Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about a “new normal.” There’s a lot of conjecture about what our new normal will be on the other side of pandemic and civic uprising. There are a lot of people and institutions in a rush to get to a new normal, but what I’ve found to be true is that there are no problems in the present. A friend recently said something to me that has been playing in the back of my mind: We can manifest utopia.
It is true that we are in this midst of tremendous uncertainty as old conventions fall away to make way for new ones. I’m ready to learn as much as I can and embrace the new. That is why this week’s recommendations are all about learning and unlearning.
- TO WATCH: Right now, conversations about race are everywhere. There are a lot of identity-oriented terms being thrown about by internet sociologists, and one that seems to stump a lot of people is “colorism.” Colorism is a form of discrimination, not only based on race, but also skin complexion. There are two incredible documentaries that explore this worldwide form of discrimination called Dark Girls and Light Girls. The documentaries feature personal stories from famous and not-so-famous women sharing their experiences with colorism. It’s sure to be eye-opening.
- TO EAT: Like many of us, crying while watching the Queer Eye reboot on Netflix has become a favorite past time. This season, the show’s culinary consultant Antoni, delivered his most impressive and simple recipes. One of them was a pesto chicken salad that is quite tasty and requires very few ingredients. Thankfully, some dear soul has been compiling them online.
- TO DRINK: I was having a conversation with my dad, and I mentioned to him that I was concerned about the food supply chain. We’ve all heard numerous stories about farmers dumping produce during this pandemic. He jokingly replied that we might need to go back to drinking bark tea and pine needle tea. His grandmother and her sisters often made tea from things they found in nature, and those recipes often aided in regularity and general immune system health. I started researching pine needle tea, and come to find out, it’s a thing. Check out this easy recipe for Pine Needle Tea. You never know when you’re going to need it.
- TO PLAY: A few years ago, I started listening to Questlove Supreme, the podcast from The Roots drummer and hip hop artist Questlove. Quest and his co-hosts are musicians, music lovers, and ethnomusicologists. I learn something new about pop music history, hip hop music and hip hop culture every episode. Past guests include Linda Perry, Chaka Khan, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Spike Lee, Lenny Kravitz, Weird Al and many more. After you’ve gotten your Ph.D. in pop music via Questlove and his team, listen to the new ChloexHalle album, Ungodly Hour. It’s full of light-hearted summer fun tunes.
- TO READ: I think now is a good time to revisit Amy Tan’s seminal novel The Joy Luck Club. In it, Tan explores the lives of four different Chinese American mothers and daughters and the tug-of-war between Chinese culture and American culture. I first read this novel and watched the Oscar-nominated film in high school. What struck me most is how Tan captured the conflict between wanting to please your parents and wanting to please yourself so well. As a bonus, Gold House, a business and civic organization aimed at Asian American advancement, hosted a reunion of Tan with the actresses who played the daughters in the film. Watch it here. You won’t regret it.