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Black Woman Named Karen Expertly Explains Why Saying 'Karen' Isn't A Sexist Or Racist Slur

richyrichimages/Getty Images; @KarenAttiah/Twitter

The name "Karen" has taken on a new definition in recent years.

Rather than being a dutch derivative of the name "Katherine," this version of the name "Karen" is used to refer to insufferable White women, mostly with a short haircut and ombrΓ© dye job, who demand to speak to your manager. Or go off on racist rants or call the police on POC just living their lives.

Understandably, middle-aged white women have taken umbrage to the use of "Karen" to describe them, and have even gone as far to deem it a slur. But one woman whose name is ACTUALLY Karen is having none of it.

A Twitter user named Sarah Haider published a thread about why she believes "Karen" to be a term of abuse:


She continued on to say that she believed "Karen" was a nicer way of saying the word "c*nt" although offered nothing to back that claim up.

Haider then claimed people who are the subject of vitriol and hatred on the part of people labeled "Karen" were seeking out "witches" because people enjoy being attacked with racist rants while they're birdwatching, exercising or getting snacks in a convenience store so much that they seek out that experience.

But a Black woman named Karen Attiah had a simple answer for Haider.

Attiah, a writer with The Washington Post, proceeded to show the internet the real impact of a slur and a term of abuse.


Attiah wrote about why the name "Karen" became a meme and broke down exactly what the use of the name means.

"As a millennial Black Karen, and a child of immigrants, I find the brouhaha hilarious and twisted. 'Karen' is not and will never be an oppressive slur. Anyone who disagrees can take it up with my manag … β€” I mean, with history."
"In America, White women are often believed and protected at all costs, even at the expense of Black lives. In 1955, it was a White woman who falsely accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of whistling at her in Mississippi, which led to him being brutally beaten and killed."
"Fast-forward to recent years and we still learn about Black people being arrested or assaulted because a White woman called the police unnecessarily. Becky and Karen memes and jokes should be understood in this context, part of a long tradition to use humor to try to cope with the realities of White privilege and anti-Blackness."

Some people in the comments still didn't understand or just completely ignored Attiah's message...

...but were quickly corrected by others.



Attiah also pointed out "Dehumanizing slurs don't gain their cruel power overnight." The slurs we know to be slurs in everyday life become such because they are used in conjunction with brutal and de-humanizing acts of violence or oppression and are part of the fabric of a history that normalizes that oppression and cruelty.

"Calling the Karen meme the new n-word or asserting that it is a sexist slur only trivializes actual violence and discrimination that destroy lives and communities."
"And to invent oppression when none is happening to you? Well, as a Karen, I just have to say β€” that is peak Karen behavior."

There were plenty of people who concurred with Attiah.





"Karen" has been showing up more frequently in videos of White women who commit racist macro- and micro-aggressions and are caught on video.


For those people also saying "Karen" is equivalent to the "n-word for White women" it's pretty telling when you can say the name "Karen" but not the other word. Almost like they're not the same thing at all.

As Attiah said, these claims are peak "Karen."