A Pakistani version of the white ‘Karen’ surfaced on social media when a woman berated workers at a restaurant because they allegedly asked for her vaccination certificate in Karachi, a video that left Pakistanis both ashamed and amused.
In a viral video, the unmasked woman unleashed fury at an employee of a high-end eatery and told him she was an activist and the employee had violated her ‘constitutional rights’ by apparently asking for a vaccination certificate. The women proceeded to tell the worker that he was documented for violating her ‘medical privacy’, before she stormed out of the restaurant.
Self proclaimed human right activist at Test Kitchen in Karachi yesterday. pic.twitter.com/El7ki1VJLE
— barimian (@barimian) October 7, 2021
Many users likened the woman to a Pakistani ‘Karen’. The word Karen has been used to denote racist, usually white women, who behave like know-it-alls.
Rare sighting of a karen in karachi https://t.co/ZtJG2GWyya
— Ezza (@EzzaSyed) October 7, 2021
Karens exist in every form and culture. https://t.co/dqBzPvXVwT
— Aisha. (@aishha17_) October 7, 2021
New species of Karen https://t.co/Bx0xMddOU7
— ♣️ (@enfancy) October 7, 2021
Omg Pakistani Karen spotted!!!! GUYS!
Vaccination card is not a private record https://t.co/FeefGFVwQ7
— Fatima Fakhir Musharraf (@witchdemigodjay) October 7, 2021
Several users unpacked the technical soundness of the woman’s allegations. A user pointed out that asking for a certificate was not an affront to the constitution. They added that the woman could probably be charged with assault and harassment herself.
Asking for proof of vaccination is not violation of the Constitution, law, or any codes of human rights. This self-proclaimed activist is thick headed and, if she knew any better, can faced charges for assault and harassment + possible privacy laws
Also, she’s not wearing a mask https://t.co/iypm1bycW9
— Cashmir (@bachissback) October 7, 2021
Another said that vaccine certificates were public information. She furthered that anti-vaxxers also referred to themselves as activists.
vaccination status is not personal information. Its a public record.
Anti vaxxers also call themselves human rights activists just saying… https://t.co/wCafnPGmRK
— Fatima Ahmed (@FatiimaaAhmed) October 7, 2021
One said sarcastically that calling oneself a human rights activist did not come with the prerequisite to be an actual ‘human’.
There is no qualification of having to be a HUMAN before calling yourself a Human Right Activist. Lol https://t.co/6H0AeTdscL
— Dewan Sachal (@essel1) October 7, 2021
Users also hoped for strict punishment for the woman and defended the restaurant workers for not giving in to the ‘Karen’.
— Aly Khan (@alyykhn) October 7, 2021
I hope she spends some time in jail.
We should be proud of the restaurants that ask customers for their vaccination proof. It's them being responsible. https://t.co/tBllhSGwic
— Dr.Mahra Butt (@MahraButt) October 7, 2021
A user also said that the woman’s constitutional rights were not challenged as certificates assured that the person was safe for others to be around. She added that the woman was ‘defaming’ activists everywhere.
Making a travesty of our privacy rights & the Constitution too, to boot.
Vaccination cards are public docs, indicating you have been safeguarded by the best available tech,it's not your private information.
But what I'm seething at, is the way she's defaming activists everywhere. https://t.co/W0EFkYBtzW
— zapi (@yougoglencocco) October 7, 2021
A user wondered where the video ‘Karen’ made was and what point she was trying to make with it.
I just wanna know where the video Karen made is https://t.co/a7sjBtmGO5
— Azra Naqvi (@Azrantings) October 7, 2021
One user denied that she was a ‘Pakistani Karen’, instead said that she was the original American Karen, who operated in the wrong country.
Im not saying Pakistan doesn't have Karens. Ive seen Paki karens all the time.
This lady however doesn't fit a "Pakistani Karen" description. She is the OG American Karen, just Karening in the wrong country. https://t.co/mdUBYzBdjD
— Saad. (@ThisMyHandle) October 7, 2021
Although the exact origins of the word are unknown, ‘Karen’ jokes became a part of the internet sometime last year. The word was typically used to denote microaggressions against Black Americans and misusing white privilege over marginalized peoples. It has now come to incorporate anti-vaxxers as well.