Had SoHo Karen Been Black, She Would've Been Dead or in Jail
Photo credit Ventura County Sheriff''s Department
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Y’all, the hypocrisy and racism in the criminal justice system is astounding. 

I’m world-tripping on the fact that Miya Ponsetto (known as SoHo Karen) pled guilty to a hate crime and all she has to do is behave herself for the next two years to avoid jail time. Now family, we know good and damn well if her skin color was different, the outcome would’ve been far worse.

Let’s unpack this from the beginning, starting at the point when racial profiling went all the way left. 

In December of 2020, the 22 year old wrongfully accused Black teen, Keyon Harrold Jr., of stealing her cell phone at the Arlo Hotel in New York City. During the confrontation, Ponsetto not only yelled at the 14 year old but also chased and tackled him to the ground when he attempted to leave the property. We call this an assault.

Minutes after the attack, an Uber driver returned SoHo Karen’s phone to the hotel because, come to find out, she’d left it in his car. The whole thing was caught on video, filmed by the teen’s father and famed jazz musician, Keyon Harrold, Sr.


The video went viral and sparked mass criticism of Ponsetto and Arlo’s hotel management for seemingly empowering her. It later sparked a police investigation, and the Harrold family sued SoHo Karen and the hotel.

SoHo Karen privileged to have no jail time after hate crime

Now SoHo Karen wasn’t immediately taken into custody for this obvious assault. According to the New York Times, Ponsetto fled the hotel after attacking the teenager.

Also, had this been a Black person, things would’ve gone differently. The police would’ve been called immediately and that person would’ve been detained–just like how we saw back in February of this year when Black teen, Z’Kye Hussain, was wrongfully profiled as the aggressor, tackled and handcuffed by police during a New Jersey mall fight. 

But no, SoHo Karen got away and thought things were sweet until police showed up at her home in Piru, California with an arrest warrant a week and a half later. 

Y’all remember how 22 year old Daunte Wright was stopped and killed by Minneapolis police because he tried to pull off, right? And remember when Sandra Bland refused to exit her car, was immediately threatened with a taser, arrested and found dead three days later in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas?

Well, when the police tried to pull Miya over to execute the arrest warrant, she refused to stop and kept driving. She was able to drive all the way home where she would not get out of her car and had to be forcibly removed. No tasers or guns pulled in the process. 

White privilege wins again

It was later revealed that SoHo Karen had three criminal cases pending in California, one including driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Hmm. When George Floyd resisted arrest, he was murdered and demonized in media and the courts for being under the influence. 

Then in an interview on CBS This Morning, SoHo Karen snapped on Gayle King. Had she been a Black woman, the world would’ve labeled her angry or hostile. 

In response to her guilty plea, Ponsetto said, “I don’t feel that that is who I am as a person. I don’t feel like this one mistake does define me.”

It must be nice to feel like this one “mistake” doesn’t define her because there are generations of Black people that have been defined by their “mistakes” and paid for them with lengthy prison time, their lives or everlasting trauma. They’ll never know this privilege–that White privilege that let SoHo Karen off the hook for racially profiling and assaulting a Black boy.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...