Karens for Justice (Trust Me, You Want These Karens on Your Side)

Without going into detail about what was going on here, my eldest son just witnessed me talking to a customer service rep on the phone. During the course of the conversation the customer rep asked me my full name. I told her I was really embarrassed to give her my first name now because of the meme, but I promised her I wasn’t going to want to talk to her manager. The son could hear her laughing through the phone. We had a delightful conversation and she helped me solve my problem and wished me a good day.

The son said he really enjoyed listening to how I talked to the rep. He said he witnessed me “dispelling myths and solving problems at the same time.”

That felt good. 🙂

Honestly, though? Lately I’ve been struggling with the Karen meme a little.  For years my Karen friends and I have marched, gone to rallies, written letters against bigotry and injustice, fought our own personal battles for equality – and now it feels like all that we’ve invested  in equality – all our words and efforts – are being brushed aside like they never mattered to anyone or made any difference.  The Karens – or maybe middle-aged women in general – are being lumped into one monolithic group and stereotyped – told by others what we believe – our own personal narratives taken from us and discounted.  

And that really stinks.  

Yesterday morning I read an article about a man who wrote “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on his own property and was chastised for doing that by a woman NAMED LISA who didn’t believe him when he said it was his property. I was immediately indignant on this man’s behalf – ready to share his story in my Facebook progressives group. And then I saw it. The news writer covering the story – a mainstream media writer named Madison Vanderberg – wrote: “The world is still protesting, marching, calling DA offices, signing petitions, and overhauling their social media presence in the name of civil rights and yet, despite all of this, Karens of the world are still calling the cops on people of color.” And a little further on the man himself – the very man who had been a victim of bigotry – referred to the woman NAMED LISA as a “Karen.” (It is interesting to note that no label was attached to the woman’s husband – who was also present.)

And seriously?

I found myself shutting down – just staring at the screen and trying to process what the hell I’d just read there.

And here’s the thing: Exchanging one target of bigotry for another is not progress, you know?

Let me share some of the stories of the Karens who are my friends –
Karen Blair Troinello was a gifted runner, born at a time when females did not have equal opportunity to participate in school sports. She changed that: “Troianello is more than a passionate advocate of sports for girls. She is a pioneer who left her name — her maiden name — forever etched in state history. She is the former Karen Blair, the named plaintiff in the landmark Blair v. Washington State University lawsuit in 1979 that forced greater gender equity in college athletics.” (The Seattle Times, June 16, 2012.)

Because of Karen Blair Troinello equity was legislated for females in school sports. Let’s show her some appreciation.

My friend Karen Beckner has long fought for equality – here’s a photo of her in The Skagit Valley Herald, marching for the rights of migrant children.

And my friend Karen Rippberger ran for public office as a progressive in a conservative district in Oregon, and – although she didn’t win the election – she’s played a huge part in helping her local LGBTQ community’s battle for equal rights. Laura Camacho wrote in her voter’s guide: ” Karen Rippberger has a servant’s heart approach to leadership that is palpable on her website.”

Trust me – you want the Karens who are my friends  fighting on your side. The Karens who are my friends don’t put up with bigotry, inequity, stereotypes, ageism, racism, sexism, discrimination, or lazy labels.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

We Shall Overcome

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. –                                                                                        from the Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/

Consciousness of right-doing brings its own reward; but not amid the smoke of battle is merit seen and appreciated by lookers-on… If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race. When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done, and receive according to your deserving. – Mary Baker Eddy

***

It sure appears sometimes that injustice, bigotry, hatred, and inequality are winning the battle, doesn’t it? We crave justice. We yearn for equity and fair play. But we don’t always seem to find those things in the here and now. We might be tempted to feel discouraged and frustrated about the state of our world. We might be tempted to lose hope. We might even be tempted to just give up. But… well, if we just give up – what’s the alternative? To STOP trying to do good? To choose to be  unkind? To choose to be dishonest? To deliberately and consciously choose to feel no joy? Those do not feel like healthy options to me.

The other day I decided to conduct a little experiment: I decided to make a bad day for myself.  I had no idea how to go about this, really. I figured that making a bad day for myself would probably start with a bad attitude, though, right? About half an hour into my experiment I made the mistake of calling my mom. Within a minute she had me cracking up.  So. Yeah.  So much for my little experiment.  After my inauspicious beginning, it didn’t get much worse, either. My experiment was a spectacular failure. I learned something from it, though. I learned that I’d have to work really hard to make a bad day for myself.  And I faced the fact that I’m simply too lazy to have much success with that kind of thing.

Call me a naïve idealist, but I believe that good overcomes evil. I believe Love overcomes hate. I believe that wisdom overcomes ignorance. I believe Truth overcomes dishonesty. Always.  I believe what Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Though error hides behind a lie and excuses guilt, error cannot forever be concealed. Truth, through her eternal laws, unveils error.”

I believe that we SHALL overcome someday.

We shall overcome,

 We shall overcome,

We shall overcome, someday.

 Oh, deep in my heart,

 I do believe.

 we shall overcome,  someday.

We’ll walk hand in hand,

We’ll walk hand in hand,

We’ll walk hand-in-hand, someday. – Zilphia Hart, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan, and Pete Seeger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yId_ABmtw-w

We won’t forget Trayvon. He is important to us – the verdict this week doesn’t change the truth of  that. God bless his family.

  … Want of uniform justice is a crying evil caused by the selfishness and inhumanity of man. Our forefathers exercised their faith in the direction taught by the Apostle James, when he said: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted  from the world.”The wicked man is not the ruler of his upright neighbor. Let it be understood that success in error is defeat in Truth… – Mary Baker Eddy