homemade apple pie

homemade apple pie. recipe by Paula Deen. 06.01.10.

homemade apple pie. recipe by Paula Deen. 06.01.10.

Before Paula Deen was exposed for being racist and ignorant, I made tons of her recipes. One of my favorites was her homemade apple pie recipe (which included her recipe for a homemade crust). This is a classic southern recipe with shortening and butter. I tried to lighten it up and make it healthier by using wheat flour for the crust, but it just wasn’t as good. Serve it a la mode with vanilla ice cream on top.

(atlanta) the city I call home

the city I call home has
a terrible nickname: hotlanta.
like all slang, it was popularized
by white people who genuinely
thought it was cool long after it wasn’t.

the city I call home has
streets all named peachtree
which intersect a sprawling grid
that defies logic in its layout,
confusing drivers & bikers alike.

the city I call home has
the best parts of the deep south
(soul food, whiskey bars, & friendly residents)
without (as many) willfully ignorant people
outside the bourgey neighborhoods.

the beauty in differentiation

at age ten,
a weasel-faced blonde boy calls you fat
because you consistently get
better grades than him
& insists a brown girl doesn’t belong
at a school with (superior) white kids.
you quip that you live in
a nicer neighborhood than his,
but the real reason you’re better than him
is that he’ll always be a covetous jerk.

at age twelve,
a freckled ginger boy scrubs your arms
with a pool brush after swim practice
& claims that he thought the white splotches
(of sunburn) on your dark skin was dirt.
you shove him into the pool
& watch him sputter,
coughing water in surprise.
your coach’s punishment is that
you have to swim extra (victory) laps.

at age fourteen,
a thin brunette girl snidely snickers,
“you’re not pretty. you’re cute like hello kitty.”
you weren’t allowed to wear makeup
or dress like her eighteen-year-old sister.
after braces straighten your crooked teeth
& your only growth spurt sheds baby fat,
you decline her offer to be friends —
even then, you’d rather be alone than have
catty friends you didn’t like (& vice-versa).

at age sixteen,
(until almost a decade following)
a parade of basic white guys marvel
over the fact that you’re the first Asian girl
they’ve admired who defies stereotypes —
you’ve inherited your mother’s feistiness
& your father’s no bullshit attitude.
though your temperament mellows over the years,
you loudly continue to refuse to be fetishized
& mock white guys who should check their privilege.

at age twenty-three,
your handsome ivorian friend becomes more.
you’ll never look like models in magazines,
but you’ve learned to appreciate that
your black hair is unruly
& your skin’s base tone is deep tan.
the ways that you look different
no longer (solely) define you.
he knows all of you & loves you
because of (not in spite of) it.

colorblind

when someone says,
“I don’t see color.”
she asserts (colorblindness)
that she isn’t racist.

instead, she means,
“I’m dismissing
a(n inherent) part of you
because I can’t relate.”

when someone says,
“I don’t see race.”
he insists he treats
everyone equally (regardless).

instead, he emphasizes
the fact that
he (purposely) ignores how
society favors people like him.

when you say,
“white people are clueless.”
don’t be surprised that
many get defensive &
wonder why you don’t
acknowledge their (imaginary) plight.

when patience isn’t a virtue

“Sometimes, I pretend to be retarded while in public.”

my hands curled to fists
(deep breaths)
ready to fight

“My little sister is autistic and mentally handicapped.
It’s really offensive for you to do that.”

don’t yell at this ignorant bitch —
you just met her; she’s your friend’s best friend.
surely she has hidden redeeming qualities.

“But I don’t do it to make fun of retards!
I love them — they’re hilarious!”

equally disgusted & incredulous,
i glanced at our mutual friend.

“Just watch — she’s so funny!”

i rolled my eyes & exited the room.
even at fourteen, i had no patience
for antagonistic bullies disguised as “cool kids.”

What are you?

A childhood in Alabama
consisted of fielding
ignorant questions daily.

What are you?
Human.
I mean, where are you from?
Born in New York and lived here since third grade.
But where are your parents from?
The Philippines.
Where is that?
Southeast Asia.
Then why does your last name sound Spanish?
Spain colonized the Philippines for centuries.

A brown kid in Birmingham
is a novelty and source
of entertainment.

Say something in your language.
You mean in Tagalog?
Whatever it is.
I don’t speak it well.
Didn’t your parents teach you?
Not really.
Why not?
They didn’t want us to sound fresh off the boat.
I would love to be bilingual.
You still can be — you just have to learn a foreign language.

Blending in is impossible,
but not lashing out is
the only option.

If I could’ve, I would’ve asked,
Are you pale during every season?
Since your grandparents are Irish, do you speak Gaelic?
Is your hair naturally blonde?
Are you actually one-sixteenth Cherokee?
If I could’ve, I would’ve said,
Your English is great,
for someone born in Bessemer.
Enjoy the rest of your life, thinking
Alabama is the center of the universe.