No, Karen Isn't a Slur

Quarantining has everyone a little on edge. We’re all spending way too much time both a) alone and b) online, and it’s getting to us. Some folks are making weird TikToks. Others are posting pictures of every single thing they cook and eat. And a select few are dropping takes so hot and stupid they simply can’t be ignored.

We can keep this short: no, Karen is not a slur. The name has become a term used to poke fun at white women in recent years, but it still doesn’t come close to qualifying. A slur is a word used to denigrate someone based on their race, ethnicity, or religion. Slurs aren’t just insults but tools of oppression designed to dehumanize people. This succinct explanation of what exactly “Karen” is puts that discussion to bed.

Calling a white woman Karen and facetiously saying she “wants to speak to the manager” isn’t oppressive or dehumanizing. Is it a little insulting? Yeah, maybe occasionally. But so is insinuating Karen is akin to actual oppressive language. In fact, doing so essentially proves the merit of its usage. Saying “Karen is a slur” is peak Karen behavior.

The take and subsequent discussion are dumb as hell, which made it absolutely perfect for Twitter. Within a few hours “Karens” was trending as people got their jokes off. Some were a little too easy. But hopefully they shame this take into extinction.

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