How Stereotypes Are Destroying Our Society
I have the misfortune of looking like a Karen. Being an adult white, blond woman can be dangerous. It never used to be. Now, I’m the dreaded white lady you see in your store, or on the bus, or really anywhere. It doesn’t help I fit the stereotypical conception of what a Karen looks like. Even my Facebook avatar looks like a Karen.
My name is not Karen. I’m not an entitled ultra-conservative person. I don’t live a pampered or sheltered lifestyle. I’m not middle class or suburban. However, I’ve managed to fit the physical profile of a Karen and carry that stigma.
I mentioned this problem to my friend at work. She’s Hispanic. When I told her that I get targeted as a Karen, she laughed hysterically. I said, “I look like one.” She studied me and reluctantly agreed. Her comment, “People are really messed up.”
Nothing Is As It Appears To Be
Atlantic City, New Jersey is a diverse city. People from all corners of the world live here. I migrated to the city 20 years ago from New England. In all those years, I’ve lived in every sort of ethnic neighborhood. The vast majority of the time, I’m the lone white lady in the neighborhood. Every single apartment we’ve lived in, I’m the only white person in the building. No one ever cared.
My husband and I are an inter-racial, inter-faith couple. People joke that we look like Lucy and Desi, especially in a photo we had taken years ago. I’m far from entitled; we’re a working-class family. I’m currently working in the service industry, as a hotel front desk clerk. Public transit is my mode of transportation. I use laundromats. I don’t need a gym membership because I walk everywhere and haul everything up to our 3rd-floor walk-up. My coffee comes from 7–11, as I pour the nightly dregs into my cup and trek to work early in the morning. I have no white friends in real-life.
Yet, I am a Karen.
The Pre-Covid-19 Karen
Before there was Covid-19 or Karens, there was still a label. It was known as Crazy White Lady Syndrome.
My first encounter with being labeled this came as a shock. It was many years ago at a laundromat in my old…