The Karen who wants their reparations back

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 that you sabotaged a relationship with a Black person through the #BuyBackBlackDebt project and attacked them over the internet because you believe you decide how Black people should spend their money. 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:

  • Denial of where white wealth comes from: stolen land, genocide, hundreds of years of slavery, generational hoarding, and centuries of economic policies that have allowed systemic and institutional racism to thrive 
  • Upholding oppressive systems of power that widen the gross economic wealth gap in the U.S.
  • Blame-shifting and averting focus from the actual crisis: that in 2020, for every one dollar of wealth held by a white household, a Black household has one cent – ONE CENT – and doing so during an economic crisis that is disproportionately impacting communities of color 
  • Deep denial of one’s own privilege and power (having the audacity to think you have made a “sacrifice”)
  • Blatant assumption of authority; like your ancestors, you want to control what Black people do, say, believe, strive for and are allowed to achieve
  • Complete lack of understanding of reparations and what they are intended for (and that your ancestors were paid reparations after the 13th amendment for their “loss”)
  • Threatening a Black person in the middle of a nation-wide racial reckoning under the false assumption that you have something they want or need 
  • Perpetuating the racist trope that Black people are criminals, calling a Black person “fraud” for buying a car
  • Embedded superiority and patronizing tone; resorting to foul language and vague threats to assert your dominance (while simultaneously signaling your level of emotional intelligence)
  • Concern-trolling in the form of pretending to care about the environment and climate change which disproportionately impacts people of color (i.e. showing performative disdain for a vehicle that uses gasoline) 

Furthermore, you completely missed the beautifully transformative goal of the #BuyBackBlackDebt project, led by @sonyareneetaylor, which we’ll amplify here: 

#BuyBackBlackDebt is a project of interracial spiritual and economic relationship building. The goal is not simply to pay off the random debt of Black folks but to re-establish the possibility of human connections and relationship through disrupting active institutions of white supremacist delusion in Black lives. Wealth is generational and familial. It is passed down through lineage. I hope through #BuyBackBlackDebt we are able to restitch the garment of humanity by weaving Black and white lives in depthful and transformative ways…lineal ways, such that Black people become the heirs to white wealth alongside white family members. Such that white people become the heirs to Black love. Such that white people with financial resources immediately consider supporting the Black people in their lives because they have Black people in their lives. Where those relationships do not exist, they begin building them because it is through relationships that we heal and white people have much in themselves to heal. To be clear, both parties are clearing debt at the intersection of the spiritual and material realms.  

Your next steps (for anyone reading this post): 

  • Support and pay reparations to Kay on venmo @Keshia-Williams-5 or on paypal @evolvingparadox 
  • Support and pay @sonyareneetaylor on venmo or paypal at sonyarenee@gmail.com for her work on the #BuyBackBlackDebt project

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.

Sincerely, 

My Karen Translator

*** DO NOT RESPOND TO THE PERSON YOU HAVE ALREADY HARMED.*** 

If you have questions or complaints, please email support@mykarentranslator.com.

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