White women say calling them ‘Karen’ is a slur, Black Twitter sounds off

The hashtag #Karen became a Twitter trending topic on Sunday following an online debate on race and misogyny

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Is it a slur to call white women “Karen”? If you ask some white women on Twitter, the answer is yes.

The hashtag #Karen became a Twitter trending topic on Sunday, opening up an online debate on racism and white privilege.

The origin of the topic appeared to stem from a tweet from journalist Julie Bindel who wrote, “Does anyone else think the ‘Karen’ slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?”

READ MORE: White woman hurls racist slur and tries to force Black teen to ‘get on knees’ on the sidewalk

The Sunday morning tweet led to over 100,000 #Karen tweet responses, with Twitter users mostly falling along racial lines in debating the topic. 

Bindel wasn’t alone in her thinking, evidenced by countless white women on Twitter who endorsed her tweet.

“Yes – it’s sexist, classist and ageist, in that order,” concurred author Hadley Freeman.

User @DanaWefer took it a step further: “Yes, I think race might play a role as well.”

Black Twitter, however, couldn’t disagree more. Black women, in particular, took the “Karen” advocates to task for suggesting that they are victims of a term that came out of several news stories of white women calling the police on Black people doing normal and legal things.

“‘Karen’ was a term created *specifically by Black women* to talk about white women’s interpersonal + state violence against us and our communities: calling the police on us for getting coffee, threatening to have us fired, talking down to us at work (where we’re now “essential”),” tweeted Alicia Sanchez.

READ MORE: Bun B’s wife called n-word by white woman at Whataburger drive-thru

Twitter user @reallifeblkdoll wrote, “White people calling something a slur because it hurt their feelings, while simultaneously and systematically oppressing (knowing and unknowingly) people of color around them daily and weaponizing their privilege is peak Karen, Karen.”

“My understanding is that the Karen/Sally/Linda thing was started by Black women as a way to address racialised dynamics in the workplace – whether Karen is the racist manager or the middle class customer with nothing better to do than belittle people on minimum wage,” tweeted blogger Sister Outrider.

Bindel, whose original tweet sparked the debate, replied to the blogger tweeting, “It is certainly used by enough white men for it to be morphed into a misogynistic slur. Also, those names are classically working-class, and I do object to the classism within this narrative. The ageism too is a massive problem. I think countering racism with ageism is not great.”

But not all white women were down for the cause. Some denounced the suggestion that the name was some kind of slur, standing in solidarity with Black people who scoffed at Bindel’s tweets.

“#Karen is not a slur, it is a stereotype white women earned by raising monsters, voting for monsters, and behaving like monsters. Our behavior is so atrocious to everyone except us that our own children are making memes and videos mocking us,” tweeted @FleshmanKaren.

Rather than debating the issue, however, others simply opted for humor. Thousands of #Karen memes soon flooded timelines.

“In case you’ve been lucky and haven’t encountered a karen, here’s what they’re like,” user @vxxxdhxxx tweeted along with a TikTok video of a fictitious video game character named, you guessed it, Karen.

Some of the traits of “Karen” included “Drives a Honda odyssey,” “vegan” and “7,200 yelp reviews.”

Check out some other reactions below:

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