Clearly, “Karen” has become so much of a problem that legislators are attempting to address racial profiling white women in more concrete ways. But questions arise as to whether certain policies are the right approach to tampering down the tantrums of a police-happy Karen.
According to Forbes, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the “CAREN Act,” or the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, which would impose fines on anybody who makes false and racially discriminatory emergency reports in San Francisco.
Making a false report is already a crime, but the bill would go further and amend the San Francisco Police Code to make it unlawful for a person to fabricate a report based on someone’s ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, gender or sexual orientation. Under this legislation, the person who was subject to the call would be allowed to seek civil remedy through the courts, Natalie Gee, Walton’s chief of staff, explained.
The bill comes as several “Karen” incidents went viral in San Francisco. The most recent example was when a white couple called the neighborhood police watch on a Filipino-American neighbor for writing “Black Lives Matter” in chalk in front of his house while demanding to know if he was a resident there.
The CAREN Act is the latest in a number of nationwide legislative attempts to stop the Karens of the world. Just last month, California Assemblyman Rob Bonta introduced a bill that would make discriminatory 911 calls a hate crime in the state. Meanwhile, New York is debating statewide legislation that would make racially biased 911 calls a hate crime. Such a bill was introduced in 2018 by New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton.
Just this week, Amy Cooper — who called the cops on a Black man in Central Park after he asked her to keep her dog on a lease — was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, which is punishable with up to a year in jail. However, Cooper’s charges, which were announced on Monday, don’t take into account any racial bias.
Some Black leaders have concerns about involving the criminal justice system in Karen incidents. Following worldwide protests over police and state violence against Black people, the push has become stronger to divest from punitive forms of punishment such as jails and prisons. Even Karens are being reassessed as to what would be the best solution to address racist white women without involving the tools that they often use against Black people.
“I have no sympathy for Amy Cooper, but I do want us to wrestle with what it means for us to continue to seek justice through courts, police, and prisons,” wrote professor and activist Marc Lamont Hill in a Monday tweet. “In the current world, the vulnerable have few resources and little recourse when the powerful do harm. Calling for killer cops to be jailed, for example, is often the only available solution for ‘justice’ in the short-term. I understand this dilemma, even as I struggle with it.”
Hill ended by saying:
“But to ultimately produce an abolitionist future, we have to begin to produce alternative possibilities. We have to resist the urge for retributive approaches. We won’t have all the answers immediately, but we have to keep doing that work. Especially when it is difficult. We also have to consider that these retributive approaches will not largely impact the powerful. Who will be most likely criminalized if we intensify prosecutions for filing false police reports? Not the Amy Coopers of the world.”
Hill has a point about how criminalizing certain actions usually leads to Black people receiving the most surveillance. Criminalizing marijuana possession is just one example of how a law disproportionately impacts Black people as supposed to white people.
Although Black people might not be more likely to call the police in the same vain as a Karen, criminalizing such an act could cause white folks to claim racial bias if a Black person should ever need to call the cops on a white person, which would further funnel more Black people into the criminal justice system.
If the political goal is to divest from prisons and police altogether (e.g. defunding police or abolishing police), a policy criminalizing racially motivated calls would still give power to police and jails while also giving money to the state via fines. Where would this money go? Would it go to police departments that are still brutalizing Black people? Would it go to the courts who are still criminalizing Black people? Or would more appropriate action involve fines paid to the victim of the racially motivated 911 call?
These are all things to consider as the CAREN Act and its imitators start to gain traction across the country.
'Karens' Gone Wild: Videos Show Privileged White Women Won't Stop Trying To Police People
1. Courtside Karen
1 of 26
PRAY FOR LEBRON pic.twitter.com/Z8oAhl2kqf— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 2, 2021
2. Arlo SoHo Karen
2 of 26
Wow! This woman made baseless claims against @keyonharrold and his 14yo son at @arlohotels Arlo SoHo — then assaulted them, scratching Keyon & tackling his boy. Worse, the hotel manager defended & empowered her actions, and refused to apologize after her claims were proven wrong! pic.twitter.com/LqHboiAEd6— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 27, 2020
3. Trader Joe's 'Karen'
3 of 26
This is a Trader Joe’s today. In Los Angeles. Cases are through the roof in California. Is there any way to reach these people?— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) June 27, 2020
4. 'Karen' the angry neighbor
4 of 26
hey guys!! this is my new neighbor!! pic.twitter.com/yZxsQD1daS— bailey (@bailey3jenkins) June 27, 2020
5. ‘Karen’ Pulls Gun On Black Woman And Daughter After Chipotle Argument5 of 26
6. Nurse ‘Karen’ Fired
6 of 26
Caron Jones — that’s Caron with a “K” as in “Karen” 👩🏼⚕️ — also called the Black Lives Matter movement a "ploy" for Black votes before the North Carolina nurse got fired for her racist social media posts.https://t.co/WQn68gNToF— NewsOne (@newsone) July 1, 2020
7. St. Louis 'Karen'7 of 26
8. ‘Karen’s Husband’ Investigated After Calling Cops On Black Men
8 of 26
9. Convenience Store ‘Karen’
9 of 26
It was the I’m the wrong nigga for me 😭 pic.twitter.com/2Rv33NNn2k— HEAVYY ON IT 🗣💕 (@HeavyyCampp) June 25, 2020
10. Nurse ‘Karen’ Loses Her Job For ‘Black Privilege’ Video10 of 26
11. Seattle ‘Karen’ Has A Total Meltdown After Black Driver Records Her ‘White Tears’
11 of 26
"I HAVE A BLACK HUSBAND!"— NewsOne (@newsone) June 23, 2020
A "Karen" in Seattle identified as Leah completely lost it when Karlos Dillard, a Black man, confronted and recorded her after he says he was the victim of her racist road rage.
The video has gone viral as Karening gets worse.https://t.co/X5ryYpQlhF
12. Officer ‘Karen’ Is Slammed For Crying White Tears Over McDonald’s Wait12 of 26
13. Kroger ‘Karen’ Blocks Black Mother From Pulling Out Of Parking Lot Over ‘Gatorade’13 of 26
14. San Francisco ‘Karen’ Who Called Cops Over ‘BLM’ Art
14 of 26
A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. “Karen” lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/rOpHvKVwgP— James Juanillo (@jaimetoons) June 12, 2020
15. Karen the "Shorewood Spitter"15 of 26
16. Karen's husband
16 of 26
17. Karen's other husband17 of 26
18 of 26
Question: I get we’re living in stressful times but why do we keep seeing so many white women abusing workers like this? pic.twitter.com/UKfWG631TX— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) May 18, 2020
19 of 26
Racism rots your brain pic.twitter.com/OuzPmyRN6d— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) May 17, 2020
20 of 26
On the next episode of “are white people ok? 👀”.... meet Red Lobster Karen 🦞 pic.twitter.com/ElgRipPyrU— Human Capital Stock. ✊🏽🦺🌈🧤🪑 (@angel_felixv) May 13, 2020
21.21 of 26
22 of 26
I can’t believe this is real. This lady went out to video shame everyone who dared to have fun in the sun at the beach and then she yelled at a Trader Joe’s worker over social distancing.— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 18, 2020
Karen needs to just stay home and leave the rest of us alone... 🙄🤦🏻♂️pic.twitter.com/QUeZkRSudW
23.23 of 26
24 of 26
K*ren: "Arrest me"— Scottie PIPM (@scottiepipm) April 23, 2020
K*ren: 😲 pic.twitter.com/5NJnPsSj8k
25 of 26
I’m baffled. Just saw this on the news. Woman who drove 1.5 hours to go to the beach with her family complains about other people at the beach who have done the same as her. Does she not see she’s part of the problem #StayAtHomeSaveLives #COVIDIDIOTS pic.twitter.com/iowllyZEk2— Colm McAfee (@mcafee77) May 17, 2020
26 of 26
Will It Work? CAREN Act Is Introduced As Viral ‘Karen’ Videos Surge was originally published on newsone.com