Dear ex-Karen…

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Dear ex-Karen,

I am so happy that you have decided to change your views and ways.

YAY!

But unfortunately, I will not be able to hold your hand through this process.

Though progress is great, I can feel happy for your journey but not help you through it.

Dear ex-KarenThis is on you.

Because dear ex-Karen, I feel there are still old ideologies you are working through.

Why else would you feel entitled to my help as you transition through this awakening?

This journey is yours.

I did not have the luxury to be asleep before today.

But you did.

I was forced to awaken as a 10-year-old when mini-Karens and Kens lured me into the back of the school field and shoved me around. They then carried on their bullying by pulling off my hijab.

No one held my hand then.

When my mother would be ridiculed when she spoke broken English. When I was picked on for the smell of my food. When I was talked loudly or slowly to by those who assumed I was new to this land though I was born here.

No one held our hand then.

No one held my hand when grumpy adult Karens and Kens looked at me with hateful eyes and swore vulgar profanities while I walked into Target with my four young kids.

Dear ex-Karen,

Welcome to your awakening.

If you are feeling discomfort in coming to terms with what you have done and how you used to think, I am glad.

Better late than never.

But part of privilege is asking for help instead of doing the work yourself.

My job is not to educate you. The resources are there already.

Oh and by the way, buying the book is not the same as doing the work.

My job is not to congratulate you nor is it to help you heal through the trauma you inflicted.

Please let go of that expectation.

I’m still a little busy unpacking the trauma that was inflicted upon me – upon those like me.

Educate yourself not so that you can call yourself awake, educate yourself so that you may eradicate hate from your heart and home.

Dear ex-Karen,

The work is hard. You are figuring out what to say and what not to. And you may learn that the long, hard way.

Its okay, its been easy on you for a while now… wouldn’t you agree?

But don’t let the hard stop you.

I never did.

It was hard to tell my children to ignore the kids who called their faith and choice of clothing hateful names when they were still small.

It was hard walking into a store or outside for years because people would love to point out that I was unwelcome there.

It was hard getting on a plane, crossing the border, waking into a mall on the “other” side of town.

It still is.

So yes, it might be hard for you right now. But change often is.

You have my well wishes and you have my support.

But I cannot nurse you through this. I cannot hold your hand and lead you on your way.

And if that offends you or hurts you… you have more to work through than you thought.

To expect assistance by those who are occupied with surviving the everyday, is privilege.

To believe you will be celebrated and hoisted on our shoulders when you make your confession, is privilege.

To feel offended if someone tells you to “please educate yourself from the available resources” instead of teaching you, is privilege.

To feel overwhelmed and emotional because change is difficult and you desire sympathy for that, is privilege.

To have the choice to change slowly or once you have an epiphany is privilege, friend.

Dear ex-Karen,

I will answer honest questions and I will still stand next to you.

As long as you remain standing.

And as long as you are not here to “save” me.

We don’t need saviors.

We just ask you to stay awake and please don’t ever fall asleep again.

Read more about who Karen is here. You can also check out some of our favorite Instagram Accounts to Educate Yourself on Antiracism, Inclusion, and Social Justice.

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