Hi! I’m Publisher here at Daily Kos.
Over the past year or so, we’ve had several comment sections blow up on stories about racial injustice. I wish I could say these comments remained focused on those injustices. I wish I could say the comments were full of outrage on behalf of the Black people experiencing oppression at the center of the story, or reflective discussions about ourselves, or what we’re seeing on the local level to address systemic and individual racism, or how we, as progressives, can work to make sure these racial injustices don’t ever happen again.
Instead, what we got was a whole lot of time and energy wasted on discussing whether or not “Karen” is an offensive slur. We had a lot of people focused on this supposed “injustice” rather than the actual injustice at the heart of the story.
It is embarrassing for this site.
It is also harmful and exhausting for our staff and readers of color to experience this over and over again in comments on multiple stories.
And in a twist of irony, watching white commenters fall down ragey rabbitholes about the poor Karens of the world and #NotAllKarens-ing is just about the most Karen thing one could imagine.
While the mainstreaming of “Karen” to describe an entitled white woman might feel unfortunate for the innocent Karens of the world and those who love them, this is such a cringeworthy and trivial detail to focus on at the expense of actually examining the injustice at play that made this word a thing in the first place. This is not the first time common names have had negative connotations attached to them and it won’t be the last. It’s not a battle worth fighting. And here at Daily Kos, all this fighting on behalf of Karens just exposes the fragility, the self-centeredness, and conditional nature of the support some of our white readers are willing to give when reading about or examining racial injustice.
It has to stop. Now.
“Karen” is a hundred percent acceptable to use here at Daily Kos. If you don’t like that, steer clear of our coverage of racism. Or perhaps refocus your discontent to the actual source of the problem: people who weaponize privilege in ways that are harmful and deadly to people of color, or the fact that this kind of racism exists in the first place. That is what we actually need to address. That is how you can actually show you’re an ally.
Daily Kos should be a place where BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) feel safe, welcome, and surrounded by allies. Please help us make this happen. We can start by stopping threadjacking comment sections on stories about true racial injustices with sympathy for the Karens of the world. Karen-defending comments should be met with the response that the user is threadjacking the story which is against the Rules of the Road. If they persist, their comment should be hidden so that the intended conversation may proceed.
For further reading on the Karen meme, I recommend reading this excellent column in the Washington Post.