The uptick of the so-called “Karens” of the world has inspired meme-worthy video footage and even severe consequences to those who abused their white privilege. Now, a California lawmaker is proposing the CAREN Act, which will help authorities throw the book at anyone using 911 in a fashion that suggests that a person’s race is the reason for the call.
San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the ordinance on Tuesday (July 7) in City Hall, which would make discriminatory calls illegal.
“Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies,” read a tweet Walton posted on Tuesday shortly after introducing the ordinance.
The CAREN Act stands for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies as noted in the tweet, and would bolster already-existing laws against using 911 in an incorrect or non-emergency manner. The act comes on the heels of many well-publicized incidents of white people calling or threatening to call police on people of color despite not breaking any laws or exhibiting violence towards the individuals placing the calls.
In social media circles, the women who have carried out these potentially dangerous acts have been dubbed “Karens” and the slang term has gotten pushback with some even daring to call the nickname racist.
California states that filing a false police report via 911 is a criminal offense but as of now, there aren’t any legal ramifications for calling the authorities on someone due to how they look, their race, or religion.
On Twitter, news of the proposed Caren Act spread with approving comments and the requisite criticism one can expect on such a topic. We’ve got all sides of the reactions below.