Year: 2018

Touring Natchitoches

Oof, spelling Natchitoches and saying it are two different beasts. By the time you reconcile the fact that you just won’t be pronouncing half the letters/syllables in the word, you’re then tasked with spelling it and half to reinsert all those letter/syllables you were told to ignore. If you’ve never been to Louisiana and are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, it looks like this word SHOULD be pronounced, “Natch-uh-TOH-chez.” But it’s actually: “NAK-uh-tish.” I could maybe understand “toches” being one syllable, as French will often make an -es at the end of a word silent, but I will never understand how the “tch” becomes a “k” sound…maybe if there weren’t a “t” in that cluster…but I digress. I spent about 36 hours in this quaint little town of the parish of the same name, and was told there were many things I needed to see/do/eat. Natchitoches, here forth referred to as ‘The Town’, has a very small historic district, with about 15 blocks of gorgeous southern mansions and other smaller beautiful homes, and …

Questioning Affirmative Action

Racial justice advocates should consider, with a degree of candor that has not yet been evident, whether affirmative action–as it has been framed and defended during the past thirty years–has functioned more like a racial bribe than a tool of racial justice. One might wonder, what does affirmative action have to do with mass incarceration? Well, perhaps the two are linked more than we realize. We should ask ourselves whether efforts to achieve “cosmetic” racial diversity–that is, reform efforts that make institutions look good on the surface without the needed structural changes–have actually helped to facilitate the emergence of mass incarceration and interfered with the development of a more compassionate race consciousness. In earlier chapters, we have seen that throughout our nation’s history, poor and working-class whites have been bought off by racial bribes. The question posed here is whether affirmative action has functioned similarly, offering relatively meager material advantages but significant psychological benefits to people of color, in exchange for the abandonment of a more radical movement that promised to alter the nation’s economic …

30 Restaurants: Angelo Brocato’s & Harbor Seafood

Angelo Brocato I had to wait to write this post because I had to go back a second time because I didn’t get what I intended to on the first trip. I really need to go a third time and try something else. Angelo’s is a well-known Italian dessert shop with gelato, coffee, cookies, cannoli, and other pastries. I’ve eaten the gelato there once in the first few years of living here. I remember it being good but I never went back. I think I just forgot about it and I typically go to Creole Creamery to go get ice cream (which I know is not the same as gelato). I added it to the list because it seemed a shame to love dessert as much as I do and not know their products as intimately as I know other places. Also, it could become my go-to shop when I get a craving for something sweet. On the first visit, I got their regular sized cannoli, filled half and half with vanilla and chocolate flavored …

Book 13: The Taste of Salt-Martha Southgate

In essence, this novel is about flawed people with a flawed family, who try to do right, try and lead normal productive lives, and still find themselves in messy, difficult, overwhelming situations. What was refreshing about The Taste of Salt, was that it had atypical Black characters with both typical Black-life problems and typical life problems in equal measure, presented in that universally relatable way that most movies and stories with all white characters are. By that I mean, there’s this tendency to write and view the stories of predominately white characters as being the “everyman’s” story, where the scenario could have happened to anyone, and a white face is the essential blank canvas with which to ensure those scenarios relate to all audiences. When you get stories with predominately POC characters, even if their issues are just as relatable, they suddenly get framed as a niche market–a Black/Latinx/Indian/fill in the blank coming of age story; the same scenarios are presented but are eclipsed by cultural identifiers. And I’m not saying we should all strive to …

Book 12: The Bluest Eye-Toni Morrison

I’ve been hearing people talk about the importance of this work for years, and yet it was one of the few texts by Toni Morrison I wasn’t particularly interested in reading. I added it to my list because it seemed like it was time that I learned for myself what all the discussion was about. Overall, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book. It’s written in a way that makes it a bit hard to follow: it jumps from character to character, voice to voice, time period to time period. It wasn’t until midway through the book that I could follow the abrupt changes without having to re-read previous portions; checking character names so that I was clear about who was speaking and what time period we were in. I think this is one of those books that truly merits reading in the context of a classroom, where you can pause and discuss and reflect and have some guidance through digesting the material. In her foreword, Morrison writes: When I began writing …