“I realized that this country has gone so flabby that any gang daring enough and unscrupulous enough, and smart enough not to seem illegal, can grab hold of the entire government and have all the power and applause and salutes, all the money and palaces and willin’ women they want.”
― Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here
I remember my first encounter with racism, It was in elementary school. This punk kid called me the “n” word on the playground and asked me if my hair really came from monkeys like his daddy said. No, I simply countered back and ran away, unsure of what I did wrong for that kid to treat me in such a way. Sadly, it was the first of many ill fated attempts to make me feel inferior due to the color of my skin. It would take me sometime to notice when it was subtle and systemic, but I learned to see those as well.
Make America Great Again?
There is a new president elect, some of you reading this may believe the words that are emblazoned on that flaming red hat. The same words a group of young white kids used to heckle at my daughter and her friends, in the front hall of school the day after the election. “Make America Great Again”
For who, exactly?
A gentleman came into work the day after the results were announced and recited that same slogan in my presence, flashing a bright smile that was full of contempt. He was elated, the thought of this nation, America, finally as he put “headed in the right direction.
Make america great again….
Let me give it to you straight, because at this point you shouldn’t expect me to come in other way. That slogan alone reeks of white supremacy and a slew of other things. Anyone who breathes those words is overlooking America’s history for an entire race of people. A race of people, for some, up until Obama, didn’t have much faith in any president that sat in that Oval Office. For many of us, by us I mean people of color, just the thought of making America anything “again” is a terrifying space for us to exist in. When existing in this great nation was already difficult enough.
So again I ask, for whom? Certainly not us.
Certainly not for the water protectors, our Native American people, facing militarized police and tear gas while we all sliced into a warm pie last week. Interesting enough, water has no color, it runs clear with life, until you go into the neighborhoods, communities, and tribal nations of the disenfranchised. Here it runs murky, filled with pollution, public health risks and vulnerability to premature death ..
Make america great again..
There will be no greatness for me, not from someone who was supported by a hate group whose history is rooted in the killing and lynching of my people. There will be no greatness for me, when cabinet appointments are men that I remember my grandmother’s deep sigh of relief when a certain senator was deemed to racist to be a judge. She was overjoyed, happy that the battles she’d fought for me to be free of the oppression she experienced, were finally over.
No one deemed too racist for government would ever again be considered to preside over our judicial system.
Racist hecklers would be nothing my kids would ever have to face.
Don’t ask me to be patient and “wait and see”. We all should be urgent, the question is why aren’t you?
I’ll always remember something my grandmother shared with me in reference to the civil rights movement and identifying your allies. She said, while those people who showed up at the marches were doing great work, it was those who had invited you into their homes and life all along, that showed the true spirit of how deep their alliances would run in times of turmoil.
I’ve thought deeply of this while watching events unfold, noticing more people speaking out. One can’t help but think of those who have opened their homes, kitchens, all spaces, virtual and physical and included me somehow. Especially in this food media space that often fails in it’s inclusion of people of color. Let me repeat that.. especially in this food media space that often fails in it’s inclusion of people of color.
My hope is that these folks can lead as examples in how others should move going forward, as a movement of inclusion is deeply needed in this world of food.. Be it blogs, conferences, awards, in all places it’s needed.
My challenge to you as you read this, is to do your part in adding a more diverse view to your world. The universe isn’t one color (or gender, or religion), so your view of it shouldn’t be. Open the door (even virtually) and invite in those that may not fit your normal aesthetic, reach outside of what is comfortable. Those that choose to continue on as usual, we’ll all know where you stand.
There are a myriad of souls that turn this world in the right direction. I’m grateful to have crossed paths with so many folks pushing that wheel. This progressive motion of love and acceptance. Inclusion and Sunday Suppers, emails and text message hugs, friendships that take you from Disney World to New Orleans to Marching on Washington. Strangers that speak out when they feel you’ve been overlooked. Continue to be you, multiply that power to the next level and stand in resistance, facing towards the evils that be.
My folks know this, you’re welcomed at my table, in my house, in my life.. Come as you are,
For dessert we’re gonna eat molasses cookies, put our heads together and figure out how to help power the movement onward.
Sparkling Molasses Cookies
Prep Time: 15min Cook Time: 8-10mins Yield: One Dozen
1 ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, melted
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup turbinado sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, molasses, brown sugar, and egg until smooth.
Slowly mix butter mixture into the flour mixture. It will seem like it’s not enough to incorporate all the ingredients but it is, just keep stirring.
Cover dough and refrigerate for atleast an hour. For the cookies pictured, they chilled overnight.
When ready to bake. Preheat oven to 375. Once dough has come to room temp, roll into pecan size balls, then roll them in turbinado sugar. Place each cookie 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until tops a slightly cracked. Make sure not to over cook. Mine are always done around 6- 8 minutes into cooking. Cool on wire racks.