I wonder if when Black people came up with the name “Karen” as a moniker for entitled white women who ask to speak to the manager over the smallest inconveniences and call the police on Black people they consider a nuisance, we could have predicted that the term would catch on so universally. Just kidding, of course we knew. Almost nothing becomes popular in America until Black people start the trend. What we might not have predicted, however, is that the term would potentially become legislation aimed at holding white people accountable for weaponizing the police against us. In San Francisco, an ordinance was proposed Tuesday that would do just that.
The Mercury News reports that San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, which would make it illegal to “fabricate false racially-biased emergency reports.”
The CAREN Act changes the spelling of the name usually spelled “Karen.” (I mean, they could have called it the “Keep All Racists from Emancipated Negroes” Act, but they don’t consult me for this kind of thing.) What hasn’t changed is who the legislation targets.
“Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting,” Walton tweeted Tuesday. “This is the CAREN we need.”
According to Mercury News, Walton will be teaming up with Oakland Assemblyman Rob Bonta to push the statewide AB1550 bill which specifically holds people accountable for calling 911 and saying things they know are exaggerated or untrue (I know, I also thought it was already a crime to make a false police report, but apparently they need a whole new law to stop white people from white-peopleing).
One of the examples cited in statements regarding the bill is that of Amy “Central Park Karen” Cooper who told the police a Black man was threatening her life when all he actually did was ask that she leash her dog. Cooper was charged with a misdemeanor for making a false report on Monday. In May, Cooper’s case inspired New York lawmakers to propose hate crime legislation for making race-based false police reports.
Another case cited in proposing the CAREN Act was the local story of Lisa “San Francisco Karen” Alexander, a former cosmetics company CEO who, along with her husband, confronted and called the police on a man for stenciling “Black Lives Matter” in chalk on his own property.
Hopefully, the bill will pass and all the Karens of California and the world will be put on notice and informed that using the police as their own personal Black people removal service will no longer be tolerated.