It’s been bothering me for a while now. I don’t know any other expression of bigotry we hold still for on Daily Kos, or accept because “Hey, it’s a meme” or “everybody uses it.” I used it myself once or twice before I realized what the hell I was doing, but whatever I may think of the expression, it falls into the same category as a number of other phrases and assumptions that I simply don’t carry in to my writing on DK any more, because they’re against the Rules of the Road.
We flag “gyp” because it’s historically a slur about the Romany; we don’t accept “Jew them down” as a description of somebody cutting a tight deal, and we’re not at all happy about calling somebody a “damn Tom.” Usually, they’re cut off at the knees as fast as we spot them.
When The Game of Thrones brought “cunt” more prominently into the language as a general pejorative, I didn’t see Daily Kos letting up on putting down that usage.
But “Karen” gets a pass because “hey, it’s a meme and everybody uses it.” Or, worse,
“it isn’t bigotry because it’s a minority using it, and punching up isn’t bigotry — only punching down.”
(Note: that’s a paraphrase, but it’s definitely one of the arguments that’s been used in favor of the Karen meme.)
Funny, we don’t accept that excuse when it’s an evangelical atheist putting down “sky fairies,” and insulting organized religion is definitely a case of punching up, though not as much as it was a few decades ago.
Or, how about — “it’s not an insult, it’s only a description?” Sorry — a description takes time and effort to write out, usually in order to make sure that the people who are reading the description actually understand what you’re trying to say, rather than applying their own baggage-laden definition of the pejorative term you’re using — and “Karen” is already carrying plenty of baggage of all different sorts with a variety of people.
From the RotR:
Do Not Use bigoted language in stories or comments. This includes but is not limited to slurs, stereotypes, and demeaning insults regarding race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexuality, religion, age, class, locality, country or culture of origin, physical appearance, and physical or mental ability. Discriminatory speech is incompatible with the values of this organization and is subject to administrative action, including banning.
(Of course, there still is an exception for insults about politics.)
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.