"you eat this shit?" & the science of stomaching racism
middle school came and we were making ice cream in class, shaking sandwich bags full of salt and crushed ice. each period passed with another group of bright eyed 12 year olds scooping out cold, pasty white stuff on their finger tips, bragging about eating ice cream in class until there was nothing left to brag about and no one to brag to.
i liked the shaking more than i like the science. my biology class made it routine to want to eat the things we made, excavated and picked at from shoestring thin teacher budget ingredients. pop rocks and soda, cookies and chocolate chips.
one year we made agar plates for studying bacteria. and that year i was alone about wanting to eat the things we made.
i grew up with agar agar powder being a household, staple item. 49 cents a packet from the local super market and my mom could make 2 big phở-sized bowls of rau câu which was really just sweetened clear jello. sometimes she would brew a big batch of cà phê sữa đá and make a layered jello of coffee and coconut milk. a genius, my mom.
when rau câu settles and cools, the top layer is always a little tougher, it was smooth to the touch and was fun to save for last.
so when we made agar plates that one year and i said, “this is actually really delicious,” they asked me, “you eat this shit?” and this fun science experience turned into silence; the pouring of hot water, the mixing of powder turned into still, hidden hands as if they could see all of the times i’ve peeked over kitchen counters with my tiny, greedy, chubby fingertips waiting to hold jello in my hands; what was commonplace in my fridge, at parties and after school for snacking became petri dishes only fit for bacteria and mold, distant and microscopic.
they won’t tell you science is racist but they will ask, “you eat this shit?” and make your body and your mother and your people feel primitive, fitting enough to be distant and microscopic; exotic, foreign, alien enough to be poured and mixed, probed and left alone to harbor and harbor nastiness.
science will make you shrink and i trust no one who’s never been delegitimized by it.
"you eat this shit?" so i swallow my tongue and say, "maybe i’m mistaking it for something else." and they all laugh that laugh that they do - when it’s not really funny but a little more discomforting, awkward, questionable. i smile along, move my eyes away from the plate, dust powder off my hands: removing evidence that i knew agar agar to be anything but the filling for petri dishes ready to hold bacteria for science.
i wonder had it been different if i chose a different word. if i had said, “my mom makes this jello” instead of “my mom makes this agar.” i wonder if that would’ve made them trust me over science, believe me over directions. even now, today, searching for photos of rau câu i tried to find more appetizing ones.
of all of the ways i have been taught in my science classes to think about my body, my gender, my sex, my race, my heritage: this memory of being silenced by science, being pushed aside for the validity of some discipline dominated by white bodies for the purpose of white bodies sticks with me the strongest - not because of the question those kids ask but because of the disgust and discomfort on their faces that follow my gut everywhere, fighting still to make itself more room than the delight and joy that rau câu and agar agar brings to it.
science does not sit well in my stomach yet it follows me everywhere. and i have cooled and settled too, my surface a little tougher and i save it for last to be broken.
when i’m driving or am walking around or doing something that doesn’t really require me to focus on multiple things at once, i’ll write one liners and poems in my head and i wish they’d automatically transfer onto paper or something because i can never remember that shit
|—||Shattering the Madness Monolith: On the Intersections of Race, Gender, and Psychiatric Disability (via andromedalogic)|
i just wish that as the people of the (u.s) internet living in the 21st century of super capitalism, neoliberalism, etc, etc that we can chill the fuck out for one second and allow ourselves to like idk, be let down or disappointed by something and not let that totally destroy our entire worlds because we wanted to be purists about it from the get go
it comes down to so what’s it gonna be right? one moment it’s cool to ditch facebook and be like omg ello and then the next we find out that ello (to no surprise) is not just some independent, ad-free social media site but is funded by big $$$ and suddenly everyone and their best friend is like trying to distance themselves from ello after being one of the first ppl to request an invite
sometimes the hype and the dramatics is just too much for me. i wish that sometimes we can remember that we are fallible humans, gullible, naive, humans conditioned under a system of capitalism to be like either or and then when either nor or works out we are stranded in our own buckets of self-critique, annoying cynicism and superiority that we are or aren’t associated with something
we don’t live in a fucking vacuum n if you’re trying to get off the grid right now probs not the best time if you’re only looking at an alternative to facebook
idk why you reblogged this? it’s gonna be confusing for me to get answers from the folks that follow you if they assume you are asking them why they are following you…
[image description: hand-written note taped on a dry cleaner store door. it reads, “we close mon (26) - tues (27). my 3 sisters came from korea. i missed them 10 years. thank.]
This sign on cousin’s dry cleaner was pretty touching… [X]
ain’t even mad
i’m crying everywhere and i’m reblogging this so everyone else can cry everywhere too
here’s a zine about my new adventures in ~Doulala Land~it’s about where i’m at right now in doula work, and about my trip to seattle to the q/t/2POC doula training
this is a really awesome zine that jess made! and it has really awesome reflections and resources too :)
in/access note: the format currently on issuu.com is probably not screenreader compatible because it’s all images and there are not image descriptions available.
i want to share that i’m starting to feel passionately about something again and i think over the next few months i’m going to be making a lot of zines. weeeeeee