be upset no matter what you call her, other than, "absolutely right, ma'am, and we're so sorry to be so unworthy!"

    How do we identify this behavior, when discussing it? There is much pretense of resenting words like racist, chauvinistic, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, supremacist, and, bigoted. Simply referring to certain people profanely, as assholes, or fuckwits, &c., brings what fleeting psychoemotional rewards we might find, but doesn't facilitate discourse°°.

    Honestly, if someone says, with particular contempt, something about "Becky", in the middle of a discussion about what is going on in my society, I'm not wondering if a friend from high school just turned up in the American rah― ... I mean, really. Or, wait, there was also the short, Asian-American one. But, yeah, c'mon, y'know what I mean? Neither am I wondering about Mark Twain°°°.

    But, yeah, sure, "Karen", as a classification in the political discourse, serves a particular discursive purpose. If there is a better way to go about addressing this range of behaviors, then, certainly, let us be about it.

    Meanwhile, I think of how many syllables I could put into it; "Karen", as a classification, identifies a range of behaviors according to circumstance, and if they coincide with a larger, more traditional and general stereotype about women°°°°, well, yes, actually, it's probably better to identify the behavior in its context compared to such a general, catch-all.

    Still, the question remains: What should we call this behavior, Dave?


    There are a couple other points we can consider, here, sort of a one-two:

    So, the second quote in there was directed to me, and if I passed it over, before, it wasn't the sort of thing we needed to take the time for, but, weirdly, the first, a response to Bells, brings it back to focus in the context of what I've been discussing.

    So, first, no, that's not what I meant. What I meant was that the Anne Frank tweet is a particular socmed iteration; the clusterdiddle it represents is a Twitter thing, as such. The messy backstory, and what the tweet actually means, has to do with why it is detached from what it purports to respond to.

    Still, though, Twitter produces certain outcomes; Instagram produces certain outcomes; Facebook produces certain outcomes; Pinterest produces certain outcomes. To the one, it is easy to manipulate what is trending on Twitter. Like a particular .gif that comes up at the top of any number of celebrity hashtags, in a general tweet about thinking someone was dead but then finding out they weren't. I really wish people would stop it, but that's the thing. Someone otherwise statistically insignificant said something stupid about Kim Kardashian, the other day; the botflood, and people just randomly going off like bad joke about Tourette's syndrome and Poe's Law set it to trending. And then someone otherwise statistically insignificant said, "Next thing you know, someone will say [_____]", and a half-hour later, that, too, was trending. Black Twitter, of course, was enraged, but this stupidity was injected into people's feeds because it's just that easy to produce certain outcomes on Twitter.

    And that's the thing about the McCarthy story; one of the reasons AntiFash puts quote marks around the word, "leftists", is that McCarthy himself is kind of a Poe's law case. His general role as a leftist is to run around like a rightist stereotype against leftists. This is part of a bit trying to pick a fight with a black guy who happens to be an idiot, in order, apparently, to discredit Hegelianism and Socialism, or something, but the other is such a tinfoil even the Socialists kicked him out. And you must go look for it in order to figure out that aspect of what he's doing; after all, his response, as such, is cut off from what it otherwise would seem to respond to. This achieves three things: He summons criticism that he can then pass off onto a pretense of Socialism, as such; he represents the left exceptionally poorly, in order to do so; he draws a lot of bot and provocateur attention to the Karen question.

    I hear much more about "Karen" because her defenders are complaining; that's part of the Twitter effect, and, really, it is not especially surprising in any number of unfortunate ways.

    While there might be less exposure than you assumed, your timing was off with that line. To the other, your approach vector, for just stumbling into it, as the tone of your topic post seems to suggest, is about as on mark as the timing is on cue.


    ° Go ahead and try pointing out that "Karen" is ostensibly a woman; just know what you're intending to say when you say it. Or, to reiterate and thus spare you the distraction: There are ways I can sympathize with "Karen", but it's unlikely she would appreciate the historical narrative that goes into it.

    °° There are two aspects, at least, to consider: Not only does calling groups of people at large, shittard, or, smegmapuff, or even simply asshat—(who remembers that one?)—only further inflame the supremacists and bigots, such terms don't say much about the behavior being criticized: Shartgardens are as shartgardens will, but what makes any particular shartgarden a shartgarden? To the other, when I met my daughter's blank look, last night, by saying, "Oh, uh … terf & swerf," that was pretty much all she needed to understand the unfunny joke about what passes for feminism; she just didn't know the particular name. To the other, we can rest assured Bindel wouldn't appreciate the description.

    °°° And if it actually turns out to be some relevant savaging of Becky Thatcher, then, hey, this I gotta hear, and it better be either spectacular or sublime; no phoning it in.

    °°°° Manipulative, vindictive, petty, nitpicking—i.e., bitchy.​

    @bindelj. "Does anyone else think the 'Karen' slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?". Twitter. 5 April 2020. Twitter.com. 10 May 2020. https://bit.ly/3bg2wuD

    @ClaireShrugged. "My understanding is that the Karen/Sally/Linda thing was started by Black women as a way to address racialised dynamics in the workplace - whether Karen is the racist manager or the middle class customer with nothing better to do than belittle people on minimum wage." Twitter. 5 April 2020. Twitter.com. 10 May 2020. https://bit.ly/2WIHhfR

    —————. "'The K-word is stronger than the n-word...' These claims that Karen is a slur have done nothing but open up space for anti-Black racism to be trivialised by white women." Twitter. 20 April 2020. Twitter.com. 10 May 2020. https://bit.ly/35KfYWt

    Attiah, Karen. "The 'Karen' memes and jokes aren't sexist or racist. Let a Karen explain." The Washington Post. 28 April 2020. WashingtonPost.com. 10 May 2020. https://wapo.st/3fALn2e
  19. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    in my opinion to anyone who says that is there is but one response. are you a field karen or a house karen?
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    Every once in a while, Twitter just lines it up nicely. It's an accident of circumstance; Robespierre Garçon is responding to the first of Censored Patriot's tweets.

    Censored Patriot (@PrettyBadLefty): “Karen is a Slur” is the kind of opinion that can only exist in a society that has had its understanding of systemic oppression replaced with the personal narratives of the most well off members of any particular marginalized group

    ― If there is no appreciation of the context and implications of falling into whatever group a particular slur refers to, then yeah, it is just an insulting word that describes any group of people.

    Robespierre Garçon (@AyCeeAyBee): A lot of white people think racism is only bad because it hurts black people's feelings, and therefore if something hurts their feelings by analogy it must also be racism

    Jason Krishnan (@overlayered): Well put.​
    I've been reading the three substantial tweets over and over again, and have no idea where to start. Still, Robespierre Garçon's point is devastating. To be certain, it's not just white supremacism; we even have our own versions of the equivalence at Sciforums.

    But more and more I'm thinking, of those first two tweets, about a white supremacist school principal whose solution to racism was that minority kids needed to try harder to fit in, and he would give them a pep talk about how a 6'10" white guy did just that. Yes, that really happened.
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    #karen | #wrafbeba

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    Novelist Joyce Carol Oates↱ responds to Karenization:

    (I don't even know any Karens but I think this demonizing of "Karen" is unfortunate. why not an impersonal term like WhiteRacistFemaleBehavingBadly.)
  22. geordief Valued Senior Member

  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Yes! A classic use of the term, in BOTH senses at once!

    I'm glad to see this has come to bite her in the arse. She's been suspended from her job, has had to give up the dog and her name and picture are all over the internet.

    How atrocious that the weapon she instinctively reached for, in this situation, was the threat that the cops would also be racist enough to give this guy a hard time, just on her say-so!

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