My Thoughts on the Victoria Secret’s ‘Karen’ 7/20/2021

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by Parker J. Cole

Victoria’s Secret was in the news recently as most of us watched a video of a White woman attacking a Black woman. When it became apparent to the White woman that the Black woman was recording her, she proceeded to spend nearly twenty minutes screaming, hollering, chasing the woman around the store, calling the police, and a whole host of other shenanigans.  

The White woman, now called the ‘Victoria’s Secret Karen’, understood the ramifications of her actions – that she would now become a target of the unseen masses. Twitter would share, discuss, and condemn her actions. Many people stated, “Let’s make sure she loses her job.” I noticed that the White woman shut down all her social media accounts. Though there was other information available online that people used to identify her, as of today, the woman has gone silent. 

Smart move.  

The Black woman being attacked expressed her disappointment in the way the mall security personnel, the police of that town, and regular bystanders acted about the incident. Most critics who viewed the video made mention of how if this had been in reverse – had the Black woman done as the White woman did, attacking her, falling on the floor, screeching, running around the store – the reaction of mall security and police would have been much different.  

In the video, you can hear the Black woman discuss as its happening, how the White woman calls the police and tells them that she’s being threatened by the Black woman though the video shows different. When the Black woman goes to complain about the actions of the mall security and then police officers, both show professional distance about it – at best. Dismissal, at worst. In fact, in the videos shared online, you can see the Black woman, when one of the officers get snippy with her, says to the effect, “Why don’t you act like that with [the White woman]?” 

Good question. 

I’m still not sure what drew me to this incident. Truthfully, I stay away from these videos. They’re depressing for the most part. Lord knows, there are dozens of recordings of “Karen” videos, often depicting a White woman (although the term ‘Karen’ has been expanded to reflect a certain type of attitude of any person, man or woman, of any ethnic or identity group) feeling entitled to act however they wish without the idea of repercussions.  

I remembered my own ‘Karen’ experience last year.  

It was nothing as spectacular as some of the other videos of these interactions that have gone viral. During lockdown, Sarah and I went for a walk. As I walked, I saw a woman on the other side of the street going the opposite way with her dog. I remember saying “Good morning”, but she didn’t respond. Thinking nothing of it, after all, I was just being polite, I went on my way. I saw a man with two little dogs, and I said “Good morning” to him as well. We chitchatted for a moment and then went on. 

I could hear the woman who didn’t speak to me, speak the man I’d just said hello to. I do remember from the corner of my eye seeing the woman walk across to my side of the street, but I think that’s when she was talking to the guy. 

I’m not sure what made me look behind me. When I did, I noticed that the woman was now behind me. I walked for some more, maybe another ten minutes.  I looked behind me and saw the woman was still there. Figuring maybe her home was going the same way, I kept going. 

When I turned a corner and got almost down to where I knew I’d turn another corner, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Someone’s watching you.” 

I glanced behind me and saw the same woman standing at the corner, watching me from down the street. The moment she saw me look back, she turned away in a huff and walked away. 

I realized then that she had been following me. 

There’s something so icky about when people do things like this. Based on some pre-conceived notion in their heads, a person is singled out as suspicious, dangerous, or untrustworthy. I was simply walking my dog like she was. Was it because she’d never seen me? Well, I’d never seen her, and I never once grew suspicious of her being on the street.  

Thankfully, that’s all there is the event. No words were exchanged (thank God) and nothing untoward happened.  

Often, the behavior of these people caught on camera can be confounding. In the Victoria’s Secret ‘Karen’, she attacked the woman, for whatever reason, but didn’t want to face the repercussions of her actions. Bystanders would tell the recording woman, “Why don’t you just take your camera away?” Another said, “Why not just go away? She’s sick.” But when you see the woman faking a faint, using her words in a way to try to make it look as if the Black woman was the aggressor, that’s not mental illness.  

That’s manipulation. 

No matter who the ‘Karen’ is, it’s all about the manipulation of the event. The need for control. There are people better than I am tackling the psychological basis behind these attitudes exhibited in these interactions. Theories abound from a history of racism in the U. S., to mental illness, to narcistic personalities, and more. However, I submit that those aren’t the root cause – merely symptoms. 

The root cause is sin. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” 

We can see certain pathways that lead to actions like this, but if you were to follow it down, you’d see a throbbing, pulsing core of darkness that is sin. What the cancel culture does to people is try to cancel them, to make them pay for their actions as the cancel culture perceives them.  I say perceive because not every interaction caught on video is a ‘Karen’ attitude. Some ARE mentally ill, others on drugs, and still others in some emotional pain. 

However, this doesn’t give anyone leave to get away with reckless actions.  

Reflecting on this, this doesn’t mean to stop recording. Recording protects yourself as well as give you some hope in proving your case. After all, some of these people will blatantly lie.  

We need to continue to pray for our world. I believe the pandemic brought out in bold colors the state of humanity for us to all to see just how bad off we are. Mankind is still sinful…and in need of a Savior.  

So it doesn’t matter if the symptoms are ‘Karens’ or police brutality. It doesn’t matter if the symptoms are racism or sexism. It doesn’t matter if the symptoms are human trafficking, or drugs. It’s all sin and we need to be saved from it. 

Jesus Christ is the only one who can and will.

About the Author:

Parker J ColeParker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com

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