Opinion: Nancy Giles

Opinion: Nancy Giles
Opinion: Nancy Giles 03:14

The last few weeks have felt like one gut punch after another, from the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, to that crazed 911 call by Amy Cooper. And all three events were (thankfully!) captured on cellphone video for millions of people to see – undeniable proof of the racist acts that some of us have lived with for a long time.

So last week, when our broadcast aired an opinion essay on the term "Karen" and Karen-shaming, I thought … really?!?

Here's the thing: When it comes to the Karens (Beckys, even Kens) of the world who don't like being called out for their gross behavior, always privileged and sometimes incendiary, you know what? TOUGH! There's something called "consequences," and they need to face theirs.

The social media shaming is not more important than the horrific behavior itself. Calling someone a "Karen" isn't about sexism; it has to do with specific behavior and actions – a person who weaponizes their privilege.

And by the way, calling someone a "Karen" is not the worst thing you can say. People of color in this country have been called a lot worse, for a lot less. They are the real victims here.

We've seen this "Karen" connective tissue throughout our history, when false accusations led to the murder of Emmett Till; the conviction and imprisonment of the Scottsboro Boys; and were used as a diversion for Susan Smith, to name just a few examples. (If you don't know their stories, look them up.)

That's the culture I'd like to cancel. Stop with the lies: "That boy whistled at me." "He was black, it was a carjacking, and then he kidnapped my children!" "911? I'm being threatened by an African American man!" 

And while we're at it, let's cancel the micro-aggressions, too. Here are a few that have been tossed my way: "You don't sound urban." "Do you live in this building?" "The Ultra Sheen auditions are down the hall."

Now, my white friends are finally seeing it for themselves, on video, and they're starting to understand that they can never understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of this insanity. Black people have lived with this for 400 years, so it's white people's turn to deal with themselves. Time for the Karens, Beckys, and even the Kens to stop whining, take a beat ... and try listening

It'll be messy, and awkward, but if they're willing, they might just learn something. And that's worth it, for all of us.

      
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Story produced by Robyn McFadden. Editor: George Pozderec.