Karens, Beckys & Chads: White People Who Intend To Cause Harm to Black People

Article Originally Published On Afro.com, Written By Micah Green

The undefeated Internet has blessed pop culture with naming White women, particularly White women freaking out on people of color, “Karens.” The equally undefeated Beyoncé has gifted the world with calling sneaky White women “Becky with the Good Hair.” And, with the absurdities that come with continued racism, racist White men were recently deemed the title of Chad.  

While the beauty of Black resilience has led to people of all races posting viral videos and calling out unruly Karens, Beckys and Chads in all their freak out glories, the posts come with reality checks- 1) racism is alive and well and 2) sometimes those childish fits, unwarranted phone calls to police and self-appointed following of Black bodies become deadly.

For the purposes of this article, this reporter will break down three types of Karens, Beckys and Chads: Cuckoo Karens, Buggin’ Beckys and Vigilante Chads.

Cuckoo Karens

Thanks to the Internet, Cuckoo Karens are the gift that keeps giving, as crazy White women prove their racist ways with meltdowns and made up stories that look and sound like the trailers for award winning dramas.  

While they’re mostly all bark no bite, these cuckoo Karens make things hard for Black people simply by their nosiness, made up accounts and craziness.

A perfect example of a Cuckoo Karen would be the Seattle woman who, on June 22, had extreme road rage, cut off Karlos Dillard, a Black comedian and influencer, and then began yelling racial obscenities out of the car.  

“I would like to make it clear that the incident was initiated by the lady’s road rage and her flicking me off and screaming obscenities outside her window and brake checking me.  I then went around her car and drove away and she proceeded to follow me.  This is when this incident changed from road rage to a racial incident,” Dillard wrote in a statement posted to Instagram.

When Dillard confronted her on camera, she began shrieking, hiding behind her car, panicking uncontrollably and yelling that the comedian was attacking her, even as he asked, “Karen, are you okay?” 

In a shortened version of the video on the Instagram account, “Karens Going Wild,” Dillard shows that the erratic White woman was being comforted, although the comedian was the true victim.  While the White woman has not been identified, Dillard has since received death threats for recording and posting the racism.  

Buggin’ Beckys

While the names Karen and Becky are utilized interchangeably, this reporter contends, Buggin’ Beckys are the more problematic of the two types of White women.  They’re sneaky in making Black people’s lives miserable, but cause more harm and sometimes get authorities involved.  In modern day, they’re Karens with a cell phone and a plan to escalate situations with intervention from police, but even in the days of Jim Crowe (and before), Buggin’ Beckys existed and created ways to bother or harm Black lives.

In May 2020, a White woman named Amy Cooper, called the police on a Black man, Christian Cooper (no relation, but tons of irony) after he told her to put her dog on a leash in an area in Central Park where it clearly states that is the rule.  When Cooper began filming the White woman, she quickly turned on her Buggin’ Becky, and told him she would call the police and say, “there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”  She then proceeded to do so, pleading to the police dispatcher to send help.  Buggin’ Becky Cooper, who worked for Franklin Templeton, was fired from her job following the Black Cooper’s video going viral, and the major investments managing company later tweeted, “We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”

In April of 2018, Jennifer Schulte, now rechristened “BBQ Becky” by the Internet, made headlines when she called the police on a Black family barbequing in Oakland, California. As is the case with many Beckys (or Karens) there’s a freak out and made up lie, but this situation escalated as she worked to get police to report to the scene of her made up crime- Barbequing While Black.  In the released police calls, Schulte tells a dispatcher that the barbeque needs to be “dealt with immediately,” so “that coals don’t burn more children and we don’t have to pay more taxes.”  She then called back later demanding police arrive and saying, “I’m really scared! You’ve got to come quick!”  

A bystander recorded a 25-minute video of the altercation, which went viral.  Memes of BBQ Becky in sunglasses, a hoodie and angry scowl on her face while on the phone with a dispatcher are still being used two years later as a symbol of absurd White rage. While Schulte’s racism was taunted for the world to see, not all situations end well for Black people who encounter Buggin’ Beckys.

In August of 1955, Carolyn Bryant was a Buggin Becky when she grew angry after a 14-year-old Emmett Till allegedly flirted with her at her family grocery store in Mississippi.  The common story is that Till whistled, but there are variations of his flirting approach, however, Buggin’ Becky Bryant became furious from the teen’s innocent advance and was said to storm out of the store to get her shotgun.  Although Bryant did not directly murder the 14-year-old (we’ll get to his murderers in a second), this Buggin Becky served no time.  In 2007, Bryant admitted that she lied under oath when she claimed he said unspeakable things, touched her and whistled.  “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” Bryant was said to have told Timothy Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till.

Vigilante Chads

In certain instances, such as in the case of George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin in February 2012, a Chad can go from following a Black body without cause to murdering – those are the Vigilante Chads.  These racist, self-appointed neighborhood watchmen take the law into their own hands and harm or kill Black bodies.

 Zimmerman is just one example of those Vigilante Chads who get away with murdering Black bodies.  The police dispatcher told Zimmerman, who pursued a 17-year-old Martin, to stop following the teenager; yet he ignored those orders, got into a tussle and fatally shot him.  Because of Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground Law,” Zimmerman was acquitted of murder. While Martin’s death served as the original catalyst to the Black Lives Matter movement, Zimmerman is a free man and the fallen teenager, who never got to adulthood, is a hashtag.

However, before there was Zimmerman, there were Vigilante Chads, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, the murderers who boasted about killing Emmett Till and became national celebrities.   In the wee hours of August 28, 1955, Bryant and Milam, who were not present for the alleged flirting, took Till from his uncle, Moses Wright’s home, beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head and then threw his body, tied to a 75-pound cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the Tallahatchie River.  After the jury acquitted them of murdering Emmett Till, Bryant and Milam bragged about their deeds and sold their interview to a reporter for $4,000, with the story being published in {Look} magazine in January 1956.

One of the most recent heinous examples of Vigilante Chads come in the father-son duo of Gregory and Travis McMichael, who killed 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.  Arbery was unarmed and on a run, when he was followed and ultimately murdered on Feb. 23 of this year.  The McMichaels, aren’t the only Vigilante Chads in this case though.  William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded the viral video of Arbery being killed, was said to have followed the 25-year-old before he was fatally shot.  All three White men have been indicted on charges including malice and felony murder.

Article Source: https://afro.com/karens-beckys-chads-white-people-who-intend-to-cause-harm-to-black-people/