Signs of inclusivity and generosity

Dear President Trump,

We decided to mix things up this morning and instead of Laura coming out to the market on her own, the dogs and I piled in with her and I’m sitting in the car with them while she does the shopping (she’s older but my heart condition puts me at higher risk so I’m grateful she’s been willing to be our solo out-of-the-house operator). On the way out here we stopped and took the dogs for a favorite, back in the old (pre-covid) days walk and then we negotiated where she’d leave us. The options were in the sun facing a green embankment with trees or in the shade facing the monolithic tan colored brick wall of a warehouse – I won and we’re by the embankment. Since I’m in the car, the windows can all be down and we should be ok. Plus, I just got to see a rabbit nibbling grass at the top of the embankment there are dozens of bees buzzing the tiny white flowers on the hedge edging the embankment.

In fact, today I’m just going to just tell you about positive stuff.

First up is that I think the WP is making a conscious effort to represent more African American people in everyday, ordinary contexts. I was perusing the “five dinners that can be on the table in 40 minutes” recipes this morning and they are including a new feature where they show pictures of the different steps and the first two that I looked at had black women’s hands (clearly two different women’s sets of hands – one with traditionally feminine nails and the other sans fem nails). I know it’s something that shouldn’t be a big deal, at all, but when the default forever and ever in dominant culture outlets is white pretty much everything that’s neutral or positive – hands, feet, faces, voices, opinions, perspectives – it’s a big deal to include even disembodied black hands cooking.

The other three recipes include meat and weren’t relevant to me, but I checked them too and found that two had white woman hands (same woman, I think) and the third had one of the black women’s hands doing the demos. So, three out of five of the featured recipes showed black women’s hands dicing, stirring, and sautéing. Super cool. And yes, I wish it wasn’t. I wish we were leagues beyond this being a super cool thing by now, but we aren’t (or at least the WP isn’t) and so I’m calling it out as a good sign.

The second thing of note is that on our walk we went by the elementary school in that neighborhood and up next to the building is a series of tables and bookshelves full of books and workbooks. It’s all right by where families can come to get free lunches for their kids. The thing that choked me up was the little handwritten sign taped to the edge of one of the tables that says something like “Please take whatever you need. We have plenty and will keep adding new stuff every day.” In other words, ‘we’ve got you and we’ll continue to hold you through this.’

When our little dog pooped around the corner from the tables on the school grass (I know, yuck – sorry – but he had to go and there wasn’t grass on the other side of the sidewalk or across the street), I think having been verklempt over the kindness behind the sweet sign led me to go ahead and pick up someone else’s dog’s poop that was right by Buddy’s. Not a big deal and I’m not mentioning it because I think I did anything especially noble, but just because it was a clear instance where someone else’s goodness prompted me to be a better being and I’m grateful to them.

May we be safe to be better beings who show up for one another.
May we be happy and content – radical as that may be.
May we be inspired by the strengths and skills of people who do and don’t look like us.
May we accept the kindness and care that comes our way.

Tracy Simpson

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