My name is now an insult | Mark’s Remarks


I asked my son and daughter-in-law to explain why the name Karen was being used to post negative things on Facebook and in various articles I have read.  

When I even said “Karen,” they both laughed and smiled that “oh Dad, you’re so out of touch” smile young folks exhibit from time to time.

I’m afraid I was still puzzled.

Let me backtrack. The first few comments I read on Facebook said things like “have you ever encountered a karen?” and “this karen went way too far!”  

I really didn’t understand. I thought maybe Karen was a word or term I wasn’t aware of. Since it wasn’t capitalized, I thought they couldn’t be referring to the name Karen.

But they were.

My children continued smiling and tried to explain.  “The name Karen is fun to say in a sneering tone.  People have started calling white, privileged women ‘karens.’ It’s just fun to say when you are making fun of white women for complaining about small problems like having to wear a mask or their nail salon being closed.”

“But that’s not funny,” I said.  

“It’s really not a slam on certain people. It’s just a term for a group,” they said.

“It’s a slam on people named Karen,’” I said.

By the time I was finished, I think I successfully made them feel bad. At least they weren’t smiling at me anymore.  

I suppose if you dislike anyone named Karen, this might be a lot of fun.  To an extent, and if it’s taken with a grain of salt, maybe you can laugh a little.

But I still feel sorry for Karen.

Dear friends are named Karen. Cousins are named Karen. Good people I know are named Karen.

Furthermore, these ladies aren’t people who complain about mundane things nor are they people who would say they are privileged.  

Then again, I have to look at what the word “privilege” means.  

When you look at our friends who are of different races, you can understand a little more. I saw a sign held by a little girl who was black that basically said “we never said only black lives matter.”  The sign went on to say black Americans were in danger and needed our help. I thought the sign was poignant.

We haven’t given all citizens in our country a fair shake in life. Sure, there have been concessions made and certain gestures extended to help but overall, the sign she held was pretty accurate and on point.

I’m not writing this to argue with anyone, but our little communities around here definitely can search deep in our hearts and agree. Not everyone has been treated equally.

People try to look at crime rates and other negatives in our society and  rationalize their beliefs.  However, if you are honest, you can see the point of people who haven’t gotten the same opportunities white Americans have been given.

Still, I don’t get why it’s OK to start using the names of people as insults. If you look on Facebook, you can see that groups have been formed: “Karens Who Took it Too Far” and “Battle Of the Karens.” There is even a group called “Karens Against Karens.”

Oh my. What has happened and why has Karen been targeted?

Upon further investigation, the names Chad (my only brother) and Kyle have been used as a male counterpart to Karen. Just so Karen herself won’t be lonely, I’ve heard names like Stacy and Becky listed as equally offensive insults.  And, in case Karen has a twin, there’s the name Sharon.

I feel sorry for these folks.

Did any of them choose their names? Parents generally name their children carefully and try not to pick a name that will be the source of ridicule or problems.  

When you look up “Chad” on the internet, you can actually find it listed as a slang term, a derogatory term used for “a young urban American man, typically single in his 20s or 30s.”  

The term originated in Chicago.

Be nice to Karens, Chads, Beckys, Stacys and the rest of them today.  They can’t help what they were named at birth.

And let’s just take a few breaths here. There are some big problems out there. Sin is the biggest. We aren’t loving one another.  We are repaying negative with more negative. How about stopping the name calling?

However, when looking at the magnitude of our world’s problems, maybe Karen, Chad, Becky and the rest feel their issues are small potatoes.  Maybe they feel OK taking a hit. Who knows?

Most importantly, we need to be on our knees every day praying for our country. We need to pray that our hardened hearts are softened and that God would speak truth into our lives. 

We need to pray that we can see things as they really are and not resort to immature ramblings, name calling and hateful speech.

We need to ask for  forgiveness.

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