Viral videos of people having meltdowns have become normalized as the amount of time we have been in this pandemic has worsened. Social media comments would refer to people that explode about the mask mandate as “Karens” and “Chads.”.
I learned a lot about my own implicit bias when a situation with a customer who refused to wear a mask occurred at my retail store. While “Karens” and “Chads” may be seen as the poster child of ignoring the mask mandate, ignorance of the pandemic exists throughout every culture and background.
A man entered the store as I came back from my lunch break earlier this summer — he was a Black man with no mask. I remember approaching him and kindly asking him to put on a mask per Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, he began yelling immediately. As a minimum wage worker, I did not have time to argue with him so I informed my manager about the situation and continued working as I would before. I did not notice the man again until he was about to check out.
My manager told the cashier to not let the customer check out until he wore a mask. Once the man got to the register, he was furious he began making a scene about the issue and threatening my co-worker. A sales lead intervened and the altercation worsened. They finally checked out the maskless man but that didn’t suppress his anger.
Before exiting the store, he spat on my coworker and proceeded to cuss at him in anger for the altercation.
This is just one example of the new normal. The division between citizens in regard to dealing with the pandemic is disheartening. With no sight of the pandemic ending, life as we know is ever changing and we have to adapt to it.
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