Is Karen the New N-Word?
There's a big debate on the internet right now, as there so often is regardless of how ignorant and silly the topic is, whether or not using the term, "Karen," is equivalent to using the "N-word."
I'm not one to take part in these, "debates," in any serious capacity. because I can't keep myself objective with such a subjective topic, but I can bring the topic into perspective.
Is referring to a woman as a, "Karen," equivalent to calling someone the N-word?
It absolutely, unarguably, can be.
Anecdotal History of Disparaging Language
Hopefully I don't have to go into the factual history of disparaging language, the formal semantics and etymology of it all, because I am not going to. I'm going to trust that you are educated and intelligent enough to find and understand all of that yourself, but for those of you who are not then you wouldn't understand if I listed it anyways. Luckily, I can explore the history of disparaging language in layman's terms, and offer an easy to read and comprehend perspective for everyone.
Throughout history disparaging language has been used for one purpose and one purpose only, to subjugate others deemed as less valuable to society. Going back to the earliest records of history, we can see that disparaging language is a powerful tool often used to unfairly marginalize minorities. Equally, disparaging language has also been used as performative cruelty which quickly destabilizes entire social systems.
Take for example how the Jews were treated within the Roman empire, they were often brought into the streets and made to do humiliating things for the entertainment of the Romans. All it took was telling everyone that, "Jew," meant something along the lines of, "less than human," or, "worthy of disdain," and the majority would soon agree. The title of, "Jew," much like the title of, "Karen," could be used as a disparaging term equivalent to the, "N-word."
Karen vs the N-Word
Definition of Karen: "Karen is a mocking slang term for an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged white woman. Especially as featured in memes, Karen is generally stereotyped as having a blonde bob haircut, asking to speak to retail and restaurant managers to voice complaints or make demands, and being a nagging, often divorced mother from Generation X."
Definition of "N-word": "A contemptuous term used to refer to a member of any dark-skinned people. A contemptuous term used to refer to a person of any racial or ethnic origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc."
To put it simply for those who need it: Both the term, "Karen," and the, "N-word," can be held on an equal level. Both are contemptuous, hateful, ignorant, prejudice, and any other sort of buzzword we want to throw into the mix here. In most cases, these are the emotions and sentiments behind using the phrase.
Basically, if you're using the term to disparage someone then you're a problem. If you want to argue this, then I assume your comprehension skills are lacking and I'm not going to waste my time on you.
What's more important, intention or literal definition?
Just Be Nice
It isn't hard, it doesn't cost you anything, and most definitely it is the better choice to not disparage people in the hopes of subjugating and/or hurting them. If any word that comes out of your mouth, any utterance whatsoever is meant to hurt someone else, then it is best to not say it. Of course, I'm referring to people in existence and not concepts.
There are times when disparaging is progressive, and for the good of all. We may all disparage concepts, especially those concepts that support calling people, "Karen," or the, "N-word."
Disparaging things such as racism, sexism, unfair discrimination such as name-calling, murder, lies, etc. that is when disparaging is for the good of all. Like when religion disparages evil, or when the law disparages criminals. However, generalizing people using such an unfair method like name-calling, well you're just asking and even begging for such a concept to be abused more than it is used for constructive progress.
Don't disparage others!