An Update on the Case of Bike Karen and the Bicycle Thieves
YouTube Channel “Nate The Lawyer” has provided an interesting — and surprisingly sane — update to the Bike Karen situation, given the hysteria over this case
I recommend watching the video yourself, which I have linked to below, but I will attempt to extract a few main points.
According to this very convincing video, the youth seen on the video arguing with the woman had indeed rented the Citi e-bike. Apparently with a subscription one can rent an e-bike for 45 minutes at a time. Beyond the 45 minute allotment however one must pay a per-minute fee. To avoid this fee, the youth docked his bike with the intent to rent it again after the e-bike was docked a required length of time.
It works much like a library book. One borrows a book, and if one is not finished reading it and wishes to avoid a late charge, one may return it with the plan to borrow it again as quickly as possible. Hopefully the book won’t be reserved by someone else.
Unfortunately for this youth, as soon as his docked (returned) the e-bike, a woman rented it, to which he responded rudely and stupidly. Rather than shrug his shoulders, mutter a mild expletive to himself, and move on to Plan B, he decided to prevent her from taking the e-bike she had just rented.
As Nate the Lawyer points out, her behavior wasn't exemplary either. She snatched the kid’s phone at one point, for example. However, in her defense, she had just worked a 12-hour shift was six months pregnant, and wanted to go home without tussling with someone refusing to let her take the e-bike she had just rented or predicting that her unborn child would be retarded. One has seen others behave more crankily for less cause.
But as I pointed out here, what interested me in this case is not the argument itself or the behavior of the participants but rather how so many reacted to it. Some called the woman a “Karen” who was exerting her white privilege to steal from underprivileged African American youth. Others, after the woman’s lawyer provided the media with a copy of her receipt for the e-bike, began portraying the kids as Black thugs and criminals whose goal was to commit theft.
Neither seemed true to me at the time and thanks to this additional information they seem even less true now. In fact one can see in the video that some of the alleged Black thugs can be heard suggesting that someone rent another bike, and one resolved the conflict by surrendering his bike to the woman.
How sad is it that so many allowed their own prejudices and a short video clip to steer them into making wrongheaded, bigoted conclusions, rather than being as rational as that young man?