KIRO 7, Washington - A teen who works at the Bonney Lake Lowe’s said he was told by a supervisor that he either had to go buy a new shirt or go home and change after a customer complained his “Black Panther Wakanda Forever” shirt was racist
“She goes, ‘a customer said your shirt is offensive and racist,’” said Lowe’s employee Kyle Sales, who told KIRO 7 he tried to explain the shirt to the supervisor. “This is from a movie. How is this racist?”
Sales said he was pulled aside by the supervisor last weekend. After being spoken to, Sales decided to go home and put a sports jersey over his Black Panther movie shirt.
“I was very angry. It just did not seem fair in light of all of the things that are happening in our in the world right now,” said Sales. “This isn’t racist. I shouldn’t be punished for a t-shirt from a movie.”
The next day, Sales said he learned from a friend that a woman had shown up to the Lowe’s demanding to know whether the store had punished him for the shirt.
“She came in throwing a fit saying, ‘what happened to that kid – What was his punishment?’” said Sales, who was not wearing one of the company’s signature vests. “You have to earn those.”
You know, I purposely didn't use the term "Karen" in the headline. Owing mainly to the fact the word is kind of getting played out. But also because I decided that wasting it on this hysterical shrew would be an insult to regular Karens. Sure, they might also make life miserable for servers, retail employees and managers alike. But your garden variety Karen doesn't deserve to be associated with this deranged, culturally ignorant, vindictive harpy.
To me, the real issue here is one of awareness. This meddling, unhinged fishwife needs to be educated. And it's a failure of all of us in society that she fails to recognize her own ignorance. I mean, out of an excess of fairness to her, how could she be expected to get a reference to either Black Panther or the phrase "Wakanda Forever"? Sure, it was the single most repeated phrase in the summer of 2018. You couldn't listen to a kid dive into a pool or one of your friends sink a putt or see a home run highlight on "SportsCenter" without hearing it. And sure, the movie itself won three Oscars and was nominated for four more.
But how can you expect it to cross her cultural radar? This obscure little indie art house film only grossed $1,346,913,161 worldwide. And sure, the title character debuted in "Captain America: Civil War." And was a central figure in both "Avengers: Infinity War" and the highest grossing film of all time, "Avengers: Endgame." And all four movies T'Challa has appeared in grossed $7,346,369,772 all told. But what's a $7.3 billion pop culture phenomenon to a woman who's shopping for some bathroom fixtures and a couple of gallons of semigloss? Or for that matter, what is taking Kyle Sale's word for it?
Personally, I'm glad this sociopath went off the rails like this. It's a chance for her and me to have a conversation. We need to be able to listen. To have a dialogue and reach an understanding. I appreciate the opportunity to educate her. To tell her all about a prince who inherited the throne of Wakanda after his father T'Chaka was killed by Helmut Zemo to discredit the Avengers. How that kingdom is the world's richest source of Vibranium, and has largely remained hidden from the outside world through the use of its super advanced technology. And how by accepting the throne, T'Challa also takes on the mantle of Black Panther, the ancient protector of his people. And how when he dons the Black Panther suit, he has superpowers. But also how he is challenged for the throne by Killmonger, who insists he is the rightful heir. And how Killmonger defeats him but then T'Challa summons the courage and strength to not only reclaim crown, open up his nation to the world, and eventually help defeat Thanos and save half the universe who had been turned into space ashes.
I think if she and I can have this discussion, we can broaden her horizons, open her heart to the world around her, and hopefully stop her from being an insufferable piece of shit to some other kid just trying to earn a living. Wakanda Forever, skank.