Amy Cooper is not just another Karen. She is a criminal and a sociopath.
Tuesday at 4:34 pm
Tuesday at 4:34 pm
The Amy Cooper v. Christian Cooper case has been analyzed to death, and I don’t have any particularly new/nuanced views of it. But I feel it’s important to not dismiss Amy as just “another Karen” like Lisa Alexander, or as an extreme case of unconscious bias, or as a woman reacting in fear to a strange man in the park. It’s much more insidious than that. Amy Cooper’s actions embody explicit racism and conscious bias. The moment her theatrical panic voice came on while talking to the police, there was nothing unconscious or implicit going on there. I’m tired of reading that interpretation in various analyses and comments. Amy was going in for the kill.
Consider the trademarked Karen tale of Lisa Alexander. Lisa recently interrogated her SF neighbor (unbeknownst to her) for chalking “Black Lives Matter” on his own property. She lied about knowing the owners and called the cops on James Juanillo, who is Filipino. She, like BBQ Becky and others before her, nosed into someone else’s business and tried to get the cops to enforce a peace that exists solely for and in her privileged mind. Classic Karen behavior. The internet exploded on her, her business has since collapsed, and her partner, who was also caught Karen-ing in the video, was fired from his job. Lisa subsequently apologized to James.
Amy Cooper, on the other hand, is next-level. I watched that video once, twice, three times, becoming more horrified with each viewing. She wasn’t nosing or Karen-ing into Christian Cooper’s peaceful holiday bird-watching. She Kool-Aid-guy busted her way in, in full attack mode, after being called out for not leashing her dog. Christian Cooper is more the Karen here, honestly, by calling her out and nosing into her business to achieve his birding peace. As neither dog owner nor birder, I admittedly found the offering of dog treats by a stranger pretty weird. Not threatening, but unnecessary—felt like a real Karen kinda move to make his point. Feel free to correct me. Anyway, little did Christian know he Karen-ed his way into the psyche of a sociopath.
Moreover, Amy’s weaponization of privilege is a disturbing thing to see happen in real time. She went from irritation to defensiveness to anger to intimidation to vengeance in under a minute. If you can bear to watch the video again, note the change in her vocal register/inflection when she speaks to the police. She took on a new character with her faux-panic voice and fabricated something to get the cops on her side. She deliberately framed an innocent man, all because he’d bruised her fragile ego. This atrocious framing is beyond Karen’s typical intentions. Karen is usually so lost in her world of privilege that she wholly believes that her complaints/entitlement are valid. So we quickly dismiss these incidents as individual racism and a failure of that one bigoted individual.
Amy is different. She assaulted Christian with the most powerful weapon she had–she rolled the Bad-Cop dice for Christian, knowing full well that the stakes could be his life. Sure, Christian ended up fine, but that’s likely only because there was video. So arrest and fine Amy Cooper. Show there are real consequences to a false 911 call and willfully endangering someone else’s life. Otherwise, white privilege will have triumphed again. Her loss of her job and dog are merely the result of social outcry. She broke the law and should face those consequences, too.
Her apology, unsurprisingly, was insincere and remarkably unapologetic. She declared herself “not a racist” while justifying her behavior as a fearful reaction to “that man.” As many have noted already, Amy was not remotely scared; rather, she was so focused on intimidating Christian that she abused her beloved dog to achieve her mission. So when her internet reckoning came, Amy didn’t even apologize to Christian. She instead apologized to “everyone,” i.e. the white world whose outrage canceled her job and her dog within a day.
Amy and Christian’s story also surfaces the real, recurrent kicker about police and racism in this country—it’s not just the Karens or police that are bad standalone. It’s much bigger than that, and we are all a part of the problem. Karens can’t stop Karen-ing, because our society continues to exalt entitlement and because Karens have the police at their disposal to validate them. And our over-militarized, militant, corrupt police are a reflection of us; the police are merely enforcement agents of the values we have promulgated. Cooper v. Cooper spells out what can happen when our society not only condones, but indulges systemic racism.