Things That Matter

A New Law Targets ‘Karens’ And Could Finally Make Their Behavior A Crime

The ‘Karen’ meme has exploded across the Internet, as entitled white people have terrorized Black and Brown people across the country. It’s a meme that makes light of their ridiculous behavior, but it’s also shining a light on the larger issue of racism and racial inequality in the United States.

Although many of the videos rack up millions of views, it’s important to remember that many of the actions these ‘Karens’ take against people of color are actually threatening the lives of these same people. One false phone call to the police accusing a Black man of harassment can lead to his death at the hands of racist policing.

Now, elected officials across the country are thinking of ways to hold Karen (and her male counterpart, ‘Ken’) accountable for putting Black and Brown lives in jeopardy.

San Francisco introduced the first ever CAREN Act – which would hold Karens responsible for their dangerous actions.

Following a spate of high-profile 911 calls against people of color, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton on Tuesday introduced an ordinance that would make discriminatory calls for police illegal.

Walton dubbed the ordinance the CAREN Act (Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies), in an apparent nod to the popularized slang name that refers to an entitled white woman complaining about people of color. The legislation would amend the San Francisco Police Code to make it unlawful for someone to “fabricate false racially biased emergency reports,” according to a news release from Walton.

“Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting,” Walton tweeted. “This is the CAREN we need.”

Making a false police report is already illegal but Walton’s bill would also make it illegal to fabricate a report based on someone’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender or sexual orientation.

San Francisco is just the latest city to consider such legislation.

The San Francisco CAREN bill comes just after a similar bill was introduced in California’s State Assembly by Rob Bonta. His bill would classify discriminatory 911 calls as a hate crime in the state. 

Meanwhile, on the other coast, New York state lawmakers approved legislation last month that allows people “a private right of action” if they believe someone called a police officer on them because of their race, gender or nationality. The move by New York came after Amy Cooper, a white woman in New York City, gained national attention after a video went viral of her calling the police on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park.

In 2019, the City Commission in Grand Rapids, Michigan, held a public hearing on a “proposed human rights ordinance” criminalizing racially motivated calls to 911 with a fine of up to $500.

And in Los Angeles, the city council is exploring “criminal penalties, rights of victims to bring private civil actions and cost recovery by the City,” he tweeted.

These new bills and proposals come in the wake of countless incidents involving white people falsely accusing Black and Brown people of all sorts of activities.

Credit: @rmtennell / @melodyMcooper / @jaimetoons/ Twitter

Just a few weeks ago, a white hotel employee in North Carolina called the police on a guest, a Black woman and her children, who were using the hotel’s swimming pool. A white woman also pulled a gun on a Black woman and her daughter. Then there was the woman in an LA suburb who took hammers to her neighbor’s car and told them to “go back to Mexico.”

But few are as famous as Amy Cooper – or Central Park Karen – who called the cops on a Black birdwatcher, accusing him of harassing her.

Unfortunately, the Karen phenomenon isn’t an isolated occurrence – it’s an everyday one for millions of Black and Brown Americans.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

Fierce

Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

Paul Morigi / Getty

As most Black families in the United States know, growing up as a Black person is seen as a great threat in and of itself.

In a country where the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is higher than that for any other ethnicity, it’s no wonder that this is true. Or, why learning to handle the police while Black is a lesson taught so prominently beneath the roofs of Black households.

In a recent episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama revealed that she and her brother Craig Robinson learned this lesson years ago in a confrontation with the police.

Speaking with her brother in her podcast, Obama recalled the day Robinson was accused of stealing his own bike.

Speaking with her brother, a former basketball coach, and her mother Marian Robinson about childhood and parenting, Obama brought up a moment in which Craig was stopped by a couple of police officers while riding his bike.

At the time, Robinson was about 10 or 11 years old and had been gifted the yellow ten-speed Goldblatt by his parents. While riding the bike, a police officer grabbed hold of it and refused to let go despite Craig’s pleas and protests that the bike was his.

“I was like ‘Oh, you got this all wrong, this is my bike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a stolen bike,’ and [the cop] would not believe me, and I was absolutely heartbroken. And I finally said to him, ‘Listen, you can take me to my house, and I will prove to you, this is my bike,” Robinson recalled.

Fortunately, Obama’s mother was home at the time and ushered Craig inside of the house, while she dealt with the police. As her son recalls, “she had that tight lip” as she confronted the officers who had accused her son of stealing his own bike.

Robinson revealed that she discovered the officers were friends with the people who had made the complaint about Craig stealing the bicycle and demanded they come to her house so that they could “admit [they] made a serious mistake.”

Robinson described the experience as a “heartbreaking” one at various times throughout the interview.

“I could tell [the cops] were trying to ask me questions that would trip me up,” he recalled. “If I wasn’t so sure that that bike was mine and showed any kind of reticence, I could see them taking me off to the police station, not calling mom until after I’ve been, you know, booked or whatever they do.”

At one point, Obama remarked that the story is particularly familiar with ones being experienced across the country, even today. “Nobody thinks about, you know, the fact that we all come from good families that are trying to teach values, but when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being Black is, is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate outside of our homes with a level of caution, and fear, because you never know,” she recalled

Obama’s mother also described the experience as being “part of a culture” among police.

“Because those two policemen were Black. And they were acting exactly the same as any other policeman,” her mother remarked. “It’s almost like, this is what they thought they were, how they were thought they were supposed to act.”

All three family members noted how the incident is so familiar today. Despite the fact that decades have passed. “That’s the perfect example of what all of these young, Black people are dealing with now, because this was, almost fifty years ago?” Craig Robinson said.

Listen to the clip from the podcast here.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

Fierce

“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

CBS Television Distribution

Back in the 90s, Tia and Tamera Mowry were experiencing the height of their fame while on the hit show “Sister, Sister.” The series which followed Tia and Tamera as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell saw two actors play the part of two identical twins separated at birth and then accidentally reunited in their teens. It won several Emmys and Kids’ Choice Awards and cemented itself as essential Black TV. As a result, the twin sisters scored roles on other series, movies, and all kinds of media attention. And not for a lack of racist incidents that attempted to hold them back

Recently, Tia opened up about her experience as a Black teen actor in the 90s and shared a story that clearly still hurts her heart.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Tia shared that she and her sister were once rejected from appearing in a teen magazine cover because of their skin color.

Speaking about the incident, Tia recalled how she’d been subjected to racism when she was a teen on the show and attempting to be on the cover of a popular magazine at the time.

“It was around Sister, Sister days. The show was extremely popular. We were beating — like in the ratings — Friends around that time,” Tia said. “So, my sister and I wanted to be on the cover of this very popular magazine at the time — it was a teenage magazine. We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell.”

The actress teared up as she went onto recall that “Here I am as an adult and, wow, it still affects me, how someone could demean your value because of the color of your skin,” she said. “I will never forget that. I wish I would have spoken up. I wish I would have said something then. I wish I would have had the courage to speak out and say that isn’t right.”

Years later Tia says she has used that moment to drive her in raising her two children.

Tia (who is a mother to Cree, 9, and Cairo, 2) says that “to this day, I’m always telling my beautiful brown-skinned girl that she is beautiful.”

“What I’ve done with my children is [reading] books,” she explained to People. “You can read incredible books to your children about Rosa Parks, about Martin Luther King Jr. — pivotal people that had a huge impact within the movement.”

“The other thing is through television, especially during this time,” she went onto explain. “I was just having my children watch a whole bunch of [things] that starred a lot of African American actors, and one of them is [TheWiz. You had Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. It was just such a great story. And my son … he loved it, [and] it’s important.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com