The moral arc of the universe is pretty dang bumpy

Dear President Trump,

Because I am, in part, using this exercise of writing to you every day to record what I’m noticing and thinking, I want to tell you about another cool bird action I saw yesterday morning in our backyard. We’ve let our little postage stamp area of grass “go meadow” so there are tall grasses and volunteer wildflowers. The nature strip is neat and trim but inside the gate it’s pretty wild. Anyway, I was doing dishes and looking out the window at the backyard and saw a chickadee hop onto a long, fairly thick piece of grass, bending it down into an arc. It was going after some white foamy stuff just under the seed head, which I’ve since learned is spittlebug spit. The chickadee seemed to love the stuff, spending nearly a minute pecking at it. Then suddenly it shifted its weight and the grass straightened and catapulted the little bird off on a sharp, horizontal trajectory. It looked super fun.

The other thing to note for posterity is that today is the day all the company-owned Starbucks stores in North America are closing for four hours for anti-bias training involving about 175,000 employees. I was heartened to see in Jonathan Capehart’s WP editorial this morning that Howard Schultz reached out to some very thoughtful African American leaders to help design the training, including Bryan Stevenson who I’ve written to you about several times before. Personally, I’ve never been a huge Starbucks fan as they’ve gobbled up the market and homogenized the options, but for a big business to pause and say “hey, we screwed up and we have to make a concerted effort to address the bias behind our mistake(s)” is a huge deal.

I don’t see a way to get a clean statistic (i.e., that excludes the Starbucks that aren’t company owned), but The Statistics Portal says that in the spring of 2017 about 37.8 million people in the US said they had purchased something from Starbucks in the last month. Doing a bit of math, this works out to about 22.3 million people who are likely going to encounter an anti-bias trained Starbucks worker in June 2018. The moral arc of the universe is pretty dang bumpy, but it does seem to be bending ever so slightly towards justice.

May we all be safe to be in coffee shops and waffle houses.
May we be happy to check our explicit biases.
May we strive for healthy, vital reckonings with our implicit biases.
May we create nourishing, peaceful places for everyone, including humans and tiny birds.

Tracy Simpson

2 thoughts on “The moral arc of the universe is pretty dang bumpy

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