If you spend any time on the internet whatsoever, you will undoubtedly have heard of a ‘Karen’ before. But for those of you who might need a quick refresher, Karen is a moniker used for an entitled and hectoring white woman who demands to speak to the manager or tries to call the police for the most trivial things. Her anger and suspicion are usually motivated by racism.
In the past, Karens have gone viral for incidents such as threatening to call the police on an 8-year-old Black girl that sold water on the sideline, as well as making headlines for calling the police on a group of Black people who were barbecuing in an area of a park where that was banned.
And now, in another instalment of ‘racist white women attacks people in public’, we have Train Karen. Train Karen, also known as Brianna Pinnix, is a talent acquisition specialist based in New York.
In a now-viral video, Pinnix, who appears drunk, is shown berating a group of German tourists in a train towards New York. Having insisted that the group were speaking about her, the woman was filmed screaming: “Let’s not let immigrants take up our country,” and “How about you get the f**k out of our country,” at the group of young men. The group were visibly uncomfortable and surprised by the unprovoked attack.
Interestingly, Pinnix’s boyfriend is seen holding her back from the group and pushing her back towards their seats. Also visibly appalled by her behaviour the man can be heard saying: “I’m an immigrant too, you know that, right?”
Since the video’s release, Train Karen has been sacked from her position at the New York-based healthcare technology company Capital Rx. A spokesperson made a statement in response to the backlash on Wednesday: “Our company has a zero-tolerance policy around prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour. The former employee’s actions and words are not representative of Capital Rx, and we offer our sincerest apology to those who were hurt.”
Karen attacks are usually directed at people of colour. So, some might be surprised to note that even white people seem to be invoking her ire now. Apparently, Karen has graduated from racism to just bottom-line xenophobic against anyone who dares to speak a different language on a train in the US.