Monday, January 19, 2015

Fellow White Allies, Keep on Keepin' On

As someone who identifies as a white ally, I find myself with no shortage of opportunities to shut up, listen, and learn from people of color.  It's also not uncommon that I find myself in frustrating situations in which my fellow white people say or do unintentionally racist or culturally appropriative things, get called out, and proceed to flip out in epic and embarrassing ways.

It can be tempting to disengage from these conversations, frustrated and fed up, feeling hopeless. It can be tempting to retreat to spaces where social justice is the norm, where privilege is checked, and where whiteness and the feelings of the privilege are de-centered.

Today, in honor of a pillar of civil rights activism, non-violence, and peace, I ask my fellow white allies not to go silent in the face of ignorance. I urge you to have the hard conversations. I urge you to maintain a calm and rational front as you lay out the evidence supporting the existence of white privilege, and the evidence that people of color still are and continue to be oppressed in a culture that values whiteness and all its trappings as "normal" and as the default experience.

It's going to be hard. You're going to want to scream and cry and call people names.

Keep on.

When our brothers and sisters of color have to step away, because the blatant racism and disregard for their lived experiences becomes too triggering, keep on. Remember that being able to "check out" on matters of race is an example of your privilege, and push through that discomfort.

Right or wrong (hint: it's wrong), white people remain overwhelmingly more likely to listen to other white people on matters of race.

Keep on.

When they accuse you of "reverse-racism" (not a thing!), keep on.

When they call you names, keep on.

When they tell you to worry about "more important" things, keep on.

Whey they insist that "making everything about race" is the problem, keep on.

Keep on, because behind that loud backlash of people who just don't get it, there are quiet people who are learning. They're too timid to speak up in support, because this is new to them and they are confident in their handle on it. But they are there, and they are learning and growing, and they are well on their way to being a conscious ally themselves.

I was given an important reminder of this last week, when a heated and very toxic discussion chock full of racism, cultural appropriation, and ignorance veered off the rails in a big way, leaving people of color who I respect feeling rightfully angry and hurt. I was angry and hurt too, but my anger and hurt were less personal, so I kept on. Then it happened. One by one, people began to contact me privately to thank me for the information I was sharing. They asked questions about it. They learned. They kept me going when I was about to give up and cry with my friends of my color.

We don't always get the benefit of those silent bystanders reaching out to let us know that they hear us. But hear us, they do.

Keep on. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Basic Jar Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I love salads in jars. Love them. SO MUCH. I can spend about 20 minutes on a Sunday evening and have my lunch ready for 3-4 days at work! This is one of my basic salads that I prepare using the 21 Day Fix containers. If you're following the fix, each salad consists of 2 Green, 2 Red, and 1 Orange container, and you can add a yellow or a blue too, if you want! I like my salads BIG so that they keep me satisfied and away from the candy dish in my office.

This salad consists of the following:

-1 Red Container (about 3/4 cup) Cooked and cubed Quorn cutlets. If you eat chicken, feel free to use chicken breast! Other vegetarian options include Tofu, Seitan, or even a veggie burger. 
-1 Red Container chopped hard boiled eggs (2 eggs)
-1/2 Green Container (1/2 cup) grape tomatoes
-1 1/2 Green Container (2 cups) greens. I'm using spring mix here, I also like using spinach!
-1 Orange Container (2 Tbsp) Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

I also sometimes add a yellow container (1/2 cup) of chickpeas or black beans, or a blue container (1/4 cup) of cheese or avocado. Sometimes I do a red container (3/4 cup) of cottage cheese instead of the eggs. It's easy to switch it up so it's not the exact same salad 4 days in a row.

Assembling the Salad:
Layer the ingredients in a clean Quart size jar with a lid. I prefer the wide mouth jars so I can get my hand in there and really pack the greens in. Any wet ingredients (dressing, cottage cheese, avocado) should go in the bottom of the jar, followed by the protein (red containers) and/or beans (yellow container), then tomatoes or other veggies, then greens on top. I prefer to keep my dressing in the little orange container and shove that in the top of the jar before I put the lid on. When I'm including eggs, I keep them in a separate container, because I predict that leaving chopped up eggs in jars with the rest of the salad for 3-4 days might get kinda stinky. When I'm at work and lunch time rolls around, I just dump it all in a big bowl and dig in! 

Do you do salads in jars? What are some of your favorite combinations? 

Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe

I've held out for a long time on making my own salad dressings. It seemed way too tedious, time consuming, and expensive. I was flipping through the 21 Day Fix eating plan and found that I had nearly everything I needed to make my own Balsamic Vinaigrette; I just had to make one tiny substitution! It took less than 5 minutes, tastes great, and no salt, preservatives, or any of the other stuff that comes along with store-bought dressings.

I made and stored it in a small jar and am keeping it in the fridge! This can be used as a dressing, a marinade, or a dip.

Do you make your own salad dressings? Share your favorite recipe with me!
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