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Why does the media focus on Karen stories?

After all, these low-hanging fruit stories involving white people who chronically become allergic to minding their own business when Black or Latino people are in their immediate vicinity are ultimately anecdotal, aren’t they? Why should major media outlets even lower themselves to covering these videos showing petty confrontations with the most ridiculous white racists that people randomly come across? Why are these people even worth our airtime?

Well, for one thing, Karen stories can be entertaining. The white people we call Karens may get tired of being mocked in the media, but it’s not like they make it difficult for us. Karen jokes pretty much start writing themselves the second you hit play on whatever viral video is circling social media.

But, underneath it all, what many of us media commentators hope when we publish these stories is that one day, we will have compiled enough instances of recorded Karen activities to show that there’s nothing anecdotal about them. Ultimately, these aren’t “Karen stories,” they’re documentation of America’s traditional and persistent practice of racial profiling, and the only reason they’re perceived as petty grievances the media need not waste its time on is that white people don’t experience racial profiling and they don’t know the impact of it.

So, anyway, here are four more videos of Karens and Karen Kops to document.

First, a video posted last week on Reddit featuring the classic Karen: A non-cop asserting her non-authority over a Black resident and then being taken aback after said resident is unwilling to submit to the non-interrogation she’s only authorized to conduct in the non-reality she lives in.

“What are you, right now, sitting out here doing?” the woman can be heard asking the Black man holding the camera, who appears to be at his own residence.

“Minding my own business,” he appropriately responds.

“I don’t think you are minding your own business,” says the last person who should be purporting herself to be an expert in the field of own-business-minding. (But if we need a professional opinion on excessive manager calling, we know who to consult.)

The Black man asks Karen what she thinks he’s doing outside of sitting in front of his own home, to his she responds, “I’m not sure, but I’m going to find out.”

Seriously, is there a Law & Order: Special Karens Unit that we just don’t know about? Is there some kind of Karen Police Academy where white women are trained and deputized to scour their neighborhoods for melanated people who they’re “not sure” are doing anything thing wrong outside of suspiciously*checks notes*existing while being non-white?

Maybe that would explain this next Karen who thinks it’s her job to police drivers whose window tint she believes is too dark.

This video begins with a white woman walking up to a car to tell its occupants that they’re “people who look like drug dealers with tinted windows,” to which one of the drivers responds, “Oh, so you’re racist is what you’re saying.”

Karen also accused the Black driver and passenger of trying to run her over, which they denied, which prompted Karen to point out that their front tires were over the crosswalk line, which is obviously not an indication that the driver purposefully tried to run anyone over, and in any case, none of that has anything to do with tinted windows and/or imaginary drug dealers. It appears this Karen can’t decide if she’s a traffic cop or narcotics detective—and no one can seem to convince her that she’s neither.

Just like this next Karen isn’t an ICE agent, but she does feel she has the authority to demand a Latino worker’s “green card.”

In fact, not only is this racist Karen of the “build that wall” variety harassing a worker but she’s clearly seen on video rattling the ladder he’s standing at the top of. The woman whose slurred speech indicates that she is under the influence of more than MAGA-style racism can be heard repeatedly demanding to see the worker’s “green card” and accusing him of stealing “our jobs”—all while putting his life in danger by roughly handling the thing that’s keeping him from plummeting to the ground.

Who knows what jobs the Karen is worried about being stolen or from whom? Certainly, she’s not worried about anyone swiping her non-existent position as an honorary immigration cop for ICE. (Irrational Caucasian Eavesdropping.)

Of course, the biggest problem with Karens—the main reason Black and brown people record these altercations and the main reason Karening puts our lives in danger—is that Karens call the real cops who have real authority and will wield it with zero regard for Black people’s dignity or civil rights.

Here’s a video featuring a police officer who didn’t even appear to bother getting his story together before accusing Black women of shoplifting.

This video was reportedly taken at a Meijer’s department store where a Black woman and her family were confronted by two police officers, one of whom told the woman, “You guys are already on the radar as far as known shoplifters.”

“I don’t even live here. I live in Texas and I have never been to this Meijer’s,” the Black woman responded.

The cop demanded that she and her family leave the store if she wasn’t buying anything as if he had presented even a shred of evidence that they, in fact, weren’t there to make a purchase. But the Black shoppers weren’t having it and they demanded to know how they were on “the radar … as known shoplifters” at a store they had never been to.

“We literally just walked in,” another Black woman can be heard saying.

“I had just gotten a call on you,” the store’s manager said. “One of my employees [notice some suspicious activities].”

So, the first Black woman naturally demanded to know what she and her people had done to arouse suspicion—a perfectly reasonable inquiry, which made it all the more befuddling that the police officer kept demanding that she be quiet. The cop also pretty much abandoned his ridiculous “radar” nonsense for other ridiculous and nonsensical justifications for what clearly appeared to be racial profiling. 

“An employee called and said you guys were doing suspicious activities as far as looking, checking, looking, checking,” he said while Karen-cop-splaining that the act of*checks notes*—looking around while Black is enough for them to suspect criminal intent.

Eventually, the cop got frustrated by arguing without a leg to stand on and he walked away in a huff.

It could have ended worse. It often does. And that’s why these videos and stories matter. That’s why we’ll continue to report on them.


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