Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Oh Vey

And that is what I am having next to my plate of Hummus and Shawarma.  I used to get that at House of Kabob until I found out it was the haven of the Kurdish Pride a local gang that led the TBI to investigate them and they found the sole Kurdish Police Officer hanging with pride at the HOK.  I loved the place and I get my stuff to go should TBI be reading this.  When you are the sole white person and a woman you get it and go.  The Thai place across the street is another of my favorite.  Down the same street is an amazing food emporium and grocery store Maz Fresco where I get almost all of my international cuisines under one roof.  I love the place and it is the best thing to happen to this shithole not in Africa.

I have been relieved that the current editorial staff of my beloved New York Times has moved this woman to the weekday op-ed pages as she was thoroughly unsuited for the Sunday pages.  I laugh at how simplistic her writing and her world view is and yet this is the best apparently the Times could find to write about "Southern" things.  By the way the woman coordinates the Southern Festival of Books which is something I adore and she should stick to her day job and make it amazing in ways her world view is not.

Again, I ask that these white privileged idiots get their asses into the public schools for one month. Every single day cross the city into varying schools and see what transpires for education here.  Today at a high school my encounters with the Students consisted of walking around getting their names for attendance, pointing to the board with the instructions and showing them the assignment.  That was it.  The Teacher had left the lessons as supplements as she had instructed me to to take the classes to the small gym and make sure I keep an eye on the balls and sporting equipment that the other Gym Teacher would give me but to make sure they were put away as they would be stolen.  Yes this sounds great to spend the day locked in a windowless gym with kids I don't know, possible projectiles and no phones or support.  Sounds like a plan, a plan I bailed on.  The kids thought it was gym day and I explained that I was not insured to allow Students to be in the gym so I could not do so.   Most of the other Teachers agreed as they knew it was a recipe for a disaster and idiotic but one who was sure I had no idea what I was doing until the end of the day when another Teacher agreed with me and I spoke of my 20 years in the field so I went with my gut on this one.  These are my "colleagues" so it does not surprise me  but the day transpired with the kids doing nothing.  By the end of the day a young black man in the last class of the day stood at the corner of the desk and looked me in the eye and said, "I could immolate you."  I asked him what did he say and then he responded, "I was talking to him" and gestured to the boy at the desk adjacent who was not looking nor listening to him but writing on the paper.(or more likely ignoring him as he knew his game).  So again I asked, "What did you say as you were speaking to me?" And he responded, "Just playing."  I see and he  then sat down immediately at the desk in front of the Teacher's desk and touched everything on the desk, kept trash talking about me and making other comments to the point I got up leaned into him and said, "You need to leave me alone, I have said nothing to you so please stop and I am moving away from you."  So I moved to a chair in the doorway. The kids were insistent that he shut up and stop bothering and talking to me that I have said nothing to him and not even spoken in the class so quit.  He had no intention of it. Then the announcement came and they were doing  a test lockdown.  Yes just what I needed as I had no intention of being locked in a room with this boy, he was troubled and I was afraid.  I was sitting in the hall and Teachers came and said I need to go into the class, I refused so finally they found someone to do this and I moved into another class. I went back after and several Teachers and Administrators came and I was quite clear about what was said and they asked if he was an English Language learner and did he understand English. I said no he was a young black man and he may not have known what the word meant but he knew it was threatening or at least bizarre. They  then asked me, yes asked me - "What is immolation?"  Okay then.   These are educators and they have no clue what the word meant.  And yes this will not change now or ever.

Most of the people are stupid and they truly believe the lies as they need to.  They need to get educated. Just not here.
Eating Without Borders in Nashville

By Margaret Renkl
Contributing Opinion Writer
The New York Times 
May 14, 2018

NASHVILLE — Not quite two weeks ago, I was driving down Nolensville Road, Nashville’s “international corridor,” looking for a restaurant called Tennessee Halal Fried Chicken. In the passenger seat was John T. Edge, the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.” He was telling me that this particular approach to dining out, in one way of looking at it, could be considered a form of exploitation: “To patronize a restaurant of people who are different from you can be a kind of booty call,” he said.

This is an idea Mr. Edge has been considering for some time. The historically complicated nature of cross-cultural dining goes back to black-owned barbecue joints in the age of Jim Crow: “White Southerners patronized those restaurants,” he said. “They got in, they got what they wanted, and they got out.”

I’m not especially well versed in the history of Southern food, and I’m even less well versed in the history behind the foods on offer all along Nolensville Road, a place where nearly every possible kind of international eatery is tucked among barbershops and quick-cash storefronts and brake-repair garages. But I’ve made a special point of eating at immigrant-owned restaurants here ever since the 2016 election.

Shortly after President Trump issued his first travel ban and began cracking down on undocumented residents, The Nashville Scene published a list of immigrant-owned restaurants in Nashville and urged readers to eat at them. I tore the page out and taped it to my refrigerator because I was feeling helpless. Aside from donating to the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition and helping in a class for English-language learners, what could an ordinary citizen do to support people whose contributions to our culture are so manifest and yet so poorly valued? The Scene’s recommendation made sense, and my husband and I had been working our way down the list ever since.

The immigrant population of Nashville is one of the fastest-growing in the country, and 70 percent of Nashville residents support a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants living among us. But the Republican-dominated state legislature goes to great lengths to shred any welcome mat we roll out for our newest neighbors. Sanctuary cities have been banned in Tennessee since 2009, but just for good measure the state’s General Assembly voted last month to ban them again — this time with more explicit instructions requiring blue cities like Nashville to cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

And last month, I.C.E. agents arrested Manuel Duran Ortega, an undocumented Memphis journalist, during a city commemoration of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center believe he was arrested because his work raised questions about the local police and the nature of their cooperation with federal immigration officials.

On the other side of the state, I.C.E. agents were busy arresting 97 undocumented immigrants at a meat-processing plant in Bean Station, in East Tennessee. It was the largest work-site immigration bust in a decade, and the repercussions will be felt by families there for at least a generation. “Young kids are developmentally sensitive to stresses involving family separation, and large-scale raids are an extreme form of that stress,” Nicole Novak, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa, told The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer.

Eating tacos from a food truck on Nolensville Road won’t do a thing to compensate for a grand-scale tragedy like that, of course. But it’s a way to put money in the pocket of another immigrant family, at least, and I’ve always thought of it as a show of emotional support, too. A way to signal, “I’m glad you’re here.” A way to telegraph, “Please don’t give up.” It had never occurred to me that my patronage might be read as patronizing. But I could absolutely see Mr. Edge’s point. White people in the South don’t have a great history where this kind of thing is concerned.

We were still talking about that history when we finally saw the sign for Tennessee Halal Fried Chicken, parked and went inside. The fried chicken was gone, it turns out; the restaurant is now being operated as part of Sulav International Market. Still halal, it now serves Persian food — six gorgeous dishes depicted in a wordless menu by way of photographs. We ordered at the counter directly from the chef, visited with her long enough to have her laughing out loud at our mangled attempt to pronounce the name of her lentil stew and then sat down to wait for our meal.

And to continue our conversation. “If you are thinking of your dining as a kind of d├ętente, then I think the better way to have an impact on a community, and the better way to build bridges, is by becoming a regular in a place, not by going sequentially to every place,” Mr. Edge said. “Get to know the family that owns it, get to know the regulars who populate it. That might truly build a bridge.”

And that makes sense to me. So last week I was back for lunch, this time with all three of my sons. As we walked in the door, the chef smiled a welcome, exactly as she had when I was there before. Exactly as before, too, we’d arrived a little late and missed the real lunch crowd, and she had time to chat a bit with us at the counter. I don’t know if she recognized me from my earlier visit, but I hope she will when I come back. Because I will definitely be coming back.

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