It’s never a good idea to make legislation out of online memes. But that’s what the San Francisco Board of Supervisors did when they voted to pass the so-called “CAREN Act,” which will make it a civil crime to call the police for racially-motivated reasons. Named after the current meme of calling white women “Karens” when they call the cops – supposedly – because someone is black, the legislation is meant to allow the victims of such calls to sue the Karen in question.
We’re not sure how you could ever prove in court the racial animus behind such a call, but what does that matter? This is clearly about pandering to the left and not about actually making good legislation.
If signed into law by Mayor London Breed, the Caren Act would modify the San Francisco Police Code to “make it unlawful to cause a peace officer to contact a person with the specific intent to discriminate against that 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.”
The amendment clarifies that it will “create a civil cause of action for the victim of such discrimination against the person who caused such contact to occur, allowing a successful plaintiff to recover special and general damages of at least $1,000 plus costs and attorney’s fees, and punitive damages in the proper case.”
Tweeting from his highest horse, Supervisor Shamann Walton said, “911 calls are not customer service for people’s racism.”
Not everyone is thrilled about the bill. Some find it discriminates, first and foremost, against people who actually have the name Karen.
“I take the name of this Act introduced by Mr. Walton as highly insulting and ignorant,” wrote Carynn Silva. “Someone decided to create this racist meaning to the name ‘KAREN’ in which has come to symbolize a stereotype of whiteness and continue to use it and spread it around social media without the consideration that this name is of birth names people personally use.”
Well, we certainly understand being upset if that happens to be your name, but that is hardly the major problem with this ridiculous bill. The much bigger problem is that San Francisco is now generating legislation to fix a problem that doesn’t even necessarily exist in the first place. Just because we have memes and social media mobs claiming a problem exists doesn’t make it so. We know that’s a difficult concept for leftists to internalize, but it’s a fact.
The last thing San Francisco – or any other major city – needs is legislation that will deter people from calling the police.