I met Chef Marcus Samuelsson today after he did a little conversation exhibit with Sanford Biggers at the Hammer.
One of the subjects that came up was the struggle for people of color in their perspective fields. Samuelsson mentioned that the struggle of PoC was not much unlike that of a woman’s in the culinary industry. I thought that was interesting and almost felt a little guilty that I could relate because in the back of my mind there was a voice that said, but you’re white. A white woman. You can’t possibly relate.
Samuelsson did a book signing after the talk and I used this as my chance to throw my incident by him to see what he thought. I began by saying, I really like that you touched on the struggle of women in a professional kitchen. I’ve worked in a kitchen where I was regularly sexually harassed and talked behind my back by the female wait staff. Before I could finish, he interrupted me to ask, “Pastry?”
I couldn’t help but feel a little offended. Pastry? Why? Because I’m a white female in a dress in Westwood?
I laughed it off, what else could I do? I said, no, no.. I want to be on the line. I’ve been on the line. Then went on to tell my story about how after scoring an interview by the owner to be a line cook at a nice restaurant in Topanga, I show up to be turned away by one of the guys from the kitchen after asking me if I was there to be a server. After I explain that no, I’m here for the line cook position, he said the chef wasn’t there and he was very sorry to waste my time. I call the owner, explain what the guy looked like and asked him what the fuck happened, the owner said the man I met was the chef and then he apologizes for his behavior and promptly hung up.
(all of this is under a minute, I talk fast)
Samuelsson has already disengaged. He scribbles in my book and tells me to keep going. I feel disappointed. This is the man that brought up women struggles and he had nothing more to say than keep going? I don’t know what I expected, maybe a full sentence. I just felt like a fool.
Which made me go back to his question about pastry. And for a second, I was like - this guy isn’t any different than the rest of them. Making assumptions based on what I look like. Not even giving me the opportunity to tell him! Not even asking me in a manner that isn’t presumptuous like, oh, what are you pursuing?
But then, because I’m super analytical and shit, I reflected on my own feelings of guilt when I felt like somehow my small struggles compared to those of PoC. And how as much as I want to be super on top of the topic and my behavior, I’m still pretty ignorant. Until I get to the point where I can speak confidently about these things I will just feel like another white girl that doesn’t know shit.
I don’t even feel like I have the right to make comparisons.
I don’t even know why I’m going to post this shit on the internet. I guess exposing my idiocy will bring the kind of education I’m quietly seeking on my own when really, I need input. I need a community that is open to teaching versus shunning. I’m asking for a conversation, a sharing of resources.
I’m tagging this with anything remotely related, I hope not to torn apart in a way that isn’t constructive. Have at it!
- thepeoplesrecord likes this
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- ablogotto said: you know black men. always be disprespectin women… whats new?
- writinginbed said: What a perfect moment to have let him sign then book, then just toss it right back on the table and say GFY.
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- enrouteto posted this