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RACE Through 2023 Part 2: Are These Fresh?

In last week’s blog, Race Through 2023 Part 1, I shared my intentions to stop racing around in 2023. It makes us robotic, grouchy, and dull.  In 2023 I also intend to further UNPACK how my inherent racism IMPACTS my day to day interactions, even down to the level of how it shows up when fresh baked chocolate chip cookies are involved.  We are going deep, people!

A few weeks ago I walked into one of my favorite local coffee shops to pick up breakfast for friends who’d just had a baby.  And there they were, chocolate chip cookies!  I couldn’t resist… but you see, I’m a bit of a cookie snob so they need to be fresh.  

“What can I get you?” asked a young brown woman behind the counter. I put in my breakfast order then asked the all important question, “Were the chocolate chip cookies baked this morning?” Without hesitation, she replied, “Um yeah.”  “Great, then I’ll take one” - I said.

She handed the cookie to munch on as I waited for my breakfast order.

Cookies are the best breakfast appetizer so I tore off a piece of cookie, placed it in my mouth and immediately could tell that it was not a freshly baked cookie.    

!!!*cookie crisis*!!! 

I had a choice. Wait for the rest of my stuff, be a bit disappointed, and leave like the adult I know I can be; or be an asshole and go back up to the woman working and double check that the cookie had in fact been baked that morning. 

I chose to be an asshole. 

Before approaching the woman I looked around the small shop and took a mental note that the only other person waiting was a white man. “Ok, coast is clear” I thought to myself.   I approached the woman and let her know it’s highly unlikely that the cookies were baked this morning.  She graciously responded - “I’m 99% sure they were baked this morning, but why don’t you take another one, on the house, and let me know if that one tastes any better.”

But get this, I said “Oh no, it’s ok, I don’t want another one.”  Then why the hell did I feel compelled to tell her!  She responded, “Well let me at least give you another pastry. Here, take this chocolate croissant.”  Me - “Honestly, it’s ok, I don’t need anything else, I just wanted to make sure the cookie was actually freshly baked this morning.” What the…! What am I, the fresh cookie patrol?  She’d finally had enough and said “Yes, like I’ve said 3 times now they were freshly baked this morning.” Like, why would she lie about the cookies, sheesh Alyce?

I was saved from making a bigger ass out of myself by my order being ready.  I grabbed it and headed out the door.

Over the following week I kept replaying this scenario in my mind, it was like a nagging splinter I couldn’t remove.  

  • Am I just an asshole and want to prove I am right to anyone in my path? 

  • Was this about me nitpicking over a cookie and getting what I paid for or does it go way deeper?

  • Would I have done this if the girl behind the counter was white?

  • Would I have behaved the same way if I were black/brown/indigenous and the girl behind the counter was white?  As a white woman I don’t even second guess what would happen if I were to “make a scene”.  

  • Why did I stop and look around to see who else was in the bakery before approaching the woman?

  • Would I have acted the same way if there had been other people, specifically BIPOC Folx in the bakery?

  • Where does my sense of entitlement and privilege to openly challenge people in public come from?

  • Why am I so passionate about unlearning my own racism and yet still act racist in my day-to-day actions?

  • When is it O.K. to question or demand a certain level of clarity/service regardless of the color of our skin?

I don’t have answers to most of these questions and even when I feel like I do have an answer, I am constantly questioning how I landed on it. But, I am willing to critically examine my behavior, right wrongs where I can, and am committed to taking action to create a more kind and equitable community.  It starts with me.

A week after the cookie incident I called up the coffee shop… 

A woman answered and I said, “Hi, I was there last Tuesday and I was wondering if you were the same person working that day?” With a sense of hesitation, she replied, “Uh, yes, that was me, I work every Tuesday morning.”

“I’m not sure if you remember me but I came in, ordered a few things and questioned whether or not the chocolate chip cookies had been freshly baked that morning.”

“Ah, yes, I remember you.”

“I’m calling to apologize for my behavior, for questioning your answers and frankly for asserting my white privilege over a cookie. It was completely unnecessary and I could see that it made you uncomfortable and for that I am truly sorry.”

“Wow, thanks so much. This really means a lot. I’ve never had a customer call back after they’ve mistreated me.”

Over the last year I have been examining racism and my role in it through Race2Dinner, self study and self examination.  I’ll be continuing this work through 2023.  If you grapple with these kinds of questions, if you want to (un)learn more, if you want to create a community that’s kind and just, reach out.  We can chat over chocolate chip cookies, fresh or otherwise.


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