My mother is a stereotypical Karen-type. At 13 I was demanding the manager with my mom at my side, thinking that it was perfectly normal to do so. I was taught that it was okay to unload my steam on low-wage workers because that was part of their job. It was also their responsibility to pick up any mess I left or didn’t feel like cleaning up because they were there to serve ME. I also had some racist tendencies as a result of being told lies by my family and mother. As I began to explore the internet more I came to the realization that I was a lesbian, which opened a whole new world for me.
I met people of all colors, backgrounds, and professions through social media. I’ll admit, it was difficult for me at first especially when confronted with facts about racism that I didn’t like at all. Why? Because to truly digest those facts I would have to admit my own bias. Along this journey I would casually talk about scolding someone at a restaurant to an internet friend, at the time I thought it was funny.
I was lucky enough to have friends that instead of abandoning me, educated me and asked me how I would feel if someone had said those things to me. That whole ‘put yourself in that person’s shoes’ mentality was the tipping point, and I began to understand that the way I was raised to treat people that were supposedly “lower” than me was wrong. I won’t lie, it wasn’t a happy “my eyes have been opened” realization. I had A LOT of thinking to do. It was painful and awkward, I had to develop entirely new ways of interacting with people.
I started by saying please and thank you to food workers and low-wage employees. I immediately noticed a difference in how they treated me, they didn’t seem like they hated their job because they were “bored and upset that they couldn’t do anything better with their life” as my mother would have put it.
Next thing was to educate myself on POC. Again, hard pills to be swallowed here. I started talking to POC, especially black people, more often. I ended up making some amazing friends. The unraveling of my racist tendencies wasn’t as difficult for me as I thought, I suspect that it’s because I started looking at them as just the same as me except with a different color of skin rather than looking at them like a stereotype. There wasn’t as much disdain ingrained in me as there were for low-wage workers, so I guess my family was more classist than racist. Yay /s.
If you got this far, thanks for reading. I want to thank all my lovely friends and a few kind strangers on the internet for completely changing the way I view the world. I can say that I am significantly happier now that I no longer hold so much animosity for people I don’t even know. I now live in a 1-bedroom apartment next to my college campus with my beautiful cat Khaleesi (I’m a GOT fan) and I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend for almost 2 and a half years. I have no plans on ever owning a live, love, laugh decoration or ever demanding a manager just to get a worker in trouble. My mom is not aware of my sexuality, and she probably never will be.