The Tarring of 'CitiBike Karen'
State of the Union: Sarah Comrie is the latest victim of America’s “racism shortage.”
Sarah Comrie is the latest victim of America's "racism shortage." Comrie, a pregnant woman and physician's assistant at New York's Bellevue Hospital, was recorded earlier this month jostling for a CitiBike with a group of black teenagers. She wanted to take the bike, but the teenagers insisted that they had paid for it. One teenager kept his hand on the bike as Comrie called for help and started crying. One of the teenagers quipped that her baby was going to be born "retarded."
On Twitter, Comrie was branded a "Karen" and accused of "weaponizing her tears." Progressive commentator Monique Judge cryptically hoped Comrie "gets everything that’s coming to her." Bellevue promptly put her on leave, calling the incident "disturbing." Comrie was reportedly subjected to death threats. By asking for help and crying "white woman tears," in the parlance of the Twitter activists, Comrie was supposedly using the threat of lethal police violence to secure use of a bike she hadn't paid for.
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Forgetting, for a moment, the ridiculous conceit about police officers' propensity to use lethal force against black suspects, it appears the bike didn't even belong to the teenagers. Comrie's lawyer provided receipts demonstrating that she, not the teenagers, had paid for the bike, meaning it was the teenagers, not Comrie, who were attempting to take possession of a bike to which they had no right. A pregnant nurse, trying to get home after a long shift, was put on leave and subjected to death threats for insisting she have access to a bike that she apparently paid for.
The demand for racism outstrips the supply. Progressives see American politics and culture as perpetually a fight between benighted black Southerners circa 1955 and good old boy cops siccing dogs on protestors. They think the lot of American black people has not meaningfully changed since the middle of the 20th century and as a result have a deep, pent-up sense of indignation unleashed whenever they think an incident can be used to illustrate that racism is still a deeply ingrained feature of American life. Because such incidents are increasingly rare, the types of incidents leveraged for this purpose are increasingly marginal, and the intensity of progressives' response is increasingly disproportionate to the incidents themselves.
Unfortunately for people like Sarah Comrie, this psychodrama involves real human beings, who are tarred as bigots and made scapegoats to satisfy the felt need to "prove" America is still a racist country.