Coyotes have the gift of seldom being seen; they keep to the edge of vision and beyond, loping in and out of cover on the plains and highlands. And at night, when the whole world belongs to them, they parley at the river with the dogs, their higher, sharper voices full of authority and rebuke. They are an old council of clowns, and they are listened to.
Over the past months, watching the inequity of the COVID-19 response, the murder and protests of the death of George Floyd, and listening to fellow white people, strangers and friends alike, respond to it all, I have felt such discouragement at how few understand or are even willing to acknowledge their great privilege.
So, in honor of the passing of John Lewis, one of my heroes, and someone I could gladly listen to all the live-long day, I’ve prepared a brief white privilege primer in hopes of gently nudging those who may need it down the path of greater understanding.
Way back when I was getting my teaching certification (more than 20 years ago!!), I received a publication by Peggy McIntosh that opened my eyes to the wider world of racism and white privilege. I’m not including the entirety, but if you’d like to see it, click here.
These examples of white privilege cross the spectrum. I encourage you to read further and imagine yourself experiencing each one, perhaps on a daily basis or over a lifetime. The struggle is REAL and people are TIRED.
When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. Read about white men dominating the telling of history.
I can go into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair. Read about discrimination based on hair.
Whether I use credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability. Read about the racial wealth gap.
I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them. Read about lynching and the whitewashing of history.
I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection. Read about The Talk.
I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
If a cop stops me, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race. Read about racial profiling.
I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
This post begins with a lament and too much information. Our middle-aged bodies are no longer as friendly with lactose. We take the little pills, which are super helpful, but don’t do ALL the work. But dang, how I love a little cream in my Saturday coffee and find the substitutes pretty darn awful in taste, consistency, or both. So I made almond creamer! It was truly delicious and the perfect consistency, without any added sweeteners. I soaked almonds in water overnight, slipped the skins off before putting them in the blender with just enough water to keep them whirring. I squeezed and Greg squeezed, and the pint jar is the final product. It’s a little work, of course, but worth a tasty cup of joe!
I also made another batch of peach jam (after realizing I overshared and we only had one jar left – a tragedy) and some red pepper jelly. It was my first time with the red pepper, but it was as easy as can be, and tastes wonderfully spicy and fruity – on a grilled pork chop (with grilled peaches), on chicken, over a bit of cream cheese, and spooned decadently from the jar and into my mouth.
The white mess in the bowl is what the almonds look like after being soaked and whirred and squeezed into milk. Since I am ever thrifty and abhor waste, I used it to make the dough & streusel for the pretty peach cake and the bit of toasted goodness just below on the tray. A bostock, normally on brioche or some equally decadent bread, but we only had homemade white, so that’s what I used, with chopped almonds & powdered sugar sprinkled over top. And the iced coffee has THE creamer in it. My good-ness.
The adorable tray was my grandparents, emblazoned with gold stars and a very patriotic bald eagle with the flag of the good ol’ U.S. of A. When my grandparents died, and everyone visited the house to select furniture and treasures, I chose, according to my family, the most random. But if you know anything about me, I am most definitely odd, but also quite calculated.
These items and more like them. A toll painted trashcan that sits in my office, because I always liked the look of it. The tray with the eagle because it was one I used the whole of my life and could still perfectly envision Grandma’s hands, nails long and pointy and laquered, carrying it. A wee stove top pot, with lid, that Grandpa worked for and used most days of my memory. Carvings of a duck, eagle, and geese – made by Grandpa. A statue of the Virgin Mary that lived my whole life atop Grandma’s dresser. A chest of drawers that held Grandpa’s clothes. Every item of little monetary value, but so rich with memories as to make them priceless to me.
And a couple more delicious dazzler meals. I bought the fabulous Sababa Cookbook and made the matbucha – tomato & red pepper spread, along with the golden onion & chickpea dip (though mine looks very different from hers), and my own favorite hummus & pita. The cheezy asparagus pashtida is from the same book on a different day. Um, yes, more please.