The Brief: On Twitter, people are debating whether the "Karen" stereotype of a white woman who's always demanding to "speak to the manager" is a "slur" or not.


Is ‘Karen’ A Slur?

On April 5, 2020, discourse began on Twitter as to whether or not the Karen stereotype is a slur. This first started when writer Julie Bindel tweeted “Does anyone else think the ‘Karen’ slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?” The “Friends Of Journalism” Twitter account took this idea a step further, calling Karen a “sexist and racist slur” and “an equivalent of the n-word for white women,” asking people to vote to show whether or not they agree with this statement.

“Friends of Journalism” or @journalistsew has no official associations with any journalistic organizations and appears to be an ironic troll account that mocks liberal ideologies.


The main consensus as to whether “Karen” is an offensive racial slur is that no, it is not. While it is a negative stereotype about white, middle class, 40+ women, it is generally used to call out the harmful behavior perpetrated by members of these groups. Many people use the argument that reverse racism is a myth to point out the impossibility of there being an N-word equivalent for white women.

Although much of the conversation around this topic is made in jest, there are some serious debates occurring online about the validity of the idea that “Karen” is a slur.

Insight from a Black woman named Karen:

Karens Memes & Jokes

Many Karen memes and jokes reference the racism and microaggressions against people of color and Black folks in particular. The phrase “the K word” has been used to highlight the absurdity of the idea that “Karen” could be a racial slur.