What’s the matter with ‘Karen’?

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Ever since the Pandemic there has been a flurry of these viral ‘Karen’ videos

that show middle-aged women ranting and raving furiously while exhibiting some entitled behavior varying from the ‘I want to speak to your manager , Karen’  to the blatantly racist in your face ‘Karen’  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for these past couple of years, you know all too well what I’m referring to.

The first time I saw a “Karen” video

( I hate that they have been named that, but that’s another post altogether) it was shocking and somewhat amusing. I get why they go viral. It’s outlandish behavior, right? Like having ring side seats at some freak show. But it’s not a ‘freak’ thing, it’s not out of the ordinary. Sadly, it is anything but. There are so many ‘Karen’ videos circulating. I can only imagine all the ‘Karen’s’ that don’t get recorded.  This morning I happened across a video of a woman. She was ranting almost incoherently at a pair of men who were filming planes by the side of the road. I found the video very hard to watch as she was screeching homophobic and anti-muslim garbage. It was surreal to say the least.

Why is there so much hatred and animosity spewing from these people?

Why does it seem to be ever at the ready and in such a frenzy? I mean literally some are foaming at the mouth. The hatred, intolerance and ignorance is on full display. As clearly was the case in the video I was unlucky enough to be subjected to on my feed this morning.

It has stayed with me all day, and I keep asking myself why?

Why the surge in these types of behavioral outbursts? Apart from the obvious rise in populism, xenophobia and the very real fact of a deeply rooted racism within our institutions and society, It’s more than that. Why do these people believe they have a right to act this way?

It’s ignorance for sure, but it’s also the idea that they are entitled to voice their opinion, to interject their thoughts and impose their truth whatever that may be. With the assumption that everyone else must be subjected to it because their opinion/thoughts matter.  

Where does such an outlandish idea come from?

It’s clear to me that the internet and social media are to blame. I mean it makes sense. These people in the age of Tweets and internet comments feel like they can just blabber whatever pops into their minds as they do online. Where they have no consequences, and now in turn are relating that same behavior and taking it to real-life interactions and the result is pure insanity. 

I haven’t been back to New York in over three years now, and if I’m honest I’m a bit scared to go back.

I can’t imagine ever coming across such behavior myself and it frightens me to think that my child could be subjected to it as well.  Maybe it’s that I’ve lived abroad now for more than ten years but I never thought I would feel so alien to my country and my people. But I just don’t understand it anymore. From the outside looking in, it doesn’t seem too welcoming. It doesn’t feel like the home I left behind.

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