Everyone in this story chose to stay anonymous (minus their first names, of course) because none of them wanted to be 'trolled later'. More than they already are.
"The Karens and Kevins are making everyone's lives miserable and many of them have just lost it," said someone.
The 'Karens' and 'Kevins' (as they are addressed) caught on camera racially abusing citizens/residents and often found violating the basic COVID-19 safety protocols, are also America's newfound source of entertainment.
Yes, the people we see trending on videos endanger lives of others and of their own selves by not wearing masks, not maintaining physical distance among other unacceptable and unsavory things. They often end up in situations where they feel (and claim) being cornered into outbursts. In this piece, we are not talking about them.
We are talking about your friend, relative, neighbor, or coworker named Kevin or Karen. There's no point in going back to find who started this and who suggested these names. But, we are pretty sure that, the person who started it all, had no idea of what it could do to people with these first names.
What Karens and Kevins go though
We spoke to a few of them and their side of the story was anything but funny. "At first, it was funny. I remember laughing my guts out watching an ignorant lady make a fool of herself. But soon it hit home when my friend called and started laughing soon after saying my name. After that I didn't realize how badly it upset me," said Karen, from L.A.
Another Karen, from Phillidelpiha, sharing her experience wrote to us, "I deleted my Twitter account as every time a new video went viral my friends and all started tagging me. I was made fun of, this is really too much. My life is screw*d I swear. These people don't realize this sh*t."
Kevin, from Chicago, had a similar experience. "Some sickos often tag me in these posts. Just because of my name? I don't have a profile picture on my social media accounts and they tag and write stuff like Kevin is that you?. What the actual fu*k!!!"
"My own kids thought this was funny as hell. I have a 15-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son and both have started making fun of me when I get angry over something. The other day I was on a call with my friend and we had an angry exchange. I was in the other room. My kids heard it and came running to me in all innocence, they said, hey Karen calm down and laughed and went away," Karen from San Diego wrote.
Ever thought about the kids?
Many feel that adults can still take it but for kids, it is the worst. "I am a single dad. I am concerned about my daughter, when all this is over and when she goes back to school. It could be difficult for her. Her friends already make fun of her name." said Mark.
"I am not kidding when I say that I am contemplating a name change but it is my identity and it is so messed up these days. I am now so self-conscious about my name, even on business calls. This is crazy," Kevin a banker from Detroit.
"It is like high school all over again and the only difference is that the entire world is the bully for everyone named Karen and Kevin. I don't think they realize," Karen, from San Jose.
Mental health professional speaks
We may not realize this, but this can have an adverse effect on people's mental health. "Many can go into depression and a client of mine developed a lot of self-doubts and felt as if she has done something wrong. I think many people with these names will start seeing therapists and I think it will be of great help if they do. What is happening is unfortunate," said Joseph (name changed) a clinical psychologist based out of Los Angeles.
Call them John and Jane Does for all anyone cares. But imagine if you were named Karen or Kevin? Ever thought of the indirect social ostracisation you would have to face just because of your name? That too for no fault of yours.
It's time to change it before it's too late. This outrage can actually have life-altering consequences for someone. Highlighting social issues/evils is good. But don't be inconsiderate and hurtful to those who have nothing to do with all the hate and ignorance.
If you have a similar story and want your story told, write to firstname.lastname@example.org with RECLAIM MY NAME in the subject line. Additionally, feel free to share the below pictures with people named Kevin and Karen, and let them know it's OK.