Before the name 'Karen' became a social norm for a person who felt that their belief of entitlement trumped my personal boundaries and basic human decency and respect, I was used to it. It never stopped me because I moved forward in life with the unwritten understanding that I have to be emotionally stronger, educated, focused, healthy, and in sync with my morals and purpose.
Now our country has started to identify persons who feel that they are superior in knowledge, rights, and power over others as Karen.
I recently encountered and had an interaction with a 'Karen.'
I know it is a trending word, but I don't know what other words to use to fit my situation. I would not say racist, but a strong word to such intense action is needed.
I was selected to be part of a leadership team to help with a new community project. The project's mission is similar to what I strive to do in my daily work. During one of the in-person work sessions, a person in the group repeatedly demanded that I produce my personal information on the spot to validate my contribution to the team.
What do you do when you have been treated this way?
For nearly a decade, I have been sharing my talents with my immediate world. I handled the complete disrespect, dismissal of my skill set, and my difference of opinion by creating my form of excellence.
During this moment, I did what I usually do, say a sharp comeback with the hope that the 'Karen' stops and realizes the behavior of assumed privilege. Then I take a physical break from the situation, re-motivate myself, get back to the room, and move forward.
Emotionally, It felt like I had rightfully earned my documents declaring I was free, but still had to produce my "freedom papers" on-demand to prove that I was a free black woman. I knew I was already a free law-abiding American citizen, which was reason enough to treat me as an equal human being. I learned none of that matters to a Karen; only their self-declared judge status.
Is 2020 the year of accountability, adaptation, and innovation?
Since this encounter was not recorded and shared on the internet, there is no reason for the Karen to actually feel that they did anything that affected me personally.
I could just sit here and allow it to consume my thoughts and energy or continue to move in my purpose.
So, I have been Karened.
It sucks, but not a surprise; I have been here before. The only thing new is the term 'Karen.'
The difference today is that more people recognize that this behavior exists.
Don't mentally permit anyone to believe that they have authority over you or can determine your worth; Move forward in life knowing that entitled people come in all forms. The only way to beat the master at any level is to gain experience, confidence, and decide to play the game better.