A new movie took its inspiration from the many stories of women who felt compelled to call the police on Black people for minor infractions or no reason at all
We’ve all seen the headlines about white women terrorizing unsuspecting people of color for the most minor (and at times, imaginary) infractions. But now a trailer has dropped for the upcoming thriller Karen which takes the threat of white fragility to terrorizing new heights.
According to reports, in the highly anticipated flick by Coke Daniels, Orange is the New Black star Taryn Manning plays the lead role of “a racist, entitled white woman in the South who terrorizes her new Black neighbors.”
Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke play the beleaguered neighbors.
“The feature [is] about Karen Drexler (Manning), a racist white woman who makes it her personal mission to displace the new Black family that has just moved in next door to her,” reads the synopsis, via Deadline.
“Community activist Malik (Hardrict) and his wife Imani (Burke) are the couple who have just moved to the Atlanta suburb, but they won’t be backing down without a fight.”
“Last year during the global pandemic and civil unrest, I — like many of us — felt anger, despair and hopelessness. The overwhelming amount of support from people around the globe, who want to see change, has been such an inspiration,” explained Daniels.
“I felt a social responsibility to take on this role,” added Manning. “Even if I had to play the villain to affect change around the globe, then I was more than willing to step into the role. What’s been going on is devastating. It’s time for change and for me to be a part of the bigger picture, meant a lot to me.”
Manning also noted that she has thick skin and wants viewers to hate her in the film because that would indicate they’re open to change after generations of inequitable power structures.
While Manning may be stepping up to play the role of a Karen on the big screen, in real life the popularity of that name has plummeted due to several years of ‘Karens gone wild’ incidents making headlines.
New data from the Social Security Administration suggests ‘Karen’ has fallen from grace with new parents in 2020, ranking No. 831 in popularity in the United States for female baby names last year.
This is the lowest ranking the previously popular ‘Karen’ has had on the list since 1932.
Only a measly 439 babies were named Karen in 2019 and in 2020, that number dropped to 325.
This is a stark contrast to 1965, when Karen was at its peak popularity, with almost 33,000 newborns given that name.
“It’s usually used as a pejorative for middle-aged white women,” explained Matt Schimkowitz, a senior editor at Know Your Meme, an online meme encyclopedia, said.
“It’s almost like they have an entitlement, where they’re kind of lording their privilege over another.”
While the official origins of Karen being used as a pejorative are unclear, Insider reports that popular speculation is that it was popularized due to a joke from stand-up comedian Dane Cook.
In his 2005 comedy special, Cook talked about how every group of friends has someone in it that everyone complains about when that person isn’t around.
“Every group has a Karen, and she is always a bag of douche,” Cook said in the routine. “And when she’s not around, you just look at each other and say, ‘God, Karen, she’s such a douchebag!’”
Other’s speculate “Karen” being used as a form of slander comes from the 2004 cult classic Mean Girls, in which one of the characters exclaims, “Oh, my God, Karen — you can’t just ask people why they’re white.”
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