Karens, Among Other Things

Spiritual Smart Aleck

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Recently those of us who use social media have been treated to an onslaught of videos of mostly middle-aged white women being ridiculously racist, and the name “Karen” has been applied to these women.

Now we have people who refuse to wear masks or do social distancing, people who insist that the Constitution states, “You ain’t the boss of me.” They are showing up in videos and the women are being called Karens as well.

A friend of mine whose name is Karen is feeling a little put out by all the Karen-shaming, and I do not blame her.

It’s too late, I know. This labeling racist or otherwise obnoxious white women in videos “Karen” has blown up and spread through our culture. Yesterday I found out there is an Instagram site called “crazykarens.” As soon as you say it’s a Karen story people know what you mean. This stinks for people named Karen.

It is better to use the offenders’ real names.

Early in July a white woman ran into an Asian family – mom, dad, and two daughters, plus their dog Fluffy, an 11-pound Maltipoo on a leash – hiking in the woods in Marin County, California.

The white woman blocked the trail and told the family that they were breaking the law by having their dog in the park (not true. Dogs on leash were legal). Then she told the family that they “couldn’t be in this country,” and they needed to “go back where they came from.”
The mother of the family told the white woman that she should check her own heritage and go back to wherever she came from.

If this Asian family went back where they came from that day, it was probably Mill Valley or San Rafael, at a guess.

The father of the family filmed the incident.

When white lady demanded to know the family’s name, he told her that was none of her business, then turned the tables and asked her what her name was.

By this time, her bandana had fallen, exposing her face, and she realized she was being filmed. She must have lost her presence of mind then because she walked away from the scene, muttering that her name was, “Beth.”

The father posted the video on YouTube, titling it, “Park Ranger Karen Tells Asian Family They’re Breaking Laws & Don’t Belong in America! (California)”

The video went viral. She was neither a Park Ranger nor a Karen. Beth was quickly identified – her name and where she worked. Within a couple of days her employers announced that after they reviewed the video, Beth turned in her resignation, and that they did not tolerate racism in any form.

I was sorry that the video title besmirched the name Karen, not to mention Park Rangers. Outing Beth’s real name led to real consequences for her.

Real names are better than Karen.

Then there was the video of a woman throwing boxes of shoes at a salesclerk. She was mad because it was store policy not to serve anyone who was not wearing a mask. This woman was so upset that she walked out leaving her wallet on the counter, making it easy for the police to round her up and charge her with assault.

Again, real names are better than Karen.

Commenters on that video were unanimous in calling her a Karen and criticizing her actions. Some went farther and ridiculed her for being fat.

“Hey,” I thought, “wait a minute.”

Shoebox Woman was a violent jerk, yes, but it was her behavior, not her body shape, that was the issue. Come on, people. It’s racism and pigheadedness that we are fighting, not body shape or other physical attributes or lack of them.

Fat shaming is alive and well, a socially acceptable prejudice. More than once someone has dismissed me on sight because I am fat. Fat hating doctors are the worst. We fat women have plenty to say about those jerks, and I hope their ears are burning when we say it.
So. Those of us who are named Karen, or who are fat, are tired of the ridicule of “karens” and fat people.

Real Karens, be patient. This trend will go the way of disco and elephant jokes.

Those of you who think you need to lose some weight and feel ashamed of your body? You know, some of us have lost and regained more than your entire body weight over a lifetime of trying to be “thin enough.” It is a fool’s game, and a big moneymaking business in America.
To quote Mr. Rogers, “I like you just the way you are.”

I did lose some weight without dieting this last fall and winter. My secret? I had cancer. Not a weight loss program I recommend.