Clearly, “Karen” has become so much of a problem that legislators are attempting to address racial profiling white women in more concrete ways. But questions arise as to whether certain policies are the right approach to tampering down the tantrums of a police-happy Karen.
According to Forbes, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the “CAREN Act,” or the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, which would impose fines on anybody who makes false and racially discriminatory emergency reports in San Francisco.
Just this week, Amy Cooper — who called the cops on a Black man in Central Park after he asked her to keep her dog on a lease — was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, which is punishable with up to a year in jail. However, Cooper’s charges, which were announced on Monday, don’t take into account any racial bias.
Some Black leaders have concerns about involving the criminal justice system in Karen incidents. Following worldwide protests over police and state violence against Black people, the push has become stronger to divest from punitive forms of punishment such as jails and prisons. Even Karens are being reassessed as to what would be the best solution to address racist white women without involving the tools that they often use against Black people.
“I have no sympathy for Amy Cooper, but I do want us to wrestle with what it means for us to continue to seek justice through courts, police, and prisons,” wrote professor and activist Marc Lamont Hill in a Monday tweet. “In the current world, the vulnerable have few resources and little recourse when the powerful do harm. Calling for killer cops to be jailed, for example, is often the only available solution for ‘justice’ in the short-term. I understand this dilemma, even as I struggle with it.”
Hill ended by saying:
“But to ultimately produce an abolitionist future, we have to begin to produce alternative possibilities. We have to resist the urge for retributive approaches. We won’t have all the answers immediately, but we have to keep doing that work. Especially when it is difficult. We also have to consider that these retributive approaches will not largely impact the powerful. Who will be most likely criminalized if we intensify prosecutions for filing false police reports? Not the Amy Coopers of the world.”
Hill has a point about how criminalizing certain actions usually leads to Black people receiving the most surveillance. Criminalizing marijuana possession is just one example of how a law disproportionately impacts Black people as supposed to white people.
Although Black people might not be more likely to call the police in the same vain as a Karen, criminalizing such an act could cause white folks to claim racial bias if a Black person should ever need to call the cops on a white person, which would further funnel more Black people into the criminal justice system.
If the political goal is to divest from prisons and police altogether (e.g. defunding police or abolishing police), a policy criminalizing racially motivated calls would still give power to police and jails while also giving money to the state via fines. Where would this money go? Would it go to police departments that are still brutalizing Black people? Would it go to the courts who are still criminalizing Black people? Or would more appropriate action involve fines paid to the victim of the racially motivated 911 call?
These are all things to consider as the CAREN Act and its imitators start to gain traction across the country.
Will It Work? CAREN Act Is Introduced As Viral ‘Karen’ Videos Surge was originally published on newsone.com