The mission of this website is:
- to inform people of how serious the “Karen” meme fad has become and the dangers of this trend
- to help people understand why many women with the birth name Karen find this fad deeply hurtful
- to communicate the importance of treating all names with respect
We’re not calling for censorship or new laws, but for a return to civility and to the simple principle we were taught in grade school: Don’t make fun of people’s names. We want name-shaming to go the same way as ethnic jokes. Forty or fifty years ago, many people thought ethnic jokes were completely acceptable. Such jokes haven’t been made illegal, but the level of social acceptance has changed: a person who tried to tell a “Polish joke” in polite company would be met with a stunned silence and icy stares, at best. People of Polish ancestry can watch television without having to see Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher telling “Polish jokes.” We think that name-shaming can and should become socially unacceptable in a similar way.
We also think that there must be better ways to call attention to injustice and reprehensible behavior (such as abuse of retail workers) than to pin it on a personal name. Serious problems such as racist harassment and behaviors that can easily get people killed need to be called out as what they are—abhorrent racism—in ways that don’t obscure the names of the perpetrators or the seriousness of their actions.
You can start your exploration of the site with the core articles in the section Basics. You can also go to the Empathy Generator to get a glimpse of how the internet would look if people were abusing your name instead of ‘Karen’.
As the site develops, we’ll have articles about related issues, including other ways in which some people think they have a right to attack other people’s names (such as deliberately refusing to pronounce names correctly or making fun of people’s names for being ‘funny’ or ‘ethnic’). We want to raise awareness of why all of this behavior is hurtful and should not be accepted as “just a joke”. A person’s name is an essential part of his or her sense of self. Respect for names is respect for other human beings. We welcome emails from all site visitors, whatever your name may be, who want to share their experiences with name-shaming and name-based bullying.