Karen is a term used in internet slang to refer to a middle-aged white woman who is entitled, angry and usually wearing a blonde bob haircut. She's usually found in Starbucks or Costco and will ask to speak to the manager, essentially trying to get her way with employees.
The term Karen originated on the internet and has risen in popularity recently, according to Know Your Meme, a website dedicated to memes. It's akin to the "OK, Boomer" trend that has popped up in the past few years to depict older, middle-aged white people.
However, the latest incarnation of the name Karen is not just an old person, but one whose behavior is racially charged and dangerous. The most recent 'Karen' in popular culture is Amy Cooper, a woman who called the police on a Black man who was birdwatching in Central Park and falsely accused him of threatening her.
While many people have pointed out that the name is a sexist one, other people argue that Karen is more accurate and offensive because it refers to an entitled and self-entitled person who uses her privilege. Activist Alicia Sanchez Gill and writer Tayiba Attiah say that the 'Karen' is actually a black American slang term for someone who demands or is demanding in public - rooted in a culture of racism and oppression that reaches back centuries.
Some activists point to the Wall of Moms bloc of women in the current protest movement as examples of non-Karens, who use their privilege to challenge racial inequality and systemic racism. But this can be argued as a type of denial, as the women are simply using their power to push back against systemic racism and classism – not because they are trying to be "Karens."