In recent months a slew of vile white women—nicknamed Karens—have called the police on Black and Brown people simply for existing. Whether it be listening to music in a park or walking the dog, some white women are threatened by the mere presence of BIPOC and call 911 for illegitimate complaints which seriously put the person of color’s life at risk as police are known for their deadly violence towards “suspects” of color. Let’s call these wrongful calls what they are–hate crimes.
In San Francisco, a couple called the police on a man who wrote “Black Lives Matter” in chalk in front of his Pacific Heights home. The northern Californian city has had enough of this nonsense and introduced a bill in July to make racially-motivated phone calls to 911 illegal. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the progressive CAREN Act bill. The ironic acronym may be a nod to the insulting moniker given to these delusional white women but it stands for Caution Against Racial and Exploitative Non-Emergencies.
The CAREN Act aims to “prevent false emergency calls with the specific intent to discriminate against a person or otherwise infringe the person’s rights or cause the person specified harms on the basis of the person’s race, color, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, weight, or height,” according to a press release.
These calls to emergency personnel are a waste of precious resources needed for those who truly call in with a life-threatening crisis, not the unnecessary policing of people of color. The racist calls, which often are based on false accusations, have always been a no-no as frivolous 911 calls are prohibited. The new legislation sets a concrete regulation that allows civil penalties of at least $1,000 for wrongful calls to attempt to dispatch police. People now have the right to sue a 911 caller in civil court. Ideally, people will start to think twice before calling the police over legal activities, such as listening to music or bird watching.
Shamann Walton, a member of the board, tweeted “911 calls, are not customer service for people’s racism.” Hopefully, the Caret act will set precedent for the rest of the nation. Other cities and states should follow suit with similar legislation to protect BIPOC from disturbing and downright dangerous behavior from Karens.