Officious Intermeddler: Karen Phenomenon

Today, the name “Karen” represents a faction of the population, made up of white women specifically, that is threatened by the prospect of losing its place atop a toxic, racial hierarchy rooted in the original sin of slavery.  The “Karen” holds an ugly place in history – particularly since the 2017 confession by Carolyn Bryant as an instigator of the murder of Emmett Till. As part of our 1619 Project series, we thought it would be interesting to explore the phenomenon’s history, and its recent manifestation in popular culture as a means to better understand that history. (With apologies to our readers who happen to be named “Karen.”)


They Were Her Property Prof. Jones-Roger’s lecture on her book of the same name.
In They Were Her Property, Jones-Roger writes that women typically inherited more slaves than land, and that enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth.

#NotAllKarens: The Weaponization of White-womeness Against People of Color
Ellipsis Institute’s lunchtime conversation about the current movement for Black lives, popular culture has donned these white women with the title of “Karen” in an attempt to acknowledge the role white women like Bryant play as an accomplice to state sanctioned violence.

Urgency of Intersectionality
Now more than ever, it’s important to look boldly at the reality of race and gender bias — and understand how the two can combine to create even more harm. Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term “intersectionality” to describe this phenomenon.


Code Switch: What’s in a “Karen?”
These Karens did not spring full-grown from the ether. Instead, they are the latest link in an evolutionary chain of white women that goes back at least a couple of centuries.

Slate’s DECODER Rise of The Karen.
How “Karen” being code word for racist white women.



Feminism: Reinventing the F-Word (EBOOK)
by Nadia Abushanab Higgins

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot (EBOOK)
by Mikki Kendall

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday
by Angela Y. Davis

by Patricia Hill Collins

Reclaiming our space : how Black feminists are changing the world from the tweets to the streets
by Feminista Jones

Intersection allies : we make room for all
by Chelsea Johnson

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