This is me, freaking out after a recent trip to the grocery store, in a moment captured on Instagram.
I went to the grocery store yesterday. I still wore my mask inside, and so did everyone else because not all of us are ready for the return of mouths.
I entered the store through the doors on the east side of the building. As I was checking out, I looked at that door with longing and resignation. That door was closest to my car, and I desperately wanted to use it, but I had been conditioned by COVID protocols to go out through the west doorway, the designated exit. One door to enter. Another to exit. If you tried to enter through the exit or exit through the entrance, the healthcare system might collapse. That’s what they told us. Those were the rules.
Yet my cashier caught my eye, and beneath her mask, I could sense she was smiling. I hesitated to ask, but I bravely pushed forward past my fear. “Can I leave through---” She cut me off, anticipating my bold and daring request.
“Yes,” she said. You can leave through that door now.
Oh. My. God. I beamed beneath my mask at this miniscule yet massive moment of freedom. I was walking out the door I had walked in. For fourteen months I moved through the grocery store (when I went at all) like a cow being processed. In through the east, moving through the aisles collecting foodstuffs, paying with my mobile supercomputer while holding my breath, then out through the west, scores of yards and additional seconds away from my vehicle.
But now. I had just walked out the door I had walked in.
If I could do that... No, if we could do that, what else could we do? Could we touch grocery items then put them back because we’d changed our minds? Could we enter buildings that are neither our homes nor grocery stores? Do such places even exist anymore? Maybe, just maybe, could we investigate the causes and connections behind the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob intent on overturning a fair election and lynching the Vice President?
It feels like a new day, a new dawn, filled with possibilities! Except that point about the investigation. I just heard Mitch McConnell says no, and he makes the rules.
Tonight I return to MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with the King of Shade, Brian Williams. I’ll return again next Monday May 24th.
I think three bullets is the minimum to justify the use of bullets, so in this place, I’ll just say Rest in Peace Paul Mooney, one of the baddest truth-tellers to walk the Earth.
Tracing the African Diaspora in Food (The New Yorker)
I’m personally excited that my friend Chef Russell Jackson, and his Harlem restaurant Reverence, are featured in both this article and the Netflix series referenced, High on the Hog: How African American Transformed America, based on the book by Jessica B. Harris. And I’m collectively excited that many of us will get to see a TV series about the African roots of American cuisine. Delicious history, coming up!
Homeroom: I’m Concerned About Wokeness at My Child’s School (The Atlantic)
I’ve encountered many versions of this concern by White parents who think that by teaching a more complete history, schools are making their kids feel bad about being White. First, imagine how all the non-white kids have been feeling for decades. Second, read this excellent rebuttal to that concern.
Civics legislation caught in debate over race in education (The Washington Post)
In related news, it’s not just White parents who are concerned about education; it’s the political party increasingly identifying solely with White people. Since the GOP is afraid that history education might include more truth about slavery, conservative media has attacked an unrelated civics education proposal that could strengthen our democracy.
(Speaking of civics education, now’s a good time to remind you to check out my podcast, How To Citizen with Baratunde. We recently released one of my favorite episodes, about how we could have amazing broadband in the U.S by having the people own the infrastructure via the government. Listen to my conversation with Bruce Patterson, technology director for the city of Ammon, Idaho, about life, liberty, and the pursuit of wifi.)
Across the far-right spectrum, people of color play a more visible role (The Washington Post)
You know America is making progress on race when the racist extremist groups are letting in people of color. Even the fascists are getting woke! Seriously, this is a really thoughtful piece that dives deep into a world many of us rightfully worry about but don’t understand.
Richard Montañez didn’t actually invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (The Los Angeles Times)
If you told me I would spend 20 minutes reading an article about the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, I would have blocked you on all social media. But here I am having read it and now recommending you do the same! Riveting stuff. A real quote: “The late ’80s were a cutthroat time in corporate foodstuffs.”
Because I can embed tweets now, let’s get fancy. This is a good thread about the carbon impact of mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
My friend Tricia sent this because I live in the L.A. neighborhood referenced. Also, it’s super very mega funny. Dulcé Sloan!