karenklipo / Flickr U S A...
karenklipo / Flickr

I am seeing a lot of talk about white fragility.  I have my own friends with the name as we have discussed.  But none of this is hard.  None of this is groundbreaking.  If you use a specific term to harass, embarass, undermine, or otherwise humiliate it is a slur.

Now as far as poster that this post inspired I do not know or dislike the person.  I just disagree with the person.

So the whole front page diary in question now is not whether or not the poster is correct about the negative use of the name Karen.  The question is is whether or not Daily Kos wants to get into the business of deciding what stereotypes and slurs are ok and which are not.

This all comes down to the society you want to live in.  Do you want to live in a world where we pick and choose which humans we dehumanize by turning their name into an invective?  Or, as I prefer, do you want to live in a world where human beings treat each other with respect and appreciate each other’s individuality?

The debate over Karens and Darrens either way does nothing to protect another young person or momma or kid holding a sandwich on his front porch from systemic racism.  But this is not about “white fragility” with me.  This is about my own ability to wage this battle in a manner that does not need me feeling like I need a shower.  This is about how I choose to approach the world.  

If you don’t want to do it that way, if you think using a name as an invective is ok, that is your choice.  But consider this-I grew up in Texas, and this is the Urban Dictionary I grew up with:

(n.) a common name used to mock/describe a Black woman from the inner city…this name would include all of the stereotypes: long fake braids, big butt, ghetto voice
Not ok.  
But why is it not ok aside from the, duh, obvious as described above?
Women with those names, and other unique monikers, were the subject of a documentary called “Searching for Shaniqua,” screened at Old Dominion University Thursday. The film addresses the reality that faces people with these uncommon names. The consensus from the interviewees: When a person hears the name “Shaniqua,” it is synonymous with being uneducated, unattractive and poor.
“I used Shaniqua as the anchor because it creates a response. It’s one those names that people have heard,” said Phill Branch, the film’s director and an English professor who has taught at Hampton University and Howard University. “We live in a time in which there are so many ways people are discriminated against so you have people not using their real names or being ashamed of who they are.”

So a name allowed to become a cultural stereotype does real harm.  

And women who are named Karen are having issues societally:

Also here-www.lamag.com/…

Karens can’t even get a date now.

Women who have 2020’s most unfortunate name are complaining — as so-called Karens stereotypically do — that they can’t even find suitors online now that their names have been dragged, according to a dating app.

Wingman, which helps hook up friends with friends, said users named Karen have reported getting few matches on the app this year than last, as reported by The Daily Mail. According to the survey, poor Karens are getting nearly a third fewer matches and fewer responses to messages in the dumpster fire year that is 2020. Wingman also said Karens reported less engagement while using the app, with a 45% drop in activity.

This is not as bad as losing a job or being drug out of a car and shot, of course not.  But consider the number of black Karens right now in desperate need of a job not getting callbacks-so in this case, being short-sighted is not only “upsetting white women” it is also negatively affecting the very women oppressed by society I wake up every day to try to help.

Moreover, it is beneath our dignity as a movement, as a people, to adopt tactics our opponents have embraced for the shallow catharsis of Twitter fame or meme satsifaction.

So now that we know it is a slur, the only question left to ask is “Are slurs in certain contexts ok, yes or no?”  That is it.  That is philosophical and your opinions may differ, or course, but to tell people who feel real hurt by invectives that their expressing of a feeling of victimization should result in their comments being hidden?

Well you tell me.  I rolled out of my doctor’s office specifically to respond to this because I do not believe our community should practice the concept of conditional decency.

Because I have found when decency becomes optional, 

it becomes rare.

-ROC

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