It’s pretty well known that Karens are white women, and as Ligaya Mishan writes in the New York Times Magazine, we’re discovering more Karens as people film everything with their phones. What we hadn’t considered, though, is that every white woman could be a Karen. Mishan traces the history of Karens back to Emmett Till and even further back to the antebellum South, where Karens on the plantation were known as “Miss Ann.”

Mishan writes:

Likewise, today’s Karen contains multitudes. Her bias isn’t necessarily overt; she may believe she doesn’t have any. She’s the liberal white girlfriend perfectly at ease dissing the cop who asks her Black boyfriend for I.D., counting on her whiteness to prevent violence, and simultaneously a psychopath who sees Black people as mere vehicles for white self-actualization, as in Jordan Peele’s 2017 film, “Get Out.” She’s bipartisan, at once the conservative TV show host Megyn Kelly, waxing nostalgic in 2018 for a time when blackface was “OK,” and the progressive senator Elizabeth Warren, who, as a law professor in the 1980s and 1990s, identified herself as Native American (and was accorded minority status) based solely on family folklore about a distant ancestor at least six generations removed.

Widen the lens and any white woman — every white woman — could be a Karen, if she’s perceived as taking for granted the advantages bestowed by her skin color and ignoring the labor and suffering of others.

So don’t be a Karen, OK?

We’d say that, going by Ibram X. Kendi’s thesis that there’s no such thing as “not racist,” there is probably no white woman who’s not a Karen, despite what they claim. In fact, denying that you’re a Karen is probably a sign that you are indeed a Karen.

But it had to be said.

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