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Morning Poll: Do you consider ‘Karen’ an offensive term?

A file photo of a business woman who is stressed and frustrated (Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash)

Karen” has been making the rounds again in Arlington.

The slang term, popularized after a 2020 incident in New York City that got national attention, refers to “a middle-class white woman perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal,” according to Wikipedia.

It was brought last week in the context of the Democratic primary.

Geographic distribution of votes for Commonwealth’s Attorney on Election Day (via Virginia Public Access Project)

From an ARLnow article Friday morning:

[Political consultant Ben] Tribbett was more blunt about what he saw as the electoral dynamic, citing the geographic distribution of votes in the Commonwealth’s Attorney race in particular.

“It’s the Karens versus the non-Karens,” he said. “Clearly, there’s a divide in the community that jumps out at you.”

“When that divide crosses over into multiple races and they follow the same pattern of results, even when fought on different issues… it tells you this is a lot more about different visions for the community than it is about any individual issue,” Tribbett added.

That did not sit well with some segment of our readership.

“Karen” in that context is generally considered a pejorative term, but at least one reader saw it as a slur, and wanted its use — including by those in the comment section — banned.

From an email we received:

Please STOP allowing ArlNow commenters to call women who are concerned with deteriorating quality-of-life in Arlington, and speak out about it, “Karens”.

The meme “Karen” has evolved over several years into borderline hate speech directed against middle aged White women who are unhappy with deteriorating quality of life here (e.g., crime in their neighborhoods) and call ACPD when, for example, they see suspicious behavior.

Charles, Arlington

Do you agree with the emailer that the term “Karen” is offensive? Or something more benign?

Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

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