My husband loves a good steak for breakfast. So, of course, on Father’s Day, he gets the hook-up: steak, eggs, hash browns, grits, and wheat toast. This year’s steak came from my neighborhood Kroger. The date of my meat purchase, I along with another woman– white, middle-aged– stood in the steak section in deep thought.
“They’re so high,” she says.
I agree and we continue shopping for the best cuts/costs. She then tells me that she’s cooking a ribeye for her husband on Father’s Day, adding that she’s from California and that cooking really isn’t her thing.
“I bet your steaks are good. How do you cook yours?” She asks.
*Rewind my life by 2 weeks.*
I complete all parts of Ava Duvernay’s When They See Us (WTSU) on Netflix.
My husband and I sit in silence. I stammer through my words trying to express my thoughts. I’m an emotional mess. So I sit in silence. Trance-like.
It’s after 2 o’clock in the morning and I start the post-film internet research. I immerse myself in history surrounding Central Park 4 + 1. I watch footage of the 5 and read articles about how racism is built up around stereotypes, assumptions and prejudiced views.
*Fast forward to the meat section.*
Her voice echoes….. “I bet your steaks are good. How do you cook yours?”
This assumption-filled comment did not mesh well with my heightened level of stress, anger, emotion, and paranoia post-WTSU.
“I just cook it.” I sneered.
“What do you put on it?” She continued.
At this point, I was internally confused. Was this a genuine human interaction or not? Were her assumptions about my ability to cook well built on racial stereotypes and assumptions?
And then, like a wave, it washed over me: God wants you to be an agent of mercy in the world, Clinnesha.
I twisted my lip and offered the most basic advice I could give to a white woman who looks at a sista like me and naturally thinks of good-tasting food…
“Worcestershire.” I whispered and wished her a good one.
As Father’s Day comes to a close, I want to let my own father, Clint, know that he is appreciated, valued, and honored.
I want to let my husband, Keith, know that he is needed, loved, and cherished.
Let us also remember, on this Father’s Day, the wrongfully convicted fathers who are still fighting for freedom. This is also the day to honor their struggle and resilience.
Clinnesha is a writer, wife, mom, meta-artist, and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.