6+ Ways You Can Support Your Local Muslim Community

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Some people think a job should be a reliable source of income. Others think their job should continue building their professional skill set.

Fortunately I’m independently wealthy (ha), and I gain my skills by plugging into the Matrix every night. So really, I just go to work to learn more about humanity.

For example, the administration recently sent out a mass email informing us that attendance at this year’s holiday party is mandatory.

Apparently that’s a thing.

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I have a sudden urge to wear this shirt to the party.

Perhaps more somberly, I’m now watching the news a lot more, thanks to the TV opposite our front desk that blares CNN every minute of the workday.

And guess who’s been featured heavily on CNN in the past few months?

If you answered “The Dalai Lama” or “Puppies and unicorns”, (a) you’re watching a different CNN, and (b) I want to know how to access it. I was referring to Monsieur Trump.

Oh, Trump. Trumpity Trump Trump.

I’m not going to lie: the desire to crack a joke about his hair is almost overwhelming. But then I remember that part of being a good feminist means not perpetuating the terrible tradition of judging people’s worth by their appearances. So I’ll let John Mulaney say it for me.

Jokes fade, however, in light of this insidious trend of painting the whole of Islam with the same terrorist brush, and vandalizing mosques, and committing violence against Muslims, and generally getting F’s in both Compassion 101 and Elementary Rational Thinking for the semester.

Fear not, though: the semester is now over. A new one is beginning. We can do better.

So looking ahead, what can we non-Muslims do to let our Muslim neighbours know we value their safety and civil rights?

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I googled this question a few weeks ago and got basically no pertinent results, so this is our chance to be more current than Google. Oh, yes. Relish this moment, my friends, and if you have more thoughts about how to support one’s local Muslim community, chime in below.

  1. Check in with the Muslim community to see how you can support them.  In the process of writing this entry, I found this marvelous Facebook post from an American Muslim, detailing some things we non-Muslims can do.
  2. Education, education, education. I’m not going to lie: in sixth grade, 9/11 made me terrified of Muslims. Then my dad (a history buff and a pastor) came to my class to give us a quick introduction to Islam, and we were all like, “Oh, okay, we didn’t need to be scared.” So if you don’t know a hijab from a niqab — or if you’re like me and you thought Islam oppressed women until a friend gently corrected you — I recommend taking a few minutes every day to learn something new about the religion that 23% of the world adheres to. Not sure where to start? Reza Aslan is my go-to guy right now, but there’s also no shame in Wikipedia for the big picture. Here’s a fun fact to get you started: Nine majority-Muslim nations have signed the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and seven more have acceded to it (which essentially has the same effect as ratification). Who’s conspicuously absent from the list of supporters? ‘Murica.
  3. In your own circles, be That Guy. I know, I know — someone who habitually delivers warnings about the influx of Sharia law in the U.S. usually doesn’t appreciate being interrupted. But your interruption doesn’t have to be dramatic. Using that education from step #2, you can gently derail them with a pleasant “Actually …” or “I thought the same thing, but as it turns out …”
  4. Reach out to your local mosque. Tell them you’re glad they’re in the neighbourhood. Thank them for the charity work they do. Ask if there’s anything you can do to show your support — maybe their groundskeeping team needs another volunteer, or there’s a community dinner you could attend. If you’re a praying person, let them know you’re praying for their members’ resilience and safety. If you run some sort of local periodical, offer them some PR through an interview or a local interest piece. If they’re planning a fundraiser for a charity project, show up and support them.
  5. Respect their space. When I reached out my local mosque, I had grand dreams about what might happen as a result. They would be overwhelmed by my offer of support, and respond with oodles of gratitude! We could form a local interfaith alliance! I would go down in history as a pioneer in American Christian–Muslim relations! I’d forgotten, of course, that I am just one little fish in the big, big pond of interfaith conversations, and also that this kind of thinking is a form of colonial paternalism. I’d also forgotten that my local Muslim community is composed of human beings. With, you know, rights and stuff. Including the right to be left alone and decide their own PR strategy.
  6. Remember you have a vote. As this conversation on Islam in America continues to unfold, keep a close eye on who’s saying what, and let it inform your voting in the future. If you think your current representatives aren’t responding well, let them know you’re disappointed. (Not sure who to contact? This website will tell you.)

Any other ideas out there? If you’re a Muslim in a largely non-Muslim area, what kinds of support would you like to see?

[Bonus resource: WISE’s “100 Extraordinary Muslim Women, Past and Present” project. So cool!]

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Image credits: screen detail from charlemagne, Weird Al shirt from JSRDirect, Istanbul mosque from falco, and Medina mosque from omeng on Pixabay.  

No Carb Left Behind: The Finale

After a month of complications, it’s official: I’m currently at the airport, heading out of town tonight, bound for the land of humidity and alligator jerky.

What has the past month entailed, beyond the unconscionable shirking of my D.A. Days duties? Well …

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There were yet more heartfelt goodbyes to my favourite place on campus.

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I saw this sign and toyed with the idea of buying this coffee shop and renaming it either Schrödinger’s or Heisenberg’s. I’m still uncertain.

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I saw this delightful sign at the Seattle Pride Parade, which tickled me to no end. (If you can’t read it, it says “Mawage is what bwings us togeva today.”)

Speaking of which, if you’ll grant me a soapbox for a moment … I wrote about one benefit of pride parades last year, but I thought of another this year when I saw several local teen shelters and resource centers in the parade, many of which had a delegation of their teen patrons and volunteers. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an LGBTQQIA teen, facing intense harassment and discrimination on a regular basis. Pride parades are one way we get to say to those kids, “We love you, and we’ve got your backs.” Because as the ever-inspiring Hannah Schaefer pointed out, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what our opinions on sexuality are — these people are still coming out, and they’re still facing higher risks of violence and suicide and homelessness. If we prioritize our opinions over their lives, that paints us in a pretty ugly light.

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Yesterday’s news was that I moved out of my apartment and had to say goodbye to this guy. It was heartfelt. There were tears.

Granted, he was sacked out on a chair at the time, taking his 18th nap of the day. But I just know he’ll miss having someone to tickle his feet and call him The Dude.

The tabby in the picture, a.k.a. Bandersnatch Cutiebutt, couldn’t have cared less. As far as he’s concerned, my exodus means one less biped hogging the couch.

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After relocating to my friends’ house for the night, I spent today with these two entities. Meet Delia and Delbert, our contestants on this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser. They had eight hours to lose 9 pounds each … and what do you know, they did it, folks! Let’s hear it for Delta Airlines’ accurate scales!

And finally …

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… I saved the best for last in our No Carb Left Behind series: Kaffeeklatsch, in Lake City. I cannot recommend this place more highly. I lived within walking distance of it for two years, and I credit it with maintaining my wellbeing throughout grad school. It’s right under my friends, my family, and my counselor, and right above naps. They have amazingly moist cinnamon rolls, and super flavorful bread (try the Rustic White), and a modest yet sufficient tea selection.

And on Wednesdays they have chili. You guys. The chili. OMG. I never thought I was a beef person, but this chili has won me over, heart and soul. I’ll share my wannabe vegetarian recipe sometime. In the meantime, get yourself over to Kaffeeklatsch and try it yourself. Hitchhike if you have to. Hang-glide. Parasail. Steal Borrow your neighbour’s daughter’s horse. Camp out for 36 hours like you’re waiting to get into Hall H. Do what you have to do. Just be there on a Wednesday.

I’m now having trouble remembering why I’m moving away from this place. What’s that? Full-time employment, you say? Very well, I’ll board this plane. But don’t stop being awesome, Seattle — you can bet your buttons I’ll be back.

Southward ho!

~ S.

Counter Action: Watermelon–edamame salad

Next in our summer salad series, which is as much a dedication to seasonal cooking as it is a Hail Mary intermission between cheese-filled pancakes and homemade waffle cones, we have this easy blend of watermelon, snow peas, and edamame.

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And have you ever been told to put salt on your watermelon, to bring out the flavour? That’s what the dressing does, but through the vehicle of toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot.

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Watermelon–edamame salad

(thrown together with what I had in my cupboard; for added flavour, try Joy the Baker’s original recipe: Snap pea, watermelon, and edamame salad with sesame vinaigrette)

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. chopped watermelon
  • 2 handfuls snow peas, cut on the bias
  • 3/4 c. shelled thawed edamame
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine watermelon, snow peas, and edamame.
  2. In lidded jar, combine oils, mustard, soy sauce, and seasonings. Shake to combine.
  3. Toss salad with dressing to taste. Store leftovers covered in fridge for up to four days.

 

No Carb Left Behind, episode 2: U-District

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For the next installment of my food-centered farewell tour of Seattle, we travel north to the University District, home of the excellent Magus Books, a much-touted annual streetfair, and the unparalleled University of Washingon.

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Oh yeah, that’s my alma mater.

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Heck yes. Go Huskies.

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This place does have a formal name, but everyone just calls it the Harry Potter room. Early in the morning, before the tour groups start coming through, there’s no better place for a solo cup of tea and meditation on your philosopher of choice.

Anyhow, as you can see in the first picture, I chose Guanaco’s Tacos for a plate of rice, black beans, pickled slaw, and two zucchini–spinach–cheese pupusas (which, if you’re new to them, are a bit like stuffed pancakes made with corn flour). It was a fantastic meal, especially for the price, but really at the limits of my stomach capacity. Next time I think I might skip the plate and order one pupusa, a side of rice, and a side of beans.

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Just down the hill, at the University Village, there’s a branch of the inimitable Molly Moon’s. It’s a bit on the pricier side, which is why I hadn’t been there since last June, but worth the money for a special occasion. I love their Honey Lavender and Maple Walnut flavours, so this time, I took a chance on another of their year-round flavours, Salted Caramel. It was a bit salty on its own for me, but I can see it really shining alongside a scoop of Melted Chocolate.

I once looked at an apartment quite close to the University Village. I rejected it partly because I would have wound up being far too familiar with Balsamic Strawberry and Vanilla Bean, the scent of homemade waffle cones drawing me on like a siren song.

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“Scout mint … Scout miiiiint …”

These are by no means the only, or even the all-out best, places to eat in the U-District — I also love Shalimar for slightly formal (but still affordable) Indian food; Molly’s Café has some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had; and the District Market‘s excellent ready-made soups and sandwiches will always have a special place in my heart for welcoming me back to Seattle after a long early-morning flight from Alabama.

In short, it’s hard to go wrong with the U-District, food-wise. Whether you’re looking for a meal on the go or need a good place for a date, the U-District has your back.

If you live in Seattle, what’s your favourite food place in the U-District? Alternatively, what was your go-to food place in college?

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Image credit: Siren from Azumi79 on Pixabay.

Counter Action: Green pasta salad

It’s one of the hottest days of the year so far here, although you wouldn’t know it to look at my neighbours. I don’t think a day has gone by since Memorial Day that they didn’t have the grill fired up outside. Apparently sweat is weakness leaving the body.

As long as this heat wave lasts, I’m staying as far away from heat sources as I can. No pizza or soup or homemade baked goods for this girl. Even snuggling with my roommate’s cats is a bit much.

This salad definitely fits the summer bill of fare, though. I don’t know what it is about the snap of raw vegetables that feels cooler than cooked ones, but this dish has its fair share of crunch with broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers. Have some fresh asparagus spears you need to use up? Throw them in too. Sugar snap peas? Why not. Cooked chilled edamame? Have at it. This is your salad, my friends.

Green pasta salad

(based on Best Food Cloud’s ranch pasta salad)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. rotini
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 pkt. ranch dressing mix

Directions:

  1. Cook rotini until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool.
  2. Dice broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In separate bowl, combine yogurt, milk, and ranch dressing mix until smooth. (Based on how much whey is in your Greek yogurt, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of flour to thicken the dressing. If you like your salad extra flavorful, add up to 1 tsp. onion powder and 2 tsp. dried parsley.)
  4. Combine rotini, veggies, and dressing. Toss to coat.

No Carb Left Behind: episode 1

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First off, I should admit that I did not come up with this tour name myself; it’s what Liz’s friend calls her Italy trip in Eat Pray Love. Unlike her, I do not have ready access to fried squash blossoms and homemade tiramisu and roasted endive and penne ai quattro formaggi and pizza that incurs an existential crisis.

Perhaps it’s just as well.

However, we do have some pretty awesome street food, delis, and bakeries here in Seattle, and it’s my sad duty to revisit my favourites in the process of moving away. It’s not as impressive as Cher’s farewell tour, I know. But at least I’m only planning one.

My first stop was Michou Deli, in the Pike Place Market. It has a wide range of sandwiches and salads, with a respectable collection of pastas, soups, and pastries as well. My favourite sandwich, the one you see above, is the Tuscan chicken, with chicken, tomato, artichokes, greens, mozzarella, and pesto. This time I got a side of kale–wild rice salad to go with it. Such a good lunch — and super affordable, too; my sandwich–salad combo was under $7.

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And while I was at Pike Place, of course, I had to stop at Three Girls Bakery (no official website, but here’s their Yelp listing) to pick up a pastry. I decided on a poppyseed rugelach in the end, but they also have fantastic palmiers, croissants, brownies, and cookies. They’re reasonably priced, too (I paid $2 for this rugelach, and the guy threw in a broken one for free), so if you decide that the line at Piroshky Piroshky is too long, just walk a block further and get your pastry fix at Three Girls.

Also, a word about visiting Pike Place Market: I highly recommend going there early. Le Panier opens at 6:30 a.m. and Lowell’s at 7 a.m., so by the time you finish breakfast, many of the produce, flower, and seafood vendors will have set up their wares, and you’ll be able to stroll the market without the crowds. It’s a much more relaxed, personal, and efficient way to experience the market. (If you’re there for the crafts vendors, you’ll probably have to wait until 10 a.m. But that’s all the more time to mooch around the nearby coffee shops, right?)

Stay tuned for the next installment … but in the meantime, I want to know: What’s the best sandwich in your hometown?

Your unasked questions answered

First of all, my sincerest apologies to all the commenters, gossip columnists, and TV crews who have been wondering where I was for the past four months. Sorry for the panic — I know, it was like the Marie Celeste all over again, but with more conspiracy theories. It’s okay. I’m back now.

(And by “panicked fanbase”, I mean the one friend to whom I casually mentioned my absence, to which she replied, “Oh yeah, you have a blog.”)

In a nutshell: I’ve been finishing my master’s degree.

There's been serious talk of wearing wizards' caps to graduation. I'll keep you posted.

There’s been serious talk of wearing wizards’ caps to graduation. I’ll keep you posted.

“What’s your degree in?”

There’s more than one reason why I haven’t said before. First, there’s the whole stranger-danger thing. I sometimes play a game (benevolently, I swear) where I read strangers’ blogs and see how quickly I can identify what city they live in. Sometimes they’re super open about it. Sometimes they’re successfully secretive. Most often, they don’t want to say outright, but it’s super easy to find out based on the businesses and events they mention. Because I’m in a field that doesn’t have many masters’ programs in the U.S., mentioning my discipline in conjunction with the other events I’ve described would have been about as smart as posting a daily selfie with the Eiffel Tower and expecting my location to remain anonymous.

“Loving my new place in London! #privacyplease”

The other reason is that my field has a certain amount of stigma. About fifty percent of the time, when I tell people what I’m studying, they scrunch up their noses and say, “You have to have a degree to do that?” (I like to respond with a breezy “No, I just had a spare $45,000 lying around, and Joss said it wasn’t enough to reboot Firefly.”) Another thirty percent of the time, they’ll say, “Really? Where are you going to find a job in that?”, as though they expect me to have a road-to-Damascus moment and switch to, say, bioengineering on the spot.

But neither of these reasons are particularly valid anymore, because (a) I’m moving soon because (b) I just got a full-time job in my field. It can be done, friends.

So to answer your question: I’m a librarian.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a free stock photo of a stereotypical librarian. This fills me with hope.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a free stock photo of a stereotypical librarian. This fills me with hope.

“So, what’s new in your life?”

Well, I just got a full-time job in my field. Did I mention that? Please don’t hate me. It does mean I have to get to move to the Deep South in the depths of summer. So I guess I’m an adult now? Is this what adults do? Does it mean I have to stop sleeping with a nightlight?

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This is definitely not my nightlight. That mouse is far too scary.

In other news, getting a job before graduation means that all motivation evaporates. Right now I’m in the throes of writing MY LAST PAPER EVER (please don’t hate me) and it is not going well. For comparison, I have also written papers on canine imagery in Renaissance drama, the Protestant poetic of George Herbert, and medieval numerology, all of which were riveting season finales compared to this last barrier between me and gainful employment.

Also, I’ve been trying to purchase ebooks for the small library I manage, which is obnoxiously difficult and expensive, and catalog other ebooks with open-source software that was apparently coded in an era when ebooks were naught but a twinkle in Vannevar Bush’s eye. So the next time I hear someone say, “I don’t know why my library doesn’t have more ebooks; they’re just so much easier to buy and use,” I am going to stalk them until they start making risotto, and then I am going to cry into it, and it will be too salty and their dinner party will be ruined. Ha.

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“Speaking of cooking, can you make a roux with EVOO instead of butter?”

As I discovered yesterday while making the Pioneer Woman’s cauliflower soup, yes, you can, but it will have a pale green tinge that is not for the faint of heart. Also, you will need a heck of a lot of salt.

“What’s up next for IWtSLtY?”

I have every intention of returning to a regular posting schedule, but let’s be honest, I also have every intention of someday learning how to manage my hair, and that’s not working out so well.

However! I’m currently mapping out a No Carb Left Behind farewell tour of my home city, which I can bring you along on, now that it doesn’t matter if you know where I live. So stay tuned for that.

Finally, looking farther ahead: What are your thoughts on D.A. Days, our celebration of all things Potteresque? Is it worth a repeat? Would you like to see another fandom highlighted this year?

Until (an ideally very soon) next time,

~ Sonya

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[traditional Yak of Goodwill]

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Image credits: Great Hall gif from Warner Brothers via Tumblr, I claim no ownership of it whatsoever, please don’t shut down my blog; door by stux on Pixabay; librarian via Bill Branson on Wikimedia Commons; nightlight from twaita2012 on Pixabay; TH gif from MTV via rebloggy, again, no rights owned here, please don’t sue; yak from Simon on Pixabay.

Counter Action: Sweet potato soup with goat cheese biscuits

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Well, this is embarrassing.

Sorry about the month of silence. Let’s turn it into a game. I was:

a) in a coma after I heroically foiled a plot to blackmail the Duchess of Winnipeg;

b) abducted by space pirates and pressed into service on a mission to seize control of the galaxy’s last supply of pyridium;

c) super busy with the pre-Oscars press junket (you know how it goes); or

d) in grad school.

If you guessed C, you are … sadly mistaken. I weep with you. It’s D. But as my cohort’s Facebook page just reminded me, we’re in school for just 79 more weekdays! And then we’re done with school forever!

Or, you know, until our mid-life crises hit and we start thinking longingly of astrophysics.

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Hey there, Centaurus A. I love it when you talk density to me.

In the meantime, it’s been a fun ride. Here’s a snippet of what’s been on my mind:

  • Emotion-recognition technology: The future is here, and somehow it’s a lot creepier and a lot less jetpack-y than I was counting on.
  • Righteous trolling: How being right can easily overtake recognizing someone’s humanity.
  • #FITIN15: Jessica Smith might be my favourite YouTube workout leader — she’s always so positive, and she knows how to strike a balance between meeting people where they’re at and encouraging them to push themselves. Right now she’s doing a series called #FITIN15, which is a bunch of 15-minute workouts. Pair a cardio one with a flexibility or strength one, and it’s a great start to any day.
  • Madame Tussaud: My current read. I’m only a quarter of the way through, but so far I’m loving the balance between the strong, complex protagonist and her turbulent, richly detailed setting.
  • This soup-and-biscuit pairing. It’s been on my cooking bucket list for ages, but I didn’t have an excuse to make it until last week when a friend gave me some chevre. The soup is velvety smooth, with a mellow flavour that pairs well with the sharp tang of the goat cheese on top and in the biscuits. Next time I make it, I might roast the sweet potatoes before adding them to the soup, to deepen the flavour. For a special occasion, I might even caramelize the onions. But for an everyday winter soup, it works just fine as is.

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Sweet potato soup with goat cheese biscuits

(From the inimitable Joy the Baker)

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2-1/2 lbs. (between 5 and 7) sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 T. chopped fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 8 c. liquid (I used 4 c. broth and 4 c. water)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • goat cheese to garnish

Biscuits

  • 2 c. flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 T. cold butter
  • 4 T. goat cheese
  • 1 c. buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Over medium heat, warm oil in large stockpot. Add onion and cook 3–5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add garlic, sweet potato, and seasonings. Stir to combine and cook 5–7 minutes.
  3. Add broth and raise heat to high. Simmer 15–20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  4. In batches, liquify soup in blender. Return to stovetop and heat on low until ready to serve, garnished with goat cheese.
  5. For biscuits, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
  6. Cut in butter and crumbled goat cheese until mixture resembles small clumps.
  7. Mix in buttermilk thoroughly. Drop onto baking parchment in spoonfuls. Bake at 425°F for 12–15 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Image credit: Galaxy from WikiImages on Pixabay.

Why grammar matters.

I just saw this on my Facebook feed and had to share it with my fellow grammar nuts.

Gowdy

When I first read it, I thought the verb “stopping” applied to all the items in the series. Hence:

Trey Gowdy is for 

  1. stopping corruption
  2. stopping cronyism
  3. stopping lying to America
  4. stopping restoring the USA back to a country with integrity

Wait, what?

I must have read that wrong. I guess “stopping” only applies to the first item in the series. So Trey Gowdy is for

  1. stopping corruption
  2. cronyism
  3. lying to America
  4. restoring the USA back to a country with integrity

That’s even worse. I’m so confused. Help me, Rhonda.

 

KUOW: “‘Is There a Problem?’ That Scary Brown Man and White Privilege”

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Awhile back, I published a response to the #YesAllWomen movement. I just went back and re-read it, and this line jumped out at me:

So what can men do? […] They can interact with women more mindfully, especially in risky situations like at night and in enclosed spaces. […] I’ve heard from other men who used to feel a little hurt when they saw solo women eyeing them suspiciously or crossing the street to avoid them. Now that they’ve caught a glimpse of the degree of caution we’ve been raised to cultivate, they’re more understanding of these actions.

Then I found this article on KUOW: “‘Is There a Problem?’ That Scary Brown Man and White Privilege.” While I’m still all for men interacting mindfully with women, Gyasi Ross’s story is a gutwrenching example of how often authority figures assume that in any tense situation, it’s the man of color who’s at fault: “A huge Native guy in camouflage was arguing with a clean-cut white couple (and a white captain). Three guesses who started that one. That’s privilege.”

In case you don’t have time to read the article, the confrontation was started by the white woman — the type of move that Jessica Valenti addressed in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal: “Yes, all white women — all of us — are taught to fear men of color. We need to own that truth, own that shameful fear. Most importantly, we need to name it for what it is: deeply held and constantly enforced racism.”

I hadn’t really considered either Ross’s or Valenti’s points when I wrote my response, but they’re right — race plays a part in my snap judgments about who I consider “safe” to walk past on a dark street. It isn’t my only consideration, but it is a consideration. And as Gyasi Ross points out, that’s a problem, not least because skinny unarmed girls aren’t the only ones using race as a metric for threat assessment.

By his own admission, Ross got off easy. But what about the people who haven’t? Later in my article, I said this (emphasis added):

Men, again, we love you. We’re not asking you to wear only pastels, or walk around with your hands up, or get a women’s studies degree.

That was published on May 29, 2014. Michael Brown was still alive at that point. So were Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner, and Rumain Brisbon, and Akai Gurley, and Kajieme Powell, and Ezell Ford, and Dante Parker, and John Crawford III. Within seven months, all of them would be victims of tragic snap judgments.

Early in his story, Ross said: “I knew the drill — I’ve been trained since I was a kid: ‘You’re a big brown guy — don’t be too scary. Don’t be too big. Don’t be too brown.’ We’re taught these things for our own safety and to get along.”

At this point I wanted to jump on a bus and find him and give him a big hug. Because as I discussed in my post, we women know the drill. We’ve been trained since we were kids: “Don’t show too much skin. Don’t walk provocatively. Don’t travel alone.” Women of color have additional “rules” they’ve been taught. Transgender people have others. Like Ross, we’ve been taught these things for our own safety, and no matter how effective they are at keeping us safe, it still stings that we have to compensate for other people’s assumptions and prejudices.

(And speaking as a straight cis white middle-class able-bodied young person, my knowledge of prejudice is limited to what I experience as quite a sheltered female — in short, not much.)

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My knowledge of oppression: an analogy.

So for my original question (“What can men do?”), my answer hasn’t changed. But to pose a new question to this matter of race and class and tragic snap judgments, “What can we all do?”

I’m still trying to find the answer, myself. But for starters, I recommend Franchesca Ramsey’s video “5 Tips for Being an Ally.”

If you could forget about one of the “rules” you’ve been given for your demographic, what would it be?

What are your must-read/must-watch resources for people who want to be better allies?

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Image credit: Shadow from PublicDomainPictures, flea from WikiImages on Pixabay.