Like many of you, I have spent much of the week glued to the news, addled with anxiety-deeply concerned not only about the final results of the election but also asking myself what the results say about the Spirit of our nation.
I find it almost unbelievable that amidst a shockingly and glaringly mismanaged national response to a global pandemic, that despite the attacks on basic human rights and decency, the refusal to acknowledge our ecological crises and the racist vitriol coming from Donald Trump--nearly 50% of our country believes he is the best choice to lead us.
I’m stunned, appalled, confused and disheartened...until I begin to reflect honestly on our national history and story.
The Foundation of the American economy and social system was built on racism, domination, and violence against African American and Indigenous people. These aren’t the only parts of the story--but they are the parts that we have not collectively come to terms with. We don’t like to tell ourselves this story because the Truth hurts. It also sets you free. Donald Trump is simply a reflection of the United States large scale cultural amnesia.
While I have the luxury of being shocked at the massive support for the policies and politics of Donald Trump--my African American friends do not. They live with the daily racisms large and small. They aren’t surprised. This video from Princeton Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. says it powerfully.
A quick look at the electoral breakout leads me to believe that this election speaks to the fear of losing power for many white Americans as our country's demographics shift. And so it becomes even more obvious that we still, desperately need a national reckoning with the sins of our past (and present).
As humans we cannot help but absorb culture and so these divisions, beliefs, prejudices, and lack of awareness exist inside of our personal psyches.
While this election should not shock us, I certainly do hope it wakes us up.
I know the Black Lives Matter movement and this moment has been working on me. Inviting me to question ways that I’m blind to my privilege and expect to be front and center as a white guy.
Conversations early in the pandemic with my activist friends Byron Go and Rev. Dr. Diane Johnson led me to look at Sacred Kitchen’s offerings. I changed the virtual cooking class structure to be more aligned with a commitment to social justice:
While I have mastery in making things delicious--the food I cook and teach, is most often not from my ancestral culture. Our cooking classes now feature guest chefs who share their passion, wisdom, and tradition as a reminder (to me and all our attendees) that I’m not the expert--and that we all have the responsibility to broaden the scope of our perspective. I’m excited to introduce our next guest chef (and an amazing activist) Reem Assil below.
I hope this moment will inspire you to make adjustments in your own way of thinking and acting. We need large scale collective action and we need individual introspection. When we acknowledge that injustice is alive and well both in the world and in our own hearts and minds--then we are beginning to ripen as agents of change.
The reality is we have a LONG way to go before we can claim to be approaching a culture of justice and equity.
There is much work to do: Work to combat the pandemic, work to revive our economy, work to lift up the left behind, work to find conversations and common ground across the political divide. And after all of these are addressed, there will remain the work of facilitating a truthful reckoning with the entirety of the American Story.
The work of bringing justice, equity, and dignity to the world will take all of us.
At Sacred Kitchen, we will keep cooking because food and human togetherness are necessary nourishment for the long view we need to sustain this Sacred Work.
I hope you will join us whenever and wherever you can.
Breathe Deep, Eat Well, Keep Going,