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Jail That Karen: Why Amy Cooper Should be Arrested

On this episode of democracy-ish, our hosts debate the personal and political aspects of gun ownership and what justice should look like in the saga of Amy vs. Christian Cooper. Plus, Danielle presides over the Black Lady Courtroom.


  • A number of prominent Black voices argue that Amy Cooper has suffered enough –– including her victim, Christian Cooper. Has she, really?

  • In these turbulent times, Black Americans have every reason to fear for their safety. According to the New York Times, some are reacting in a way they never imagined: by buying guns.

  • Are firearm purchases really a path to empowerment? Or are Black Americans as vulnerable as ever?


This week, Toure and Danielle dig into two arguments floating around in the ether of our culture.


First, what to do about Amy Cooper, a.k.a. Central Park Karen. She lost her job –– and even (temporarily) her dog. But should she be charged with a crime?


And: If a recent feature in the New York Times is any indication, Black folks are embracing their second-amendment rights and arming themselves in ever-growing numbers.


How do we feel about that? TL; DR: It’s complicated.



Episode Highlights –– Arrest Amy Cooper


(White) lady justice

A number of prominent Black intellectuals argue that Amy Cooper has already paid for her mistakes, including Christian Cooper, who says she has suffered enough.


“Christian Cooper, God bless him … maybe he doesn't want bad karma,” says Danielle. “But this isn't just about him. The fact is, Christian Cooper could be a hashtag.”


The idea that, as the victim, Christian can somehow veto the punishment of his perpetrator, “is not how American justice works,” Toure notes.


If Amy Cooper was prosecuted, it would send a powerful message to “the Karens of the world,” Danielle says: You can be fined and jailed for acts of racism.


“I don't care that she lost her job,” she adds. “I don't care that her name is being dragged through the mud. She knew what she was doing. She knew she was being videotaped. She didn't care. So I don't care.”



Damsel-in-distress call

Toure sees Amy Cooper’s crime as “premeditated evil” and arguably attempted murder.


When she called the cops, she surely knew there was a chance he could be beaten –– or killed.


“But she rolled the dice and was like, whatever happens to you, I don't give a fuck. I want you to know that I am the superior actor in this situation, because I am white,” he adds.


Amy Cooper knew that the police would have seen her as a “damsel in distress who needed them to rush in and save her from the clutches of the evil Black man,” says Danielle. “That's the picture she painted. And when she changed the octave in her voice … That bitch probably got a fine arts degree in drama for what she put forward.”


“Did she even need that?” Toure asks. “Because she knows innately, and others respond to it: The power of white female tears.”



Karen does the perp walk

Amy Cooper hasn’t suffered enough, Toure argues.


He wants “to see her in the bracelets … and do the perp walk. I want to see her go through the trauma and indignation of being arrested, briefly jailed … going before a judge. Having a record. Do I think that she's going to get prison time? No. Should she? Yeah.”


Danielle agrees.


“I think that she should serve six months to a year. That should be the penalty for making a false call to the police. And she should face a significant fine –– what seems like it would hurt? $25,000. Because she wasted the public's tax dollars by calling the police. She endangered the person she called the police on.”


Democracy-ish SVU

It’s doubtful Amy Cooper will be prosecuted for reckless Karening, but Black citizens are routinely punished for the smallest infractions, Danielle points out.