Could there be a white woman out

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Robin Queen does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. There was no confusion about what this meant: It was a label for a white woman who had used her privilege to threaten and try to intimidate a black man by calling the police.

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And then there was the mom who was called a Karen for telling a woman wearing a bikini to cover up. Countless other variations have emerged. At first glance, a generic name becoming infused with so much meaning seems patently absurd. So how, exactly, does a name like Karen become such a powerful form of social commentary? And how does it come to mean so many different things at the same time? First names tend to contain a range of social cues.

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An obvious one is gender. But they can convey other kinds of information too, including age, ethnicity, religion, social class and geography.

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The first name Karen peaked in popularity inwhich means that inmost people named Karen are middle aged. But what about the way it evolved to mean much more than simply a first name relatively common among middle-aged white women? On the one hand, meaning can directly reference something in the world.

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A kitchen is, well, a kitchen. For this reason, we often assume that meanings are fixed and stable. But meaning can also be more indirect, indicating characteristics like where a person is from, their age or their ethnicity.

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This is how the use and understandings of words change and shift over time. By tracing the origins of Karen up until the Central Park incident, you can see how two separate thre of meaning converged to make Karen the label for an officious, entitled, white woman. These individuals got labeled with hashtags like bbqbecky, permitpatti, golfcartgail and cornerstonecaroline. The goal was to call out the inherent racism and white privilege of these women using a particular kind of alliterative flair.

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This was the same sort of behavior that Amy Cooper engaged in when she called the police claiming to be threatened. The second thread emerges from stand-up comedy and Reddit.

Racist Karen Rejects Customer With Black American Express Card. He Gets The Last Laugh.

Then, in lateKaren appeared on Reddit as a parody of a Reddit user who had ranted about his ex-wife named Karen who received custody of their children and possession of the family home. The Central Park incident created the perfect moment for these two strands to come together.

In fact, the meaning and use of Karen continues to shift. We can find male Karens and black Karens. Donald Trump has even been called a Karen. So is Karen fundamentally about white women using their racial privilege as a weapon? Is it about being an obnoxious rule follower? Or is it about being a no-fun, hysterical mom? Karen can be and is all of those. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Watch out, Karen coming through. Robin QueenUniversity of Michigan.

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