Have you ever had a difficult time deciding if you needed a particular food supplement so you closed your eyes, held it in your hands and quietly waited to see if it there was a natural tendency to pull or push it away? You have to close your eyes and let you instincts kick it for it to work.
I was watching this new show on the Cooking Network where the contestants compete to see who could prepare the best doughnuts. Three contestants, this week two white males and one black female. She was cute, young and very articulate. You do have to say ‘articulate’ when referring to a person of color who is well spoken, right? I can’t just say she had a soft voice with a cute lilt, right?
When challenged to create Japanese themed doughnuts, I wondered if any of these contestants knew of the surprises found in doughnuts in Japan. It can be anything from shredded fish to egg salad, usually savory rather than sweet. One of the guys came close with his rice stuff concoction but the young lady seemed even closer with a green tea dough. I wondered if she and the other judges had closed their eyes to the contestants and relied solely upon what they saw in the doughnuts how different would the results have been? I noticed that every time the black woman’s doughnuts were presented, thewhite female judge seemed to put an edge in her voice (could I say she was inarticulate?) and felt mean in her criticism of the black woman’s work.
I’m not accusing these people of racism, but am saying race (and gender…) is an issue. After all, I found myself way more focused on the black woman than that of the white males. What if race had been taken out of this instance?
Seeing race not only causes the doughnut to be discounted, but it also keeps the cook out of the surrounding conversations. It keeps the book by Indian authors segregated on that shelf just for Indian authors and in relegates Asian authors to workshops for Asian authors rather than for mystery writers. It’s like this post on Code Switch that discussing how minorities hurt corporations. A portion:
Those social settings tend to be segregated, with whites tending to spend time with whites and blacks with blacks. (The next time you are in an office cafeteria, notice who sits next to whom at lunch.) In a world where ethnic groups cluster together, those in the minority are less likely to share and benefit from spillover effects in the ecosystem and are therefore less likely to learn early on about important company developments or technological innovations.
I can’t just buy the books by the new Malaysian author and stick it on a shelf. It needs to be included with all the other dystopian fictions and book talked with them as well!
Am I talking myself out of blogging for books of color? HA! No, because this is still American and our eyes are not closed. And I know that this blog brings together people of all backgrounds through shared interest.
This week I’m heading to my first Unconference and it will be held at DePauw University. Topic: Information Literacy. I’m working on a couple of great interviews that should post very, very soon!
Next week, it’s Cincinnati and the National African American Librarian Conference where I’ll be presenting with B. A. Binns and David Miller. Today, I’m expecting my sister to drive over so we can go harvest the garden. I’m expecting okra, cucumbers, tomatoes and perhaps a head of cabbage! In the meantime and between time, I’m still reading BFYA.
Have a great week and try that thing of closing your eyes and trusting your instincts!