Tag Archives: RaceinAmerica

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.