Things That Matter

‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ Strike Again: White Couple Blocks Latino Man From His Own Apartment Building

Another day and another white person – or in this case, a white couple – have terrorized a person of color and gone viral in the process. Many are calling this white couple ‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ after video shows them blocking a Latino man from entering his own apartment complex.

Michael Barajas, the Mexican-American man who the couple targeted, filmed the incident just as the couple became violent and threatened him with further violence.

The encounter is just the latest after a barrage of similar instances of racial profiling that have continued over the backdrop of anti-racism protests. 

A now viral video shows a white couple blocking a Mexican-American man from entering his own apartment complex.

Michael Barajas was pulling into his apartment complex’s garage in San Francisco, when he became the latest victim of a ‘Karen’ and ‘Ken.’ He had just returned home from grocery shopping and used his key fob to open the building’s garage door when suddenly a white SUV pulled in ahead of him and refused to move forward.

The couple in the white SUV claimed Barajas was trespassing, called him a criminal and threatened to call the police.

“That’s fine. Call the cops. Why are you even calling the cops about, Karen?” the video shows Barajas responding.

In an Instagram post, Barajas said the white man “thought I was trying to tailgate them to break in and rob them.” One of Barajas’ neighbors, who is also white, was outside smoking and intervened in the situation. The driver then got out of a white SUV with Florida plates, beat the neighbor up, “and threatened to shoot us if we didn’t leave,” said Barajas.

Barajas says he started filming the incident once the couple got aggressive and threatening.

Barajas, 28, told NBC’s Bay Area affiliate KNTV that the situation kept escalating and turned dramatic when the white man in the car got aggressive, which prompted him to start recording.

“Given the current political climate, and certainly I’m Mexican American, and that rhetoric of us being criminals, it just hit hard, it hit close to home,” Barajas told KNTV.

After several minutes, a bystander who also lives in the apartment complex, intervened. “Dude, pull into your space or go!” the bystander said.

The man, who has since been identified as William Beasley, then exits the SUV from the passenger side, confronts the person who hit his car and reportedly assaults him by knocking him to the ground, according to ABC7 News

According to Barajas, the woman in the SUV then got out to try and coax Beasley back into the car. She also allegedly tried to pay Barajas and the neighbor (who had been assaulted) to not call the cops or file charges.

Since the video’s release, the white man – William Beasley – has been fired from his tech job.

Barajas shared the video of the incident to his Instagram, where it has been seen more than 150,000 times.

Since the video was uploaded, APEX Systems, where Beasley was an employee, has fired him after conducting an internal review of the incident. In a brief statement, they said they would not “tolerate violent or racist behavior of any kind.”

And the apartment complex where the encounter took place, SOMA Residences, said in a statement that they’re ‘actively working to resolve’ the incident and do not condone ‘violent acts, aggression toward any residents, discrimination and harassment.’

Barajas said he’s satisfied with the outcome and feels inspired to keep speaking out on behalf of minorities.

Credit: Michael Barajas / Facebook

From his apartment complex to the bystander who intervened on his behalf, Barajas said he’s grateful for the response he’s received and for how far he’s been able to come in life.

“I’ve always been from a really poor, poor immigrant family, so I think what happened just struck very hard for me. I felt, for me, that I do not belong here,” he said in a now-deleted Instagram post.

In the same post, he questions what would have happened had this happened to an undocumented person and didn’t know how to handle the situation? It’s a very good point that will cause many people to pause and re-examine how they react to situations like this one.

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