We Should Give (Some) White People More Credit

Be Who You Are

It’s not comfortable, but race, now more than ever, is a topic we have to discuss. I say *have to* because from current global politics to popular culture, our differences could tear us apart as a species.

The few bright spots in the sea of contestation for middle ground include the recent election of Emmanuel Macron in place of right wing nationalist Marine Le Pen.

And the support I received last week while discussing various approaches to teaching difference.

For the 20 or so people I talked to, not one of them thought it was okay to categorize difference by skin color alone. (Well, to be fair, one person didn’t initially see a problem, but assured me after reflection, that the approach was indeed problematic.)

These were people of all “stripes” if you will: white, black, shades in between, Americans, Brits, Scandinavians, latinos, South Asians, Arabs, males and females …

Two things gave me heart:

First, the number of people willing to use outward appearances as the starting point for discussions on diversity is shrinking.

Second, several of my white friends offered to come forward and express their concerns. I hope they follow through.

Because in the final discussion with decision makers, I was not the best messenger. This was a startling lesson because, well you know, writers write and we persuade (or try to).

I have a legacy of speaking up (which you probably know and expect from me as a reader of this blog).

Almost everyone thanked me for coming forward and raising the issue.

But as I now I know, and am cautioning you, that the nail that sticks out also gets the hammer.

In the span of a lifetime, this will be a blip on my screen. The incident overall gave me tremendous respect for the struggle of all of those before us.

Gandhi, Mandela, MLK Jr, Susan B. Anthony.

The list goes on and on.

How did they keep themselves going through jailing, beating, and derision?

No change was made without some sacrifice. Or allies.

Make sure you have yours. You’ll need them for the journey.

Why Mother’s Day is a Hoax

If you live in the Middle East as an expat mother, you get to live your special day several times. There’s Arab Mother’s day which is celebrated on March 21st and then be appreciated again during UK Mother’s day (which floats depending on the year but also a Sunday in March).

And then American Mother’s Day which is the second Sunday in May.

Not that appreciating mothers is a bad thing. We have upped the sappy greeting card and breakfast in bed to social media posts with flashback photos and odes to maternal sacrifice.

Men have tried stimulating the pain of labor with somewhat hilarious results.

But do stay at home mothers get to say that they work?

Do mothers who work outside the home get paid the same for doing the same job?

Can they find jobs after ‘taking time off’ to start their families?

For producing “the miracle of life” do women get an adequate amount of support or time to adjust to the addition of each child in their families?

In the process of producing children, do they have access to the healthcare that won’t bankrupt them?

And, most perhaps most important of all, do women get to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be mothers? I don’t know a woman from any culture who hasn’t had social pressure or governmental encouragement to embrace the “most natural” of all instincts.

My second crime novel, No Place for Women, alludes to the idea that the world is not a safe place for women.

If we revered mothers and motherhood as much as we say, our legal and social codes would be far, far different. Mothers would get more maternity leave, better pay, and experience much less guilt from the heaps of judgment heaped on them.

I hate to be the voice of doom and gloom. It is much easier to buy a card or upload a photo.

This Mother’s Day, I hope we can realize how much further we still have to go in advancing the rights of mothers all over the world. Because that is a gift we would be giving all women.

Rigatoni Pie for #sundaysupper

Do you find yourself scrolling through social media timelines while waiting for anything longer than thirty seconds? I’ve been guilty of this lately.

Earlier in the week, I saw a video that caught my eye and stomach.

Maybe because I had most of the ingredients – well the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses – this one made it onto the ‘what to make this week’ list. Also, I was completely intrigued by new uses for a springform pan, having only ever used them to make cheesecake.

I substituted greek yogurt for ricotta and it tasted yummy anyway.

Be sure to make more pasta than you need, otherwise you’ll delay the whole process by about 8 minutes.

Ingredients

1/2 bag of Rigatoni pasta

2 cups mozzarella and parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup greek yogurt (ricotta or cottage cheese will also do)

1 egg

1 jar pasta or pizza sauce (depending on the flavor you’re going for)

1 springform pan

Directions

Boil 1/2 bag of Rigatoni pasta (about 1/2 pound or so) in salted water. I didn’t measure the water but made sure it covered all the pasta.

Set the timer for 8 minutes, pull the pasta off the stove when it goes off.

Rinse under cold water.

Transfer to a bowl and toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 cup of each of the cheeses.

Grease the bottom and sides of the pan. Make sure clasp is securely closed on the side.

Cover bottom of pan with pasta sauce – 1/2 cup.

Stand the cooked pasta up inside the pan (as shown in photo above). You can also season the pasta for extra flavor.

Mix yogurt, egg, salt and pepper together, pour over the standing pasta. Make sure to get as much of it inside the tubes as that’s what will cook it further.

Layer on top with pasta sauce and pepperoni (if using). You could also use veggies to treat this like a pizza. We ate it more like a pasta pie.

Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes. Enjoy the yummy goodness.