You’re suspended, Karen

Are they kidding???????

Uber has suspended its head of diversity, equity and inclusion after Black and Hispanic employees complained about the workplace events she moderated exploring the experience of white American women under the title “Don’t Call Me Karen”.

That’s about as stark as it gets. It’s ok to single women out for abuse, as if women were the dominant privileged default sex.

Lee’s suspension, which was first reported by the New York Times, follows mounting internal discontent over two “Don’t Call Me Karen” sessions that she convened on Zoom for up to 500 employees. The events, one in April and the second last week, were billed as “diving into the spectrum of the American white woman’s experience from some of our female colleagues, particularly how they navigate around the ‘Karen’ persona”.

Not permitted. The “white” part completely erases the “women” part (see also: “cis”), such that women who have the bad taste to be white are more powerful and oppressive and domineering than any other kind of person, including white men. (What’s the male equivalent of “Karen”? There isn’t one. Funny how that works.)

The sessions were held as part of a “Moving Forward” series of discussions on race and minority experiences organized by the company in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. The focus on the discomfort of white women specifically over the term “Karen” was denounced by several employees as being insensitive towards people of color.

In internal Slack channels for Black and Hispanic Uber employees seen by the Times, workers said they had felt lectured at. “It was more of a lecture – I felt like I was being scolded for the entirety of that meeting,” one Black woman wrote.

Now ask the Karens what they feel like.

Another said that she didn’t understand the premise of the session: “I think when people are called Karens it’s implied that this is someone that has little empathy to others or is bothered by minorities others that don’t look like them. Like, why can’t bad behavior not be called out?”

Point completely missed. It’s not “people” who are called Karens, it’s women. It’s not bad behavior that’s being called out, it’s bad behavior by women, as if women had a monopoly on it. It’s misogynist, in just the way it would be racist for me to “call out” Juans and Kanyes for bad behavior.

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