Last week, a Mexican American man named Michael Barajas was blocked from entering his own parking garage in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood by a couple in an SUV. The SUV driver, William Beasley, was caught on camera repeatedly getting out of his vehicle to threaten Barajas. When he told Barajas he was calling the police, Barajas responded: “That’s fine, call the cops! What are you calling the cops about, Karen?”
The exchange was, most of all, a jarring illustration that racism is alive and kicking in San Francisco. But it also served to illustrate that we as a nation have been so laser-focused on Karens behaving badly, we forgot to even give a name to the men who conduct themselves just as atrociously.
The hashtag #KarensGoneWild is a large section of Twitter dedicated to women who racially profile others, refuse to wear masks in stores, and generally behave with an inflamed sense of self-entitlement. Clips of men doing the same thing aren’t hard to find, but they often fail to garner the same degree of attention.
Last week, 57-year-old Steven Dudek called the cops on a party of five Black and Latino men and accused them of harassing him. He shouted “White lives matter too!” in the middle of his phone call to 911. In May, a Minneapolis man named Tom Austin called the cops on a group of younger Black men for using the gym in their shared office building. (He said he didn’t think they looked like they belonged there.) And a few weeks ago, a man was caught on camera calling a Black man “boy” and telling him to “fetch me some water.” Despite no women being featured in the video, the clip was hashtagged “#Karens” and “#KarensGoneWild” on Twitter.
Some corners of the internet have been actively trying to fill the Karen-adjacent void. In its reporting of the Beasley-Barajas altercation, SFist referred to Beasley as a “Ken”—a term that has also previously been used by the Fatherly website. Quora and Reddit users are conflicted, with a mixed bag of suggestions including “Thad,” “Donald,” “Frank,” “Greg,” “Todd” and “Kevin.”