What is old is new again:
Modern-day “Karen’s” are direct descendants of Carolyn Bryant Donham. Carolyn Bryant Donham is the white woman who admittedly lied on 14-year-old Chicago born Emmett Till in the summer of 1955.
Carolyn weaponized her whiteness, which resulted in the murder of Emmett Till. The killing of Emmett Till shocked the nation when his mother, Mamie Till Bradley, gave her only son a public open-casket funeral. In doing so, she allowed the world to see what happened to her child for committing the simple crime of being black in America.
“I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby.”- Mamie Till Bradley
When this happened, The Chicago Defender urged its readers to react to the acquittal of the men placed on trial for his murder by voting in large numbers. 65-years later and the Chicago defender is once again forced to address the same issue of Caucasian women using their privilege to harm people of color. In 2020, these privileged women have become collectively known as “Karen.”
The New York Post describes “Karen” as middle-aged white women who will make a big fuss and is not-so-blissfully ignorant. While the origins of “Karen” are up for debate, it is clear that people listen when they make a fuss. The people who are often listening are the police.
Let us break down the most recent “Karen” of note Amy Cooper:
Amy was walking her dog unleashed in Central Park when another park-goer asked her to leash her pet. Offended Ms. Copper tells him she is going to call the police on the African American Man. While dialing says, “I’m going to tell them an African-American man is threatening my life.” She then repeats the statement to the 911 operator with fake terror in her voice.
Luckily, Ms. Copper’s dog became agitated because of how Cooper was handling him. This made her leash the dog. All this took place while Christian Cooper (no relation to Amy Cooper), the African American park-goer, was recording the incident on his cell phone.
Mr. Cooper’s sister took to social media and exposed how “Central Park Karen” interacted with her brother. Social media was swift in dealing with Amy Cooper. Within hours her dog was taken by the rescue group, she had adopted him from, and she lost her job as head of insurance portfolio management at Franklin Templeton. Ms. Cooper took to the airwaves for the “Karen Apology Tour,” stating that she was not a racist and that her life is being destroyed.
Her statement came less than 24-hours before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police began making its rounds on social media.
“Upon arrival, police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute,” said Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell, a police spokesperson. No summons was issued, and there was no arrest made. Despite Ms. Cooper having an unleashed dog, which is required in that area of the park, or Ms. Cooper calling 911 and making a false report.
Living in a constant state of trauma
History has given America countless names of black men who have lost their lives due to false accusations made to the police. Without video evidence, many black people still find themselves with their lives in danger behind this “racial hoax.” We have seen these women use 911 as if it is their personal customer service line.
We have not reached the halfway mark of 2020, yet we have found the black community facing a global pandemic that is disproportionately killing our population. Health care shortages, job losses, and the pressures of other’s privilege trying to have dominion of our lives.
LaToya Wright is a lifestyle writer in Chicago. Find her on social media at @thefatgirloffashion.