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Karen vs San Francisco: The New CAREN act

San Francisco might be ready for the “CAREN” act (Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies) which was introduced in July at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting. Tuesday, the board made a unanimous decision to pass the act, upon first read. The bill will face one more round of voting, before being sent out for the mayor to sign.

As you may have guessed, the name is a play on the social media moniker given to people who make racially charged 911 phone calls.

An act like this will be met with its supporters and its detractors. Residents have written letters to the board suggesting that they reconsider the name of the proposed act. Believing the name Karen is both sexist and discriminatory against women who actually have the name Karen. Indeed, Karen isn’t the only perpetrator of the 911 call. There’s Chad, Brad, and several other guys - but somehow social media has stopped at Karen.

"The name of the act places a target on my name as a racist and I am not," one resident wrote in a letter to the board.

The Caren Act hopes to address the recent upswing of prejudiced citizens weaponizing the police to harm people of color. This past summer, a white woman called the cops on a Black man who was bird watching Central Park. Also, a white hotel employee called the police on a Black woman who was using the hotel pool with her children. Passing this bill, could weed out the potential unnecessary calls 911 receives about people of color who are just trying to exist.

This law mirrors the AB 1550 bill introduced by Rob Bota, which made it unlawful for a caller to fabricate false racially biased emergency reports.

California Assemblyman Rob Bonta stated: "This bill could protect millions of Californians from becoming targets of hate and prevent the weaponization of our law enforcement against communities of color,"

Hopefully more states across the country make a conscious effort to combat Karen’s and keep residents of color safe from the potential danger these phone calls may bring.

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