Real life Karens weigh in on the 'Karen' memes

The slang term 'Karen' is now broadly applied to a growing group of women who have been exposed on social media for their racist and privileged behavior. What is it like to actually be named Karen in this climate and how do the real Karens feel about their name being dragged through the mud?

Video Transcript

KAREN LEE: I received this name when I was five years old from my pastor, and I absolutely loved it. And now the fact that I have to sit back and be like, do I love my name or not, is just crazy to me.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

KAREN SHORE: Hi, my name is Karen Shore.

KAREN JOHNSON: Hi, my name is Karen Johnson.

KAREN LEE: Hello, my name is Karen Lee. When people would say that, you know, the short-haired mom who calls the manager over at the supermarket is a Karen, we all thought that was funny at one point. Even I thought that was funny in the beginning. And then it just progressed into something even that much worse.

KAREN JOHNSON: And I get inbox messages all the time saying, hey, look at this funny thing that we saw. You know, it's so funny. It's not you. You need to change your name. And I was like, no, we need to let people know that not all Karens are this way.

KAREN SHORE: Recently, I-- I have thought twice about saying certain things or bringing certain issues to somebody's attention because I'm thinking to myself, oh, they're going to think I'm a Karen.

KAREN LEE: I'll go get a coffee, and they'll be like, oh, what's your name? And I'll be like, oh, it's Karen. And the first thing they'll say is, my gosh, how-- how are you-- are you OK with all the Karen memes lately? I honestly told my friends to call me by my Korean name. To think that, like, now at the age of 22, I have to say, oh, my name is [INAUDIBLE].

KAREN JOHNSON: My way of looking at it is approaching it as-- as a positive thing and say, hey, I'm not your typical Karen. So when you meet this Karen, you'll remember me.

KAREN SHORE: I feel like it's stereotyping a name just as much as the name stereotypes that kind of behavior. It does bother me. I don't act like that. And even though my name is Karen, I'm not a Karen. There's a difference.

KAREN LEE: It's not called a Karen if someone is being mean or unjust or racist. It's called being racist, unjust, and mean.

KAREN SHORE: Everyone should just be aware of how they treat other people in this world.

KAREN JOHNSON: A real Karen is someone who works hard, who is devoted to their family, their friends, their communities. So be a positive Karen. Go embrace your neighbors, celebrate life, and enjoy being a Karen.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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