Coffee Log, Day 182

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro, Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

A few days ago, the blood of my great-great-grandfather was shoved violently into summer soil. I couldn’t be happier.

It’s gotten national press so I’m sure you’ve heard about it: Monday night, August 20th, Americans tied ropes around the head of Silent Sam – a famous statue memorializing the dead confederates who’d left their studies at UNC to fight the Union – and pulled him down. In April, Ms. Maya Little had mixed red paint with her own blood and marked Sam with it. It was a fair warning, raw art, the State had ample time to dismantle its own awful legacy, but like most things to do with entrenched power, nobody raised a finger. Monday, people got tired of waiting for justice that would never come.

I’ve seen a lot of pushback. Internet hailstorms of ‘respect history!’ or ‘honor the dead!’ A vicious funeral, cries of violence against the protesters, Americans gasping for the right to strip breath from other Americans – we re-enact the Civil War on message boards, painting bleak pictures, goading and goading until some white man or scared cop decides to paint history in three dimensions, black body canvases.

I’m sympathetic to the feeling of watching your past torn down. It’s my past too. But behind the best lace curtains, the wide summer porches, the blue shingles, there’s a black man bent over a table with his shirt off, dancing a waltz with your great-great-grandfathers’ whip. So no, not every student of grand ole’ UNC marched off with blood and slavery slavering out their mouths, but when they loaded their muskets and took aim they still still stood as bastions against humanity, against peace, against justice for all Americans.

There’s no honor for a nazi, and no honor for a confederate son.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“A statue that advocates violence against us, that honors slave owners. At this statue I have felt degraded, and I have also been harassed. I have been surveilled by police. I have been called a n****r. I have been told that I will be hung from the tree right above Silent Sam.” – Maya Little, interview on Democracy Now, https://www.democracynow.org/2018/8/22/meet_maya_little_unc_student_whose

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Coffee Log, Day 89

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s brand; Old friend. I’ve bought this roast a few times now. It’s not great, more like comfort food – biscuits in the morning, Taco Bell after a long day. I like bad coffee. I like it because it’s bad.

It’s hard knowing how to shop anymore. Yesterday I got coffee with a friend. She mentioned Starbucks, I mentioned that I’ve been boycotting it since the expulsion of two black men for no honest reason and the company’s tepid response in the aftermath. We went to Sugarland instead and she said they’ve got their own sets of seedy stories.

Money is a motivator. Give it to someone to get them to dance, hold it back and they’ll dance differently. I firmly believe that 21st century protest starts and stops on economics. But how do you do it right when there’s so little clarity to business practices? I buy dinner from my favorite joint and I’ve got no clue whose hands tilled the land behind my food. Were they well-paid and cared for? Or were they chipped under harsh sun, hush-hush, hidden labor, exploitation?

I’ve been on this topic a lot lately because I think it’s relevant. The past two years pulled a lip back – that plastic lid on your morning yogurt – to show a mushy mess of disadvantaged peoples and shady business. I think the next step is to push for clarity in business in politics. It’s hard to fight, period. It’s harder to fight what you don’t know.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” – Virginia Woolf

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Coffee Log, Day 86

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Honduran, Trader Joe’s brand

Last night I talked to a teacher. She said: “Where’s the storm?” She was talking about rain but I figured she might have meant the Teachers’ March. Yesterday, thousands of NC teachers marched on Raleigh. They’re underpayed, undervalued, underfunded, full of fire; I can attest to all that, I used to be one.

Last night’s teacher was also a waitress. She also ran two small businesses and when we asked about the rally – if she was there – she looked ashamed to say she wasn’t. She was happier to recommend a Red Oak that I drank greedily. I thought about her from the beginning to the end of the pint. She was younger than me. She was all smiles. She probably worked harder than I’ve ever worked. Her blood and soul was marching without her.

There’s a particular privilege in having the resources to fight. Without those resources, the world doesn’t see you, but you’re no less worthy of respect. I hope last night’s teacher goes to sleep knowing her own power. I imagine that’s exactly what she’ll do.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.” – Alexander the Great

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