The Pumpkin Spice Latte. Commonly known to many as PSLs, are never really considered life changing. In fact, most would shun the person that would construct such a phrase. How could a latte be life changing? And not even just a latte, but a faux-pumpkin flavored one to be exact.
But I have a lot to be thankful for because of the oh-so-hated PSL.
In all seriousness, I would actually go as far to say that oddly colored orange coffee drink did change my life. And no, I don’t mean because of its artificial flavor or how there is no better way to embrace fall than to sip on one during a cold October morning. This latte went deeper. This latte helped me learn life lessons that have been shoved in our faces since we were children. After some thinking, the faux-pumpkin flavored latte taught me the art of empathy and acceptance.
PSLs have a bad rap. They’re known around campus (and the world) as a ‘white girl drink.’ According to this stereotype, there is a strong correlation of PSLs to oversized shirts and yoga pants worn by a girl who likes to take Instagram pictures throwing leaves in the air.
I love PSLs. Seriously. They’re so tasty. Yet, according to this stigma, by asking my favorite barista for a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte (hold the whip) I have suddenly become a female sporting a pair of Uggs. Now, I may be crazy, but last time I checked, I am not a female and my feet are not cozy in a pair of sheepskin boots—but I digress.
Just because I ordered a latte, doesn’t mean I’m a different person. I just happen to enjoy pumpkin flavored beverages. I did not order a side of shame and a #basic label with my cup of fall, so I shouldn’t be delivered those accompaniments. I also drink black coffee on a normal basis. Does that make me a pompous old man? No, it makes me a college student that keeps forgetting to buy half-and-half when he goes to the store.
It shouldn’t even matter what’s in my cup, because it’s my cup. I did not shove a PSL down your throat. I have not swapped our paper cups so you end up succumbing to the great pumpkin agenda. I have my cup, you have your cup. We can still both sit in Starbucks and gossip about the nonsense that occurred last weekend and gush over our secret love for Taylor Swift.
Now let’s take this concept on a more abstract scale. Just because someone has more conservative ideals doesn’t mean they walk around preaching the mantra of Donald Trump. Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they’re obsessed with show tunes. Just because someone willingly chooses Pepsi over Coke means that we should shun them for days to come (still working on this one but you get my point).
We are all people. We all like our lattes or mochas or teas. Just because we like something doesn’t mean we deserve to be thrown in a box. We are all individuals that have a story to tell and a path we know as the future to explore. As a community, we should all embrace how we all have different tastes and ideas because that in truth is what makes us special. By putting aside the stereotypes and by not shaming each other we can all come together and create a community of diverse people worth celebrating. And we can all do it with our favorite drink in hand.
*Sips Pumpkin Spice Latte*
Cheers to fall and equality.
Jeff is a junior multimedia journalism major from Kennesaw, Ga. As a cringey millennial, he spends his free time in Starbucks arguing how Britney Spears can’t have a comeback if she never left and exclusively communicates through the phrases ‘retweet’ and ‘can you not.’ He is the Editor-in-Chief. You can find him whining about the cloudy future on Twitter @jeff_licciard.