Alphabet Soup Challenge: K is for “Karen”

I feel pulled to write about race, but I feel like I’m out of my league. I’m white and privileged. Ignorant in so many ways. I’m certain that I’m ignorant about what I’m ignorant about as well.

I don’t like how that feels.

I believe I’ve always been a person who has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong. But I can’t ignore the implicit bias my whiteness entails: my thoughts and feelings about race have been informed by the messages I got growing up about Black people.

I honestly don’t know where else to go with this post, but I will be discussing Karen.

Do I share the stories of what was said in my presence growing up about Black people that I ignorantly chuckled along with because I didn’t want to be the odd one out/was a kid/didn’t know the right words to say? Do I share the story of that time at work a few years back when I felt like I was being called out for being racist and how upsetting that was to me (aka in hindsight how offended I was)? Will people hate me for it? Will they think I’m a complete idiot?

You see, I don’t want to come across as a “Karen”. You know who she is, right? Well if you don’t know about “her” she’s fucking awful. I’d share clips from my Twitter feed from when I searched for “Karen” but you don’t want to see it. Trust me. It’s troubling.

The collective “Karen” is, in a nutshell, the lowest form of middle aged white American female there is. I think someone hurt her bad, because that’s the only way I can fathom how the anger she spews formed in her heart. She’s mean spirited and hateful. She thinks Black lives don’t matter and I presume, neither do Black futures. She’s the stuff of nightmares.

That’s what I’m scared of. That what I will say about race and how I say it will come across as tone-deaf. Clueless. Racist even. But then again, maybe I need to be open to the possibility that I will be “schooled”.

Listen, I’m evolving. Or striving to at the very least. I can’t help that because of systemic racism, the American education system failed me (and the rest of us Americans for that matter) by not teaching us about the historical moments that shaped Black America’s history. That’s not on me. I can’t help that I laughed along when “jokes” were told about black people during my growing up years in Small Town USA. I didn’t know any better.

But now I do.

12 thoughts on “Alphabet Soup Challenge: K is for “Karen””

  1. I was not raised in an overtly racist household, which I mistakenly assumed meant I was not directly affected by racism. But I, too, am being schooled and schooled hard. By the racist comments I see family members and old friends make — how did I not realize for so long that they felt that way? By the racism in my education — how did they leave THAT MUCH out? I’m seeing now the underlying racism in things I was taught as facts at every level of education. Woke, indeed.

    I thought I understood my privilege. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. But I want to learn. I am actively working to learn, and to teach my children so they don’t find themselves pushing 50 and questioning everything they ever knew.

    This comic sums it up for me: https://twitter.com/scarecrowbar/status/1268622278109155329/photo/1. Not that I’ve said All Lives Matter…but many people I love have. I posted this comic on my FB recently, and have noticed that a few of those people have quietly come over to my side after reading it. We must keep learning, and keep sharing what we learn so that others can learn, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I also didn’t grow up in an overtly racist household. And yes, the more I learn about Black history, the more shocked I am that this is the first I’m hearing about so much of it. That comic is spot on. I am really sick of people I know spewing the “All Lives Matter” line, but honestly, the first time I heard it, I agreed…I didn’t quite “get” it yet. I have a huge learning curve.

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  2. Rhonda,
    All we can do is open ourselves up to growth. We resolve to do the best we can wherever we are in our lives. When we learn better, we do better. We ask forgiveness from those we may have hurt, from those we know we’ve hurt; but most of all, we forgive ourselves. 💜 Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. That’s what I was trying to convey. To admit my idiocy about Black people and express my openness to learning more, to change, to become “anti-racist”.

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      1. And please, also, to forgive. Without forgiveness, nothing changes. Nothing heals. Be proud of your wanting to be an active part of the solution and not a part of the problem, but I hope you never feel like you should be ashamed of who you are. We are all ashamed of some of our actions, as we should be when we’ve knowingly done something wrong, but we learn from those mistakes. Our actions are not all of who we are and there is too much hate and other negativity going on to perpetuate a sense that we should not like ourselves for whatever reason. We should all be kind toward each other and that begins with ourselves. BTW, I happen to adore you, my friend! 🙂 Also, be aware that “whites” are expected to become the minority in America by 2045 according to the Census Bureau. So my guess is that “white privilege” will eventually become a thing of the past whether there are those that want to keep it or not. Mona

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The first time I heard about “Karen” was a few years ago from my daughter — she showed me a few tweets and videos. Initially I laughed because I recognized her, but then I got to wondering if I had ever been a Karen. That’s a person I don’t ever want to be!
    I’m sure this was a difficult post to write, but I’m awfully glad you did. We need to keep the message strong!

    Liked by 1 person

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