Your cousin Karen

Dear “Karen,” 

My Karen Translator is a service for Black people 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 used a family gathering to poke fun at systems of oppression that kill Black people. We are here to give you an opportunity to reflect on this interaction 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:

  • Leveraging the state-sanctioned murder of Black people as fodder to “lighten” the mood for a white-dominant audience  
  • Ignorance of how a white-dominant environment is already a psychologically toxic and exhausting space for a person of color to navigate and proceeding to use that space to further spread messages that uphold white supremacy and white comfort
  • Fauxpologizing; saying the words “I’m sorry” along with excuses, and without actually addressing any wrongdoing 
  • Burdening a person of color with your conscience, running after them and forcing them into a debate over the existence of racism 
  • Racial stereotyping Black people to spread false narratives about ownership when white people live on land they stole from hundreds of thousands of Indigenous peoples and anything they do “own” now is a product of 400 years of slavery 
  • Living under an umbrella of ignorance and embedded superiority to protect one’s ego (ex. assuming you didn’t get a job because you are white)  
  • Gaslighting, side-stepping, defensiveness 
  • Deep denial of white privilege and all the ways you benefit from systems of white supremacy

In addition, it is important you understand that having true interracial family relationships takes effort and time to establish and continue to build trust. Calling someone “family” means nothing when you’re weaponizing your privilege against them. 

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


If you have questions or complaints, please email

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