anonymous asked:

Just gonna add something about russian not being white. Of course most of Russians are white, but mb someone thinks otherwise because Russia is very multiethnic? Like there are people is south parts or Siberia that no way can be called white. There is no general term like "white" in Russian. If you are not any specific ethnic group, you are just Russian or "European". Term "white" is very misleading for Russians. We are very mixed here.

To the other anon: here you go
How Learning to Cook Korean Food Helped Me Grieve (and Heal)
The winner of Glamour's 2016 essay contest shares a story of heartbreak and in-the-kitchen healing.
By Michelle Zauner

(Reposted because original poster is a terf/transphobe)

I’m so tired of white guys on TV telling me what to eat. I’m tired of Anthony Bourdain testing the waters of Korean cuisine to report back that, not only will our food not kill you, it actually tastes good. I don’t care how many times you’ve traveled to Thailand, I won’t listen to you—just like the white kids wouldn’t listen to me, the half-Korean girl, defending the red squid tentacles in my lunch box. The same kids who teased me relentlessly back then are the ones who now celebrate our cuisine as the Next Big Thing.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in a small college town that was about 90 percent white. In my adolescence I hated being half Korean; I wanted people to stop asking, “Where are you really from?” I could barely speak the language and didn’t have any Asian friends. There was nothing about me that felt Korean—except when it came to food.

At home my mom always prepared a Korean dinner for herself and an American dinner for my dad. Despite the years he’d lived in Seoul, selling cars to the military and courting my mom at the Naija Hotel where she worked, my dad is still a white boy from Philadelphia.

So each night my mom prepared two meals. She’d steam broccoli and grill Dad’s salmon, while boiling jjigae and plating little side dishes known as banchan. When our rice cooker announced in its familiar robotic voice, “Your delicious white rice will be ready soon!” the three of us would sit down to a wondrous mash-up of East and West. I’d create true fusion one mouthful at a time, using chopsticks to eat strips of T-bone and codfish eggs drenched in sesame oil, all in one bite. I liked my baked potatoes with fermented chili paste, my dried cuttlefish with mayonnaise.

There’s a lot to love about Korean food, but what I love most is its extremes. If a dish is supposed to be served hot, it’s scalding. If it’s meant to be served fresh, it’s still moving. Stews are served in heavy stone pots that hold the heat; crack an egg on top, and it will poach before your eyes. Cold noodle soups are served in bowls made of actual ice.

By my late teens my craving for Korean staples started to eclipse my desire for American ones. My stomach ached for al tang and kalguksu. On long family vacations, with no Korean restaurant in sight, my mom and I passed up hotel buffets in favor of microwaveable rice and roasted seaweed in our hotel room.

And when I lost my mother to a very sudden, brief, and painful fight with cancer two years ago, Korean food was my comfort food. She was diagnosed in 2014. That May she’d gone to the doctor for a stomachache only to learn she had a rare squamous cell carcinoma, stage four, and that it had spread. Our family was blindsided.

I moved back to Oregon to help my mother through chemo­therapy; over the next four months, I watched her slowly disappear. The treatment took everything—her hair, her spirit, her appetite. It burned sores on her tongue. Our table, once beautiful and unique, became a battleground of protein powders and tasteless porridge. I crushed Vicodin into ice cream.

Dinnertime was a calculation of calories, an argument to get anything down. The intensity of Korean flavors and spices became too much for her to stomach. She couldn’t even eat kimchi.

I began to shrink along with my mom, becoming so consumed with her health that I had no desire to eat. Over the course of her illness, I lost 15 pounds. After two rounds of chemo, she decided to discontinue treatment, and she died two months later.

As I struggled to make sense of the loss, my memories often turned to food. When I came home from college, my mom used to make galbi ssam, Korean short rib with lettuce wraps. She’d have marinated the meat two days before I’d even gotten on the plane, and she’d buy my favorite radish kimchi a week ahead to make sure it was perfectly fermented.

Then there were the childhood summers when she brought me to Seoul. Jet-lagged and sleepless, we’d snack on homemade banchan in the blue dark of Grandma’s humid kitchen while my rela­tives slept. My mom would whisper, “This is how I know you’re a true Korean.”

But my mom never taught me how to make Korean food. When I would call to ask how much water to use for rice, she’d always say, “Fill until it reaches the back of your hand.” When I’d beg for her galbi recipe, she gave me a haphazard ingredient list and approximate measurements and told me to just keep tasting it until it “tastes like Mom’s.”

After my mom died, I was so haunted by the trauma of her illness I worried I’d never remember her as the woman she had been: stylish and headstrong, always speaking her mind. When she appeared in my dreams, she was always sick.

Then I started cooking. When I first searched for Korean recipes, I found few resources, and I wasn’t about to trust Bobby Flay’s Korean taco monstrosity or his clumsy kimchi slaw. Then, among videos of oriental chicken salads, I found the Korean YouTube personality Maangchi. There she was, peeling the skin off an Asian pear just like my mom: in one long strip, index finger steadied on the back of the knife. She cut galbi with my mom’s ambidextrous precision: positioning the chopsticks in her right hand while snipping bite-size pieces with her left. A Korean woman uses kitchen scissors the way a warrior brandishes a weapon.

I’d been looking for a recipe for jatjuk, a porridge made from pine nuts and soaked rice. It’s a dish for the sick or elderly, and it was the first food I craved when my feelings of shock and loss finally made way for hunger.

I followed Maangchi’s instructions carefully: soaking the rice, breaking off the tips of the pine nuts. Memories of my mother emerged as I worked—the way she stood in front of her little red cutting board, the funny intonations of her speech.

For many, Julia Child is the hero who brought boeuf bourguignon into the era of the TV dinner. She showed home cooks how to scale the culinary mountain. Maangchi did this for me after my mom died. My kitchen filled with jars containing cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes in various stages of fermentation. I could hear my mom’s voice: “Never fall in love with anyone who doesn’t like kimchi; they’ll always smell it coming out of your pores.”

I’ve spent over a year cooking with Maangchi. Sometimes I pause and rewind to get the steps exactly right. Other times I’ll let my hands and taste buds take over from memory. My dishes are never exactly like my mom’s, but that’s OK—they’re still a delicious tribute. The more I learn, the closer I feel to her.

One night not long ago, I had a dream: I was watching my mother as she stuffed giant heads of Napa cabbage into earthenware jars.

She looked healthy and beautiful.

Kimora on growing up as a mixed-race child:

“My friends are surprised to learn that, outgoing as I am today, I was a loner growing up. I was a mixed-race girl with a Korean-Japanese mother and an African-American father, and none of the other kids at my school were like me. I was nearly six feet tall by the time I was 11 years old. And I was an only child being raised by a single mother.”

Kimora on teaching her kids to respect others:

“As my mom did for me, I’m helping my own girls, Ming Lee, 9, and Aoki Lee, 7, learn about tolerance—to respect differences in culture, religion and even the way we look. I also try to set boundaries, let them know what’s expected and give them room to develop and grow. I will do the same with my infant son, Kenzo Lee Hounsou. I recently married his father, Djimon Hounsou. He’s an actor and a model, and he speaks five languages. We learn a lot from him.”

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Afro-Mexican youth dancing. Photo by Bobby Vaughn

Last year, a bilingual exhibition, The African Presence in México: Yanga to the Present, was mounted by the Oakland Museum and the DuSable Museumon both sides of the Mexican border - in the US and Mexico itself. It traced how Africans - fewer than 2% of colonial Mexico`s (1521-1810) population - significantly enriched Mexican culture through their art, music, language, cuisine, and dance. The African Presence in México invited Mexican-Americans and African-Americans to look at their identities in light of their shared histories in Mexico and the United States.

The Spanish first brought Africans to Mexico in 1519 to work in the agrarian and silver industries, under often brutal conditions. There were constant slave protests and runaways (cimarrónes) who established settlements in the mountains of Orizaba. In January 1609, Gasper Yanga, a runaway slave elder, led the cimarrónes (or maroons) to a successful resistance against a special army sent by the Spanish Crown to crush their uprising. After several cimarrón victories, the Spanish acquiesced to the slaves` demand for land and freedom. Yanga founded the first free African township in the Americas, San Lorenzo de los Negros, near Veracruz. It was renamed in his honour in the 1930s.

Slavery in Mexico was abolished in 1810 by Jose María Morelos y Pavón, leader of the Mexican War of Independence. As a mulatto (Spanish and African), Morelos was directly affected by Mexico`s prejudices. Racial mixes were seen as undesirable by a society that aspired to purity of race and blood (i.e., Spanish only).

In 1992, as part of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas, the Mexican government officially acknowledged that African culture in the country represented la tercera raiz (the third root) of Mexican culture, with the Spanish and indigenous peoples. But the plight of Afro-Mexicans has not improved much since the recognition of 1992.

As Alexis Okeowo, a black journalist in the Mexican capital, Mexico City, attests, when she visited Yanga, her heart broke. “As I arrived in town,” she reported, “I peered out of my taxi window at the pastel-painted storefronts and the brown-skinned residents walking along the wide streets. `Where are the black Mexicans?` I wondered. A central sign proclaimed Yanga`s role as the first Mexican town to be free from slavery, yet the descendants of these former slaves were nowhere to be found. I would later learn that most live in dilapidated settlements outside of town.”

The next morning when she went searching for the Afro-Mexicans, Okeowo found that though she had grown used to the rarity of black people in Mexico City, it was different at Yanga, where she was not only stared at but also pointed at.

“The stares were cold and unfriendly, and especially unnerving in a town named for an African revolutionary,” Okeowo recalled. “`Mira, una negra,` I heard people whisper to one another. `Look, a black woman.` `Negra! Negra!`, taunted an old man with a shock of white hair under a tan sombrero.

“Surrounded by a group of men, [the old man] gazed at me with a big, toothy grin. He seemed to be waiting for me to come over and talk to him. Shocked, I shot him a dirty look and headed into [a] library`s courtyard.”

Okeowo continued: “The notion of race in Mexico is frustratingly complex. This is a country where many are proud to claim African blood, yet discriminate against their darker countrymen. Black Mexicans complain that such bigotry makes it especially hard for them to find work. Still, I was surprised to feel like such an alien intruder in a town where I had hoped to feel something like familiarity. Afro-Mexicans are among the poorest in the nation. Many are shunted to remote shantytowns, well out of reach of basic public services, such as schools and hospitals.

“Activists for Afro-Mexicans face an uphill battle for government recognition and economic development. They have long petitioned to be counted in Mexico`s national census, alongside the country`s 56 other official ethnic groups, but to little avail. Unofficial records put their number at one million.”

Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage

I Have The Right…

  • Not to justify my existence in this world. 
  • Not to keep the races separate within me. 
  • Not to justify my ethnic legitimacy. 
  • Not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical or ethnic ambiguity.

I Have The Right…

  • To identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify. 
  • To identify myself differently than how my parents identify me.
  • To identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters.
  • To identify myself differently in different situations.

I Have The Right…

  • To create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial or multiethnic.
  • To change my identity over my lifetime - and more than once. 
  • To have loyalties and identification with more than one group of people.
  • To freely choose whom I befriend and love.

© Maria P.P. Root (x)

On Being Black and Latino...
  • Jessy Terrero:When I moved to the West Coast, the Mexicans I saw were a little more fair skinned, they looked a little more different. So, people thought I was Black there. Or mixed. I'm Dominican. And most people look at me like, 'Oh where's that?'
  • Tayana Ali:People usually identify me with being Mexican. I even remembered when we first moved here, my mom would speak in her native language, Spanish, to other Spanish speakers and people are just kind of like looking at her funny like, 'Why is that coming out of your mouth?'
  • Laz Alonso:I've either been treated fairly or treated unfairly by the color of my skin. They don't look at me and say, 'Oh you're Latin. We're gonna treat you better.' No. You're Black, that's it.
  • Sabi:Growing up I felt I had to pick a side. Either I was Black or I was Latina but I didn't really fit in with the full Latina's or the girls who were all Black...
  • Maluca:When I did move out of the Dominican neighborhood, a lot of people at that time didn't know what the Dominican Republic is. I was seen as Puerto Rican or Black or Mixed and I would scream, 'I'm Dominican!!!'
  • Kat DeLuna:I went through this in high school, they would ask me, 'Are you Black or Latina?' And I would say, 'You don't understand, I'm a little bit of both!'
  • Christina Milian:I would see so many discussions on the blogs, people would say,'Oh she's Black' or 'No she's this, she's that'.
  • Javier Colon:I've definitely had folks who said, 'I was wondering why you had a name like Javier, we thought you were African American.'
  • Mimi Valdes:I've definitely been identified as African American before and it's not necessarily a wrong assumption because I do have African blood but I think what's more appropriate to describe me is as a 'Black woman who is of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent.'