What are the impacts of the “Karens” of the world? Many on Twitter are pointing out that a false accusation by a white woman led to 14 year old Emmett Till’s brutal murder by a white mob in 1955.
Is it petty for social media users concerned with racial justice to focus on #SoHoKaren, a white woman who assaulted a 14 year old Black male on December 30 after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone in SoHo’s Arlo Hotel? (FYI, SoHo Arlo Hotel’s phone number is 212-342-7000.)
The teen’s father, accomplished jazz musician Keyon Harrold, said:
“I want my son to grow up whole. That’s all we want…
“I can’t even come downstairs in New York City…and just go get brunch without being attacked and wrongfully accused of something.”
Does it matter that the incident happened in New York City where a false report that a Black man bird-watching in Central Park was threatening her life led to Central Park “Karen” Amy Cooper being charged?
“Karen” has long since entered the lexicon to refer to women who use their white privilege to harrass and, often, endanger Black men, women, and children.
So when 22 year old Californian Miya Ponsetto is tagged “Karen” for literally tackling a young teen she decided had her phone (when she had actually lost the phone in an Uber) we all know what that means.
In an interview she gave to CNN she claimed she was assaulted, despite both hotel security cameras and the teen’s dad’s cell phone video which show otherwise.
Ponsetto turned up next getting McDonald’s takeout in Simi Valley, California after returning quickly from NYC. Where she does not reside. Nor was she a guest at the Arlo Hotel where the manager had her back rather than that of the Black family who were actually guests.
Ponsetto’s statements to the videographer that she’s 22 (i.e. 8 years older than the kid she assaulted while his dad defended him) and “I’m also Puerto Rican” may indicate privilege and may also indicate that she’s not very bright.
Doubtful that she’s as talented as the dad who tried to defend his son from her. Playing a mean jazz trumpet got Grammy-winner Keyon Harrold out of Ferguson, Missouri by his own account. Ferguson, where in 2014 officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown in the back over an alleged theft of cigars from a store — and then left him to bleed out in the street.
Our history of racial violence in the U.S. means that every Black parent must reckon with the risks to their self or their beloved children at any time of the day, in any location — including home.
I’m living in Oakland, California for the next few months within sight of the spot where another notorious Karen, “BBQ Becky,” called police on a Black family for using charcoal to cook in Lake Merritt Park. (If you watch the video to the end you will see great restraint on the part of a white Oakland police officer who manages not to laugh in her face — or kill her.)
I wrote about that incident at the time but here’s an update: that particular spot in the park became wildly popular with the Bay Area’s Black community for BBQ’s, parties, rallies, and performances. Many Black Lives Matter marches either began or ended there during the burning hot summer of 2020. Neighbors despaired of ever getting a quiet night’s sleep as firecrackers went off all night, every night.
Some boarded up their storefronts and fled to the suburbs. Which is actually where BBQ Becky was from. Thanks, Jennifer Schulte of Walnut Creek, CA.
White privilege means that fragile women feel free to call law enforcement to impose their own personal decisions about right and wrong — even when they are not on their home turf.
White privilege means white people consider anywhere their turf.
Like the lobby of a hotel where they are not even staying.