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  #51  
Old 02-21-2020, 09:04 AM
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I genuinely thought you were talking about the Karen peoples of Myanmar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_people
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:47 AM
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Are these name associations a new thing? I don't recall any from my sojourns in North America during the 20th century. ('Chad' is the one that might come to mind, but I first heard of it a few years ago, probably right here at SDMB.)

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I genuinely thought you were talking about the Karen peoples of Myanmar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_people
That's what first popped into my mind, though I quickly guessed that it was a name-association like 'Chad.'
There are Karen people not too far from me in Thailand, BTW. (Once when smokables were hard to find here, I instigated a mission to the hills for a Karen supply. That had a humorous end-result I've related elsewhere.)
  #53  
Old 02-21-2020, 09:55 AM
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I get it. The Karen's of the world (and white people in general) are not used to being judged and criticized by a bunch of randos while they go about their daily lives. As a result of being treated with kid gloves their entire lives they seem to believe that their behavior and culture are beyond reproach and therefore cannot be criticized. The rest of us have been dealing with rando criticism off and on for as far back as we can remember. So whenever I read an OP like this I can't help but wonder how the they would feel if they were black, latino or asian and had to face real racism and not this made up bullshit.
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:57 AM
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I'm sure there are plenty of perfectly nice Karens that are the butt of jokes, and I don't think that's a good thing.
I don't think you get it. Calling someone a Karen has nothing to do with that person's name. A Julie or a Linda can be "a Karen", likewise a Karen isn't necessarily "a Karen".
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:02 AM
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The subreddit entitledparents uses Karen as the genetic for the entitled mother. (Strangely, there's no name for entitled fathers.) It has 1 million subscribers and has been around for five years.

I think this is pretty good evidence that the term is firmly embedded, at least in younger demographics.
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:19 AM
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I don't like the "Karen" thing. It seems like a easy way to reduce middle age white women to a stereotype ("uggh, she's such a 'Karen'") and then treat them as punching bags ("Shut up, Karen!").

I don't see a equivalent term on the male side, and I don't see non-white women referred to as "Karens".
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:20 AM
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I've never heard "Karen" used to refer to anything/body other than somebody actually named Karen.

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I genuinely thought you were talking about the Karen peoples of Myanmar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_people
I partially take back my earlier comment. I have heard of the Karen peoples; but wasn't thinking of them in this context.
  #58  
Old 02-21-2020, 10:38 AM
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Satchmo? Other than Louis Armstrong, I've never, ever heard this term used to describe a single soul.
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I've heard a few more, but it certainly was Louis Armstrong's nickname. I suspect he meant to say Sambo. Which acquired very strong racial overtones. But I read Little Black Sambo as a child, and that child was quite clever. I'm not sure how it became a derogatory name.
Right... Sambo, not Satchmo, my error!
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:41 AM
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I don't like the "Karen" thing. It seems like a easy way to reduce middle age white women to a stereotype ("uggh, she's such a 'Karen'") and then treat them as punching bags ("Shut up, Karen!").

I don't see a equivalent term on the male side, and I don't see non-white women referred to as "Karens".
It's not about middle aged white women. It's about a specific behavior. Demanding to talk to the manager. Calling the police on someone just living their life and not harming anybody. Sticking ones nose where it doesn't belong especially with an entitled attitude.

This behavior is not specific to middle aged white women. It is also behavior that should be ridiculed.

Also, we are talking about internet memes and internet culture. There is no way to control this stuff, so I'm not sure what the debate is here. It is what it is, and nobody has any control over the internet and how people behave on it. How does anyone see this being resolved or corrected if you are opposed to this usage of the "Karen" meme?
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:41 AM
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Since virtually no one has ever heard of this, I seriously doubt that this can be a valid concern.
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  #61  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:12 AM
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Of course it is racist and sexist. It is a derogative term that only applies to one race and sex.

Some of the responses remind me of Robert Byrd talking about how white people can be n-words too. Anyone can be an entitled jerk but only someone of a certain race and sex can be a Karen.

Whether or not racism and sexism is a big deal when applied to white women is a separate issue.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:15 AM
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Again, anyone of any race or gender can be a Karen. It is the *behavior* that makes something an example being a Karen. It is making fun of specific behaviors, not making fun of all middle aged white women. This outrage seems manufactured and frankly kind of ridiculous.
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  #63  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:32 AM
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It's not about middle aged white women. It's about a specific behavior. Demanding to talk to the manager. Calling the police on someone just living their life and not harming anybody. Sticking ones nose where it doesn't belong especially with an entitled attitude.

Dictionary.com says this:

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What does Karen mean?
Karen is a mocking slang term for an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged white woman. Especially as featured in memes, Karen is generally stereotyped as having a blonde bob haircut, asking to speak to retail and restaurant managers to voice complaints or make demands, and being a nagging, often divorced mother from Generation X.
If it's not about middle aged white women, then we could substitute any name and it still would work. But we don't do this substitution, because "John" or "Ebony just don't conjure the same mental associations that "Karen" does.

The "Karen" thing is much like calling anyone who cuts in front of traffic "Wang" because of the Asian bad driver stereotype.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:39 AM
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Again, anyone of any race or gender can be a Karen. It is the *behavior* that makes something an example being a Karen. It is making fun of specific behaviors, not making fun of all middle aged white women. This outrage seems manufactured and frankly kind of ridiculous.
Can you find instances of black men being ridiculed for being Karens?
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:48 AM
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Middle aged concerned black man on the phone has been a meme for a very long time:

https://me.me/i/black-guy-on-the-pho...ff5aba8610550f

This is peak "white people are the real victims of discrimination!" in action.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:59 AM
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It's fine to call out white privileged behavior. It might be observed to take a certain form with middle aged white women, and I can see how it would emerge as a meme. But when it turns into a weapon, an insult, it doesn't seem particularly valid to gender the insult.

When used specifically against white female politicians, I would say that it is definitely sexist. This is a context where the people involved -- politicians -- are all about speaking out, but female politicians get labeled as strident, shrill, overly aggressive, trying too hard, and as "screaming about" things regularly when their male counter parts rarely get the same description. There is social pressure for outspoken women to shut up. Applying a gendered negative meme to female politicians looks like that kind of reaction/pressure to me.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:09 PM
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I agree that sexist remarks toward female politicians are awful and wrong. Declaring that the name "Karen" is itself racist and sexist seems a huge overreach though.

Also, even if it was stipulated that the word "Karen" is racist and sexist and should no longer be used in social media, how do you suggest this be controlled? Government control over everyone's twitter and facebook? There is no solution here.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:11 PM
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Satchmo? Other than Louis Armstrong, I've never, ever heard this term used to describe a single soul.
Louis Armstrong's nickname was derived from "satchelmouth," a name he was called as a kid. If anyone else has been called that, it was in reference to Armstrong.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:17 PM
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I've never seen it used to demean someone explicitly for their race, only for their privileged and entitled attitude. But it's a demeaning epithet, and it's only ever applied to white women, I guess that's the argument.

A similar kind of epithet used against a minority racial group would not be acceptable, but I think this is a case where it's not symmetrical, and where the [prejudice+power] view of racism is applicable. To at least some extent, the stereotyped entitled attitude reflects the privileged position and attitude of white people. It makes little sense to say that you can't call out white privilege because that's racist against white people.
Lots of stuff called 'racist' against non-whites is not directly *for* their race; it's just deemed to be constructively, indirectly etc that way to particular people.

I think it basically comes down to whether one accepts the argument for a double standard laid out in the second paragraph. In general I do not. Beyond that it's really just debating 'my basic worldview is superior', 'no mine is!'.

If the context is classifying a person by their race, whether white or any other race. It's not racist to say 'many whites have a sense of entitlement' just as it isn't racist to say 'the crime rate among African Americans is higher than among whites'. Neither statement has to be accepted as true, but neither is racist whether or not accepted as true. Attaching that generality to a particular person is what is racist* IMO. I believe this 'meme' (though I'd never heard of it until recently) is used that way, and is thus racist.

Sexist? Hard to see how it could be argued it's not if used basically as 'you're one of those typical x women'. But it's pretty much as obviously racist IMO unless one adopts the proposed double standard, where it's OK to say 'you're a typical white x', 'because of history'.

*in the sense of prejudice or bias; saying it's not racist because 'racism' only means theories of racial superiority is ridiculous. The word's meaning goes beyond that for almost everybody, though it has become ambiguous exactly what it means, it's true.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-21-2020 at 12:20 PM.
  #70  
Old 02-21-2020, 12:25 PM
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I don't like the "Karen" thing.
Telling us will not change a thing, you really need to speak to the manager.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:31 PM
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I'm still waiting for a single constructive suggestion of how to fix this problem, even if we all stipulate that it is a problem. We are talking about how millions of people behave on the internet. This is not something that anyone has any control over.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:43 PM
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I agree that sexist remarks toward female politicians are awful and wrong. Declaring that the name "Karen" is itself racist and sexist seems a huge overreach though.

Also, even if it was stipulated that the word "Karen" is racist and sexist and should no longer be used in social media, how do you suggest this be controlled? Government control over everyone's twitter and facebook? There is no solution here.
I don't think anyone is saying the NAME Karen is sexist and racist. The Karen meme is what is being discussed. Calling a person by the name Karen if that is the person's name is not an instance of the meme. Calling a person "a Karen," or calling a person by the name Karen when that is not their name, may be an instance of the meme. Responding to a white middle aged female politician who is talking politics with a dismissive reference to the meme is sexist.

No one is remotely talking about banning anything. There are an infinite number of reactions to seeing sexism in action that are not putting the government in control of social media. Wow.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:46 PM
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I don't think anyone is saying the NAME Karen is sexist and racist. The Karen meme is what is being discussed. Calling a person by the name Karen if that is the person's name is not an instance of the meme. Calling a person "a Karen," or calling a person by the name Karen when that is not their name, may be an instance of the meme. Responding to a white middle aged female politician who is talking politics with a dismissive reference to the meme is sexist.

No one is remotely talking about banning anything. There are an infinite number of reactions to seeing sexism in action that are not putting the government in control of social media. Wow.
Ok, so what do you suggest? Can you name one of these infinite reactions that will actually do anything to stop this from happening?

Still waiting for any constructive suggestion. I do agree that using that meme to insult female politicians is wrong. But, so what? What can we do about it? That is the question that nobody will address. Wow indeed.
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Last edited by Airbeck; 02-21-2020 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:54 PM
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I don't think anyone is saying the NAME Karen is sexist and racist.
Look at the thread title...
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:59 PM
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I don't think anyone is saying the NAME Karen is sexist and racist.
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Look at the thread title...
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Has the term 'Karen' become racist and sexist?
Bolding mine.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:05 PM
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Oh for god's sake
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:08 PM
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Also, even if it was stipulated that the word "Karen" is racist and sexist and should no longer be used in social media, how do you suggest this be controlled? Government control over everyone's twitter and facebook? There is no solution here.
Are we really nitpicking between name, term, and word?

This thread has jumped the shark. And I still haven't heard one concrete suggestion for what to do even if we all agree that the TERM Karen is racist and sexist.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:11 PM
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*in the sense of prejudice or bias; saying it's not racist because 'racism' only means theories of racial superiority is ridiculous. The word's meaning goes beyond that for almost everybody, though it has become ambiguous exactly what it means, it's true.
Very very few people really think prejudice or bias against a race is always racism (just like most people don't call it sexism when a TV show has women getting together to complain about 'men'). I don't actually think the word's meaning does go beyond prejudice + racial superiority/inferiority. It goes back to what 'ism's are. People generally understand 'ism' means a world view or system.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:12 PM
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Are we really nitpicking between name, term, and word?
Yes! Demeaning anyone who happens to be named "Karen" is ridiculous. A 22 year old black man can be "a Karen".

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And I still haven't heard one concrete suggestion for what to do even if we all agree that the TERM Karen is racist and sexist.
Don't use the term if you don't like it. When I encounter "a Karen" I point and laugh.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:16 PM
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Yes! Demeaning anyone who happens to be named "Karen" is ridiculous. A 22 year old black man can be "a Karen".


Don't use the term if you don't like it. When I encounter "a Karen" I point and laugh.
I have never used any form of the Karen meme.

This thread is not about me.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:19 PM
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Here are the top five names given for baby girls; one sample per decade:
1928 Betty Dorothy Helen Margaret Mary
1938 Barbara Betty Mary Patricia Shirley
1948 Barbara Linda Mary Patricia Susan
1958 Karen Linda Mary Patricia Susan
1968 Jennifer Kimberly Lisa Melissa Michelle
1978 Amy Heather Jennifer Jessica Melissa
1988 Amanda Ashley Jennifer Jessica Sarah
1998 Ashley Emily Hannah Samantha Sarah
2008 Ava Emily Emma Isabella Olivia
2018 Ava Emma Isabella Olivia Sophia
Names familiar to us oldtimers — Mary, Patricia, Susan, Linda, Barbara etc. — were common before the the 60's; Lisa (and Karen!) came into vogue during the 60's, but then came a massive shift: The names are different nowadays, and quickly go in and out of vogue.
For each year, the ordering shown is alphabetic, not popularity rank order. Here is the list for boys' names:
1928 Charles James John Robert William
1938 James John Richard Robert William
1948 David James John Robert William
1958 David James John Michael Robert
1968 David James John Michael Robert
1978 Christopher David James Jason Michael
1988 Andrew Christopher Joshua Matthew Michael
1998 Christopher Jacob Joshua Matthew Michael
2008 Daniel Ethan Jacob Joshua Michael
2018 James Liam Noah Oliver William
Among 2018 baby boys, Liam was #1, Noah #2 !
  #82  
Old 02-21-2020, 01:20 PM
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Very very few people really think prejudice or bias against a race is always racism (just like most people don't call it sexism when a TV show has women getting together to complain about 'men'). I don't actually think the word's meaning does go beyond prejudice + racial superiority/inferiority. It goes back to what 'ism's are. People generally understand 'ism' means a world view or system.
Furthermore, I would posit that the (IMO, silly) term "reverse racism" acknowledges that racism = prejudice + racial superiority/inferiority. Hence the 'reverse' part of that.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:22 PM
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Since virtually no one has ever heard of this, I seriously doubt that this can be a valid concern.
Just because a few old people don't know about an internet meme doesn't mean that it isn't widely known among a substantial segment of the population. Or that it's of no concern.

You might as well say, "Nobody in my nursing home vapes, so why are people on television talking about it?"
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:22 PM
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I have never used any form of the Karen meme.

This thread is not about me.
Now you're being such a Ronald!
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:22 PM
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Are we really nitpicking between name, term, and word?

This thread has jumped the shark. And I still haven't heard one concrete suggestion for what to do even if we all agree that the TERM Karen is racist and sexist.
Your failure to grasp a distinction does not mean that elucidating the matter is nitpicking. This has nothing to do with people who are named Karen. It is about the viral epithet “a Karen”, a label for certain sterotypical behaviors.

Equally, any failure to see any value in discussing whether words or actions are racist or sexist is your own limitation. The first “concrete suggestion” if we were to gain insight that some term is racist or sexist is rather obviously to stop using it ourselves.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:27 PM
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Your failure to grasp a distinction does not mean that elucidating the matter is nitpicking. This has nothing to do with people who are named Karen. It is about the viral epithet “a Karen”, a label for certain sterotypical behaviors.

Equally, any failure to see any value in discussing whether words or actions are racist or sexist is your own limitation. The first “concrete suggestion” if we were to gain insight that some term is racist or sexist is rather obviously to stop using it ourselves.
Failure to grasp? My own limitation?

So now we've gotten to the insults portion of the debate?

Again, I've never used the Karen meme, and from reading this thread, nobody else here seems to either. So problem solved then? Thread over?

We in this thread are not the source of the problem. What I have yet to hear anyone suggest is anything that any of us can do to stop other people on the internet from using it.
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Last edited by Airbeck; 02-21-2020 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:31 PM
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Never heard the name used this way; gotta cite?
Rob Dyrdek uses it often on Ridiculousness on MTV.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:41 PM
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Again, I've never used the Karen meme, and from reading this thread, nobody else here seems to either. So problem solved then? Thread over?
That's not true. A few people have said they have seen it. I will add my voice. I definitely have seen it on Facebook and Twitter.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:43 PM
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That's not true. A few people have said they have seen it. I will add my voice. I definitely have seen it on Facebook and Twitter.
That's not what I said in your quote of my post. I said I have never *used* it, and I can't recall anyone in this thread who has *used* it. Of course I have seen it, and so have some in the thread.

What I haven't seen is any suggestion on what to be done to stop those that do use it from using it in the future.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:48 PM
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It's not racist or whatever-ist, it's a descriptive label EARNED by the target. Generic white mom walking down the street? Nobody in their right mind would think, "Ah! A Karen!" because she has not yet started Karening (For those who are unfamiliar with Karen & Becky, it might interest you to know that The Kids are doing grammatically unholy things to nouns & verbs). All Karens are white women, but not all white women are Karens, so it's generally good manners to give her the benefit of the doubt before affixing the label. You'd hate to undercut someone only to find out later she is one of the good ones. Mom had similar theories about persons of color (which is not a term she used).
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:51 PM
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Failure to grasp? My own limitation?

So now we've gotten to the insults portion of the debate?

Again, I've never used the Karen meme, and from reading this thread, nobody else here seems to either. So problem solved then? Thread over?

We in this thread are not the source of the problem. What I have yet to hear anyone suggest is anything that any of us can do to stop other people on the internet from using it.
As a completely random observer to this thread, allow me to sincerely and politely suggest:

Take a step away from this thread. It is not doing you any good.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:56 PM
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As a completely random observer to this thread, allow me to sincerely and politely suggest:

Take a step away from this thread. It is not doing you any good.
May I politely suggest that this thread isn't doing anyone any good? Kind of what I've been pointing out with asking for concrete suggestions. Of which so far we've seen exactly zero.

My entire point is that we are talking about the internet, and there seems to be a complete lack of understanding of how the internet actually works. I did think that the entire point of this board was fighting ignorance. Has that changed?
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  #93  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:01 PM
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May I politely suggest that this thread isn't doing anyone any good? Kind of what I've been pointing out with asking for concrete suggestions. Of which so far we've seen exactly zero.
So is your entire thesis that because we can't control with randos say on the internet, then there's nothing to talk about?

Last edited by you with the face; 02-21-2020 at 02:01 PM.
  #94  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:09 PM
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So is your entire thesis that because we can't control with randos say on the internet, then there's nothing to talk about?
Basically. What good is getting upset about something that there is nothing we can do about? What has this conversation accomplished? Assholes are going to be assholes on the internet. Such has it always been, so shall it always be. We can tut tut and pat each other on the back for disapproving of what some right wingers do to insult female democratic candidates on twitter and facebook, but what can be done?

This thread could go on for 100 pages, but will the internet culture we're complaining about change at all?
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  #95  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:15 PM
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nm dupe
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Last edited by Airbeck; 02-21-2020 at 02:18 PM.
  #96  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:22 PM
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Basically. What good is getting upset about something that there is nothing we can do about?
Who has said they are upset?


Quote:
What has this conversation accomplished?
Why are you participating in this thread?


Quote:
This thread could go on for 100 pages, but will the internet culture we're complaining about change at all?
If this discussion causes people to reconsider their own opinions and behavior, then yes, it can cause changes to this thing you're calling the "internet culture".

But even if didn't, that doesn't mean we shouldn't discuss this topic.
  #97  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:30 PM
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Who has said they are upset?
Those who have opined that Karen is racist and sexist and demeaning to anyone named Karen and to all middle aged white women. That sentiment has been expressed more than once. If someone feels this way, then usage of Karen would be an upsetting thing for them to encounter, no?

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Originally Posted by you with the face View Post
Why are you participating in this thread?
Why does anyone participate in any thread here? I have time on my hands, and I'm pretty well versed in internet culture so I thought I had some germane information to share on the subject.

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Originally Posted by you with the face View Post
If this discussion causes people to reconsider their own opinions and behavior, then yes, it can cause changes to this thing you're calling the "internet culture".

But even if didn't, that doesn't mean we shouldn't discuss this topic.
I don't recall anyone in this thread saying that they personally have used Karen in this way. I certainly haven't. So I don't see any evidence that anyone in this thread has decided to no longer use Karen in this way.

Look, at this point we are in a circular conversation and the plot is being lost. The fact that there still has not been even one concrete suggestion about how to stop Karen from being used this way on the internet tells me that there likely won't be any forthcoming, so I'll go ahead and bow out at this point.
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  #98  
Old 02-21-2020, 03:38 PM
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Those who have opined that Karen is racist and sexist and demeaning to anyone named Karen and to all middle aged white women. That sentiment has been expressed more than once. If someone feels this way, then usage of Karen would be an upsetting thing for them to encounter, no?
I'm one of the posters that said I don't like "Karen" because its connotations. But it's crazy to infer from that I'm upset about anything. I'm not even in the demographic group that is being mocked with the term. I'm just providing an opinion that was solicited by the OP.


Quote:
Why does anyone participate in any thread here? I have time on my hands, and I'm pretty well versed in internet culture so I thought I had some germane information to share on the subject.
So that's the answer to your question about the point in talking about this. It's not just about changing other people's behavior; it's about exchanging ideas.


Quote:
I don't recall anyone in this thread saying that they personally have used Karen in this way. I certainly haven't. So I don't see any evidence that anyone in this thread has decided to no longer use Karen in this way.
Do you think the only people reading this thread (and are in the position to be influenced by it) are those who have posted in it?
  #99  
Old 02-21-2020, 03:47 PM
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I agree that sexist remarks toward female politicians are awful and wrong. Declaring that the name "Karen" is itself racist and sexist seems a huge overreach though.

Also, even if it was stipulated that the word "Karen" is racist and sexist and should no longer be used in social media, how do you suggest this be controlled? Government control over everyone's twitter and facebook? There is no solution here.
Doesn't this complaint apply to any of the previously established racial slurs? We acknowledge the N word as racist without giving the Government control over our twitter. I'll admit our current plan against racism isn't perfect, but social condemnation of it is doing more than nothing. Also, whether we have a good plan against sexist slurs is orthogonal to whether a certain term is a sexist slur.
  #100  
Old 02-21-2020, 03:49 PM
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I'm still waiting for a single constructive suggestion of how to fix this problem, even if we all stipulate that it is a problem. We are talking about how millions of people behave on the internet. This is not something that anyone has any control over.
The talking about it is the solution. When I was fifteen, all my friends and I used "gay" to mean "stupid" and "fag" was how we insulted each other. Nobody passed a law making that illegal. But the discussion we had as a society, on TV, in movies, on the internet, about the use of those terms eventually lessened the problem of homophobic slang. The problem is still out there, but it's a lot less of a problem than it was in 2005.
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