The Karen who polices Black women

Dear “Karen,” 

My Karen Translator is a service for BIPOC dealing with everyday racism from colleagues, friends, family, acquaintances and more. My Karen Translator aims to shift the burden of education and growth onto white people who have, consciously or unconsciously, acted out white supremacy in any number of ways.

We were recently informed you accused a Black woman of “elitism” for being paid for her work. Amazingly, you took it upon yourself to send her a direct message with your unwanted, unwarranted opinion on the “price” of her revolutionary work in the movement for Black liberation. We’re here to give you an opportunity to reflect on this with the shared goal of fighting white supremacy everywhere it arises, including within oneself. 

We found this incident to have the following “Karen-like” (white normative, white-centric, white supremacist) characteristics:

  • Elitism; attempting to assert white dominance in the form of policing a Black woman’s work
  • Entitlement; believing your random opinion is of importance to a Black thought-leader and deserves space in her DMs and time in her day
  • Perpetuating the ceaseless erasure and exploitation of the work and efforts made by cis, trans and femme women of color 
  • Virtue-signaling; exclaiming that you “love the black-liberation workshop idea” and then proceeding to discredit it
  • Concern-trolling; pretending to care about access/equity 
    • Passive aggression intended to hide your racism; expressing you are concerned about reaching “wider society” when what you mean is “white” society. As if the above matters when society as a whole caters to you on white supremacist platter 
  • Blatant disrespect for the Black liberation movement and the thought-leaders paving the way
  • Devaluing Black labor; attaching your own, cheap price tag to something you clearly know nothing about; failure to capitalize “Black” in a sentence 
  • White saviorism; after expressing complaint and reluctance, offering to distribute some of the wealth you’ve accumulated as a result of slavery and genocide as if it is a gift (“I nevertheless would like to sponsor a spot”)
  • Ignorance; asking questions you could have answered via the internet; wasting a Black person’s time (“where can I find info on how to do this?”)
  • Inability to speak clearly about racism, name white supremacy, or identify own role
  • Grossly unchecked ego; thinking you could and should coach a Black woman who owns her own business in liberation therapy and coaching…really Karen? 

If Black liberation is important to you, you will sit with the feedback @keishadelvacreative graciously offered and pay her for her work as you said you would. 

We hope this experience inspires you to act more boldly against racism anywhere it arises and join the life-long fight for racial equity and Black liberation.


My Karen Translator


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