S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership.
S2: Hello and welcome to the Waves for Thursday, January 16th. The Runaway Royals edition. I’m Christina kotto Ritchie, a staff writer at Slate and host of the Slate podcast Outward.
S3: I’m Marcia Chaplin, author of the new book franchise The Golden Arches and Black America. In fact, Marsha’s on her book tour right now.
S2: She’s calling in from under a duvet in a closet, in a hotel room in Kansas City. So if she sounds like she’s under a duvet because she is. I’m Nicole Perkins, writer and co-host of First Aid Kit.
S4: And I’m Jean Thomas, senior managing producer of this Slate Podcast Network. Hi, everyone. It’s so great to be back together. Hi. Happy New Year. Yeah, we just got our early New Year episode actually in December, so we haven’t been in the same space together for like a month.
S5: This crazy time before we get started with our excellent show this week, we’ve got one order of business.
S6: Jim, what’s up? I’m very glad to say that we have three copies of Marcia’s fantastic, fascinating book franchise, The Golden Arches in Black America to give away. If you would like to throw your virtual hat into the virtual ring. Please send an email with the would give away in the subject line. You don’t need to write anything else if you don’t want to. To the waves at Slate.com. By midnight Eastern Time on January 24th, we’ll pick three winners at random and contact them by email to get a mailing address for the book. This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. No purchase necessary void where prohibited for complete rules. Please go to this episode’s page at Slate. Dot com slash the waves.
S5: Yeah, actually I have read the book. I interviewed Marsha about it for what I humbly suggest is a riveting Q&A, which you can find now at Slate.com. Marcia, why don’t you tell us a little bit about franchise?
S7: Franchise. Is the hidden history of the relationship between the civil rights movement and the rise of McDonald’s in African-American communities? It’s the sum total of decades long obsession with why African-Americans often have such complicated relationships to fast food, a social history of our health crisis in America. And I think it’s really a challenging look at how we can have a lot of mixed emotions about institutions, especially large corporations. I’m so excited that the book is out there and I’ve had such great responses and a lot of support. And I hope listeners who are able to get copies of franchise enjoy it.
S8: I have not finished it yet, but I’m really loving it. I was. I’ll be honest. I know that you’re a professor and I was afraid it might be slightly academic. And it’s not. It’s all academic, even though there are footnotes, which at first I’m like, well, I’m going to ignore those. And then I was just sent for sounds like, well, I’ll just see what they’re both.
S7: So it’s I hardly recommend it to remove the elbow patches this time. And I’ve really tried to write a book that was deeply historical, but narrative enough for people to learn new things but also invest in the people they learn about.
S9: Oh, yeah. Awesome. All right.
S10: First up on this week’s show, we’re going to discuss the recent and ongoing, I’ll call it a mini drama between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He allegedly told her he didn’t think a woman could win the presidency. That’s what was reported. He denies that. They talked about it at the debate. We’re going to talk about it then. Meg, is it the other biggest news story that’s been capturing our attention this week? Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced a partial departure from the monarchy. What does it mean? How should we feel? And finally, we’re going to talk about a new book, Women on Food.
S5: And we’ll discuss the ways gender and race affect our experiences of dining out. Then for our Slate Plus listeners. We have an exclusive. Is it sexist? Segment. We have a great question from our reader. Nicole, why don’t you tell us about that question?
S11: Sure. We’re going to ask, is it sexist that a set of grandparents refuse to do the intricate hair maintenance routine of their bi-racial grandson?
S5: Such a good question. Here’s a little snippet of that conversation. Yes. I just I think it is sexist.
S11: And I will I will accept Christina’s term of racial ignorance, because I I don’t want to put anyone, you know.
S12: People get very I don’t want to put racist and racism on something that obviously may not be the case, but clearly is. A lack of education and maybe just a lack of willingness to be educated.
S13: Yeah, I mean, now that I’m thinking about it, it does sound a little bit like I you know, this was a racially tinged incident. I don’t want to be gay.
S5: If you’re not a slate plus member yet, you should start your free two week trial by visiting Slate.com, slash the waves. Plus, it’s only thirty five dollars for your first year. No excuses. All right. Warren and Sanders. On Monday, CNN reported with accounts from four sources that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had a meeting in December 2018 where Sanders told Warren that he didn’t think a woman could win the 2020 presidential election.
S10: Warren confirms the report. She said, I thought a woman could win. He disagreed. Sanders has repeatedly denied it. He said, What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. He also said the sources who told CNN about it were lying about what happened. His campaign manager said the same thing. It’s a lie. Bernie Sanders has always stood for women and women’s rights. Then at Tuesday night’s debate, we’re recording the morning after the debate. Both candidates were asked about it. Sanders said, look on YouTube, you’re gonna find a video of me 30 years ago saying a woman could be president. And in 2015, people were trying to get Warren to run. I stood back and said, I won’t run for the 2016 nomination if you do. I support women that the, you know, people been talking about. Are they lying or are they not? It seems like maybe one of them is lying. But I actually think it’s possible that he said something about how a woman candidate would be subject to sexist attacks like Hillary Clinton was and maybe have a harder time winning because of that. And Elizabeth Warren heard it. As you know, a woman can’t win. I think both of them could be telling some version of the truth. So instead, I want to focus on the idea that a woman can’t win, because contrary to what Sanders said in the debate, he said, you know, it’s preposterous that I would think that no one thinks a woman can’t become president. You know, a lot of people do worry about that. I think it’s it’s a thing that is on a lot of people’s minds. And certainly I’ve read an interminable number of news stories quoting people who think that a woman can’t win the presidency. So this was initially going to be an is it sexist segment.
S9: But then we decided to, you know, draw it out into the full thing. So I do want to ask you guys, do you think it’s sexist? You know, if Bernie Sanders did say that he thinks a woman can’t win the presidency.
S12: Well, I think it’s sexist for anyone to say that. And, you know, I know it’s sexist, but I think there’s also this fear that we have in general as human beings of of throwing her hat into the losing person’s ring or a corner or whatever the analogy would be to that. So I think people a lot of people don’t want to take a stand until they know that the their candidate is actually going to win or at least has a substantial chance at winning. So I think that’s mostly what’s at the heart of this. But there’s definitely some bias and just a lack of imagination about who could possibly win. And people are just afraid, I think, of even more change. You know, having a black man in the office has, you know, the fear from that and and the stupidity that has come from that. You know, Lanzas kind of where we are now. And so I think people are afraid, well, what the hell is going to happen if we have a woman in office who’s going to come after her? You know, I mean, I don’t think too many people are thinking that far ahead. But there’s very much a possibility as people try to overcorrect or whatever. So I think all of that combines, you know, to form people’s.
S11: I can’t just fear about what’s going to happen if a woman’s and the presidency, because really I mean, if you get down to the facts of what a woman could do, there is no reason that we would be any worse off than where we are now. And it just becomes this very illogical. Women are emotional, like we don’t have someone and an emotional brat in the office right now, you know, those kinds of silly things happening. So, yeah, I think it’s just a bunch of stuff. But is it is sexist overall?
S15: Well, I think that statement has there’s two ways of greeting the tone into it. I don’t think a woman would come president as a way of indicting the the voting public for being too misogynistic or too sexist to allow their imaginations to vote for a woman. But I think the problem is that there is a large segment of the population that cannot imagine being ruled by a woman. Right. So I don’t think a woman can become president. Can either be an indictment or a declaration of commitment to sexism. So it gets really, really hard to understand where that comes from. And this election cycle is so incredibly fueled with anxiety because Donald Trump is so terrible and the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to really have the capacity to.
S16: Create mechanisms to cultivate talent to get them to that next level to challenge Trump, but to be very honest. I was one of those people who did not think Obama would be able to pull this off. I thought the nation was far too racist to imagine a black president. But what I think Obama did so effectively was he just outmaneuvered some of the mechanisms that could have barred him from the White House. And I think that Warren has the capacity to do something similarly. But again, I think it’s really, really difficult in this election cycle to take any kind of rational assessment of people’s decisions because people are so afraid.
S17: Yeah. And when you look at all of the candidates, there’s something you could say about all of them. Is this kind of person electable, whether it’s like a very old kind of frail seeming person who doesn’t seem completely like together? Of course, I’m thinking of Joe Biden of Vermont.
S18: Oh, I thought you were talking about Bernie Sanders.
S17: So I know there’s a 78 year old man who I also have felt and I am not Jewish, but like America won’t vote for a socialist. America won’t vote for a Jew. America won’t vote for a 78 year old guy or a gay man who actually, at this point seems like the least, you know, like which is crazy to me. Yeah. It’s not like all the others are just slam dunks, you know? So this whole electability question, which I absolutely agree with you, Marcia. It is I think it’s the one question that we’re that everyone is asking right now. And I know feminists, people, progressives, women who’ve said, you know, I worry that a woman can’t be elected. It’s something that a lot of people who don’t who want to vote for a woman worry about. But like you said, Marshall, we were I worried about that with with Obama. And, you know, he won twice.
S12: That’s it. That’s so frustrating for me as a person that I mean, I have a lot of fears and insecurities. And then I just have to like Leap. And I wish that everybody would take that jump inches just vote. You know, and and with, you know, it’s OK to be afraid, but still votes, you know, you don’t have to vote for your second choice just because you’re for your first choice won’t win. I don’t understand that.
S5: But yeah, I also think it’s interesting that people usually only talk about electability when they’re talking about people’s identities. They don’t talk about it in terms of their policies or their temperament or their resumés.
S1: And I think it’s a very limiting and in accurate way of assuming the way voters will behave if you’re making assumptions about the way voters will behave. I just wrote a piece this is a little lead into a piece that I wrote about how everyone assumes that, you know, oh, well, Warren’s going to have an advantage with women voters or Cory Booker’s going to have an advantage with black voters and Mayor Pete’s gonna have an advantage with LGBTQ voters.
S10: And what this very diverse Democratic slate, which is getting increasingly less diverse as we go on, has shown us, is that that’s actually not a good way to look at the way people behave, you know? Warren, yes. Is maybe disproportionately popular among women, but not by that much. And that that effect completely goes away when you cannot white women. She’s only disproportionately popular among white women. Joe Biden is way disproportionately popular among black voters. He is clearly not black. And not only that, he certainly is not the most convincing orator on the topic of racial justice. So I think people take a lot of different inputs into their minds when they’re deciding who to support. Another thing that Obama’s election should have taught us, and it seems to be a lesson people haven’t taken away from it, is that people are very concerned with perceived electability and they can have their minds changed. You know, when Obama it wasn’t until Obama won the Iowa caucuses that black voters felt comfortable supporting him because they, you know, having the experience of racism in America, we’re even more concerned than white people. It seemed that America couldn’t elect a black president. And now, you know, Obama won twice by very high margins. And still, it seems like people believe that white men are more electable than, you know, people of color and women. You know, we don’t have data to support the fact that a woman could be elected president because a woman hasn’t been elected president. But I don’t even think that once we do elect a woman president, which I think we will someday. I don’t think people will be able to even internalize that as like, oh, see, we can elect women because we haven’t learned that election from Barack Obama. I did appreciate in the debate that Warren tried to.
S19: Bring facts into the discussion because it’s so easy to have this discussion completely in the abstract without because, like I said about whether or not a woman’s present, she came as good and regarded an entire for us to attack it head on acts. And I think the best way to talk about who can win is by looking at people’s winning record. So kind of woman beat Donald Trump. Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy?
S5: So I liked this a lot because I think, you know, by traditional measures. Yes. A woman and a democratic socialist would be running long shot races or at the very least, unprecedented races.
S9: But what that demands is not sort of cowardice or capitulation to America’s worst biases, but just creativity, you know, courage and creativity.
S1: There was a really great piece in The Atlantic by Eber Max Kennedy, who wrote that we should be reframing a refocusing the narrative of the swing voter that you don’t have to focus on capturing sexist people or, you know, white sort of racist people or centrists. You can instead focus on capturing the people who Obama really excited, you know, young voters of color, basically people who voted in 2008 and 2012, but not 2016. I think that it is sexist and racist that people are so focused on taking people away from Donald Trump instead of focusing on people whose interests have been ignored by both parties.
S20: This is what I thought was the potential of Kamala Harris that I think her campaign didn’t have the capacity to develop. Was the idea that a black woman, I think, could win the presidency if her campaign was able to bring new voters to the table? And some of the swing voters that Kennedy talks about in that article, people who disengage but can be animated back into voting. And I don’t think they were ever able to really do that. And so the question of can a woman get elected? I think also has to be contextualized with voter discrimination and voter suppression, because the reality of a person winning more of the popular vote and still not winning the presidency, I think shapes a lot of the ways that we speculate about what’s possible. And so I’m always really uncomfortable with conversations about 2016 that suppose that it was voters of color who lost it for Clinton because they didn’t turn out or there was some type of failure on the part of the American people to imagine a woman president in light of the voter malfeasance that happened. And I think that that’s always an asterisk on this conversation. And so to say that the person who can beat Trump is the white candidate, I think also nods to the fact that white votes matter more than any other votes. And those are the votes that will get counted and respected and have the resources for robust voter turnout.
S8: And there’s a lot of people have pointed out, including Bernie Sanders, that the debate, a woman did win the popular vote in 2016. A woman did get three million votes more than the the the guy who was crowned, who invested whatever the term we use in this country. I also just want to mention the line from a great piece by Willie Loughborough Ancelet, who said, Can Americans overcome a documented habit of finding stupid and greedy men more qualified than women with expertise and experience? That’s a pretty good question. Question I hope the answer is yes.
S5: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s not sexist to worry about sexism. It is sexist to use that as a reason to convince a woman that she can’t win.
S21: Yeah, yeah, I would agree with that. Yeah, OK.
S5: That’s about all the time we have for this mini drama. I’m sure the question of female electability won’t be going away anytime soon. Listeners, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at the waves at Slate.com. OK. Our next topic is Meg Zet. I have been so looking forward to this conversation. So last week, the American princess Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, announced they’d be stepping back from some of their duties in the royal family. June. Our royal correspondent. What’s happening here and why should we care?
S8: Wow. I’m actually. Wait, that’s news. I hadn’t heard that. I’m so shocked. It just feels like it’s been so under-covered. I just feel like it just doesn’t really grappled with it.
S10: It’s really been you know, it was sort of like an an underground sensation. You might not have even heard of them, but they.
S8: It’s very sub first. Yeah. I mean, I think of her as still as Rachel Zane, but I guess. No, she’s Das of Sussex Hetero from suit. Yeah. I watched suits. Yeah. Yeah. Many seasons. I still watched it when Mike had a great memory that kind of forgot that toward the end. Which is ironic really. Anyway. All right. Back to back. I think that’s the only part of this that hasn’t been over this guy. So, yes, as you point out, it’s Christina last week in what was a bombshell. Bombshell. That was the word of choice. The the Sussex is launch their new Web site, which I believe is called West Sussex Royal Dotcom.
S22: And they kind of took a page out of the new playbook for entertainment stars and like broke their own news. They didn’t wait for it to get a cover story. They didn’t wait for the press to do this. They made an announcement on their own time and their own terms. That said, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution, that institution B in the royal family. We intend to step back as senior members of the royal family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen. There were some issues with the title casing there, but I’m not gonna get I’m not going to get bogged down in that. I think the problem is that despite the chronic overcoverage of this, we still don’t really know exactly what they mean because it is really hard to know. They you know, especially Harry, he was born into this family. It’s not like it was a job he applied for. He was kind of stuck in it from birth. That’s the nature of hereditary monarchy. There aren’t really appropriate precedents for just deciding not to take part. At the same time, I think there’s something in the language of that announcement that kind of gets to the point of it that they talk about carving out a progressive new role like they’re the WOAK royals and it’s really hard to be.
S17: Progressive to not be caught in some really shitty historical colonial stuff. If you go along with the you know, the path’s, it’s always been taken. And as many people have pointed out, including a really, I thought, exemplary piece in BuzzFeed recently, I think over the last weekend, the way that the British press, specifically the British tabloids have covered the Sussex is is incredibly racist.
S22: I don’t think there’s anything controversial about that. The British tabloids are racist. The way they cover Meghan Markle is racist and the way that the exact same things that she does were treated as negative and crazy. And when William’s wife did exactly the same thing. William’s wife is white, by the way. Everything was valorized and positive. It was just like this was a very stark contrast. There is no doubt about this. And so there’s no surprise to me that they want to get out of there. But it’s not really as easy as just saying, I want to get out of here. What they you know, for one thing, they need really extensive security in part because of the racism, but also in part because they are incredibly famous, incredibly from in his case, an extraordinarily rich family that could pretty much, you know, the British money has his grandmother’s face on it, like she’s guaranteeing the money. There’s quite a lot of cash involved here. So their security is really something that you kind of have to spend a lot of money on. But who is going to be spending that money? It’s there’s just a lot of questions and not all that many answers before we move on.
S10: June, can you just give us one or two examples of the difference in the way the press covered Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton? Because I knew that they had been covered differently and that the British tabloid press had treated her with incredible racism. But it wasn’t until I read that piece in BuzzFeed that it it I really understood how terrible it was.
S8: Yeah. I mean, again, I’d just really recommend people go check it out. There’ll be a link on our show page. But for example, two were making exactly the same gesture when they were pregnant. They both touched their bump, which I think actually is impossible to avoid. I mean, it’s just there. I don’t know how you would not touch it. And when Kate did it, it was I don’t even remember the exact times, but like loving and and, you know, just great. Oh, she’s so ready to be a mom. And with Meghan, it was just like, what was it like? Egotistical as a narcissist? Nasty. Do you have to show us your baby bump all the time?
S23: Meanwhile, look at literally any picture of a pregnant woman.
S8: That’s just like that’s just the human body. Another was apparently when they were pregnant. They both use it both at avocadoes as some kind of counter to morning sickness, I guess, pregnancy, sickness. And when Kate did it, it was, you know, trying new things. Grey orse. That’s awesome. And then when Meghan did it, it was basically crazy.
S18: Yeah. They said her love of avocado toast is a part of our murder. She was like, yeah, avocados are murdering husbands, drought and child abuse.
S24: And yeah, I mean it was it just the starkness of the contrast was. Just it was just so mind blowing. I’m just really a great thinking.
S12: A great piece, one of the threads that makes me laugh in the way that people are reacting. There’s one group of British press and you know, the people are responding just in general. They’re like, well, what does she expect, white? You know, she should have expected racism.
S11: And then there’s another that’s like white bread. We don’t have racism over here. We’re not Americans. So which which is it? And, you know, should she have expected racism from England or should she have not? Like, what are you trying to say? Because clearly there’s racism. And, you know, it’s I don’t really want to get into this whole light colorism thing right now. But Megan is as fair skinned a black person as you can be. And for someone to then look at her and then, you know, create this caricature of Archie as a monkey. I’m just like, how deep is her racism that you would do that, you know, and then expect her to be okay with it? And you could tell that she I don’t wanna say she had a difficult pregnancy because obviously we don’t know what went on with her pregnancy. But even when we finally saw her after she had delivered Archie, she was clearly shell shocked, a little bit like she was still. I mean, this is our first baby there, you know. And so I think that she was not allowed to experience that, to settle in with that in the same way that maybe Kate was. But looking at all of this, another thing that surprises me is the fact that in their statement, they say explicitly that they’re trying to become financially independent. And then all these people are like, well, good luck getting a job and good luck, you know, having money. If you’re not a part of the royal family and all this kind of stuff and like get you know, give us you pay back the money. There’s people like pay back the money like, hello, why doesn’t England, you know? Now you guys know about reparations, right? This is what’s happening here. But that’s what they’re trying to do. And let’s not act like people aren’t gonna be throwing money at them for just showing up to present an award or something. Or, you know, there’s rumors that Megan is going to be doing voiceover work or something like that. No, it’s not as much as what’s in the coffers. You know, she have a of Cornwall. Right. But still, let’s not act like they’re going to be destitute, you know? So I just it’s just really strange, the reactions. This is obviously what they wanted. But I guess they just did not understand that Harry is not going to leave his wife, that he actually loves her. And so when I say this is what they wanted, this is what people, other people who are attacking Megan, they wanted her gone and now she’s leaving and they’re like, rate. How dare you leave? And we wanted to kick you out. You know, just relax about it.
S25: I think if you take a step back from this situation, there’s a few things that I think are relatable to Popper’s and everyday people. And I think their relationship exposes the way that in some families marrying across racial lines or social lines or building queer families can lead to this type of alienation in which the family is generally OK. But I think for the partner, certain partners and families realize the loss of social capital because of who their spouses. And I think that in this situation, the public is watching this type of unraveling that happens in a smaller scale in neighborhoods, in schools and churches. I know a number of people from multiracial families who told me growing up in their town that people will talk to one parent but not the other, that, you know, they were really very much alienated as the mixed race family. And so in this weird way, I think that Harry is experiencing something that a lot of people are experiencing. And his choice to turn his back on his family in this way is really powerful. And I guess there’s a part of me that loves the palace intrigue portion of it, because it’s great gossip. But there’s also this deep sadness because he makes it very explicit. The reason why they’re making some of these choices is because of the way his mother was hounded and killed. And there’s a way that I feel like the royals have a real opportunity to seem like real people in acknowledging the deep grief and pain of Princess Diana’s family, of her children, and how that animates their choices. And I think that narrative only works when they say, you know, they want to continue their mother’s legacy in public service and charity and philanthropy. But the real legacy is their attempts to. We like free in choosing their family and choosing to live in a way that honors those bonds. And I think that narrative goes into things that are so deep about this system that that conversation seems to be had a lot in the U.S. press. But I don’t think the British press is willing to say those things.
S5: One thing that I that excites me about this is the way it complicates the sort of princess narrative, you know, in the U.S. where I feel that Meghan Markle is a more realistic lens into what it’s like to be in the royal family than some of the other depictions that Americans have seen, especially because she’s American. And, you know, she and Harry have made painfully clear that being a princess is not all it’s cracked up to be. And it’s hard, I think, for normal people. Popper’s, in in Marcia’s parlance, to internalize the fact that fame sucks and is suffocating. And, you know, it’s very hard to live any sort of normal life. You know, we can talk all we want about like, oh, go cry into your pile of money in your palace. But it’s for somebody who, in Harry’s case, didn’t even choose that life for himself. You know, it’s it’s a little bit unfair to expect that because they get money from British taxpayers that they should be, you know, available all the time.
S1: I have to say, this situation, the Megs IT situation has really forced me to learn a little bit more about exactly how it all works.
S9: One thing I didn’t know about was the royal rota, which is sort of like a White House pool where there’s a group of reporters, you know, they sort of take turns having access to various events and then they share the photos and the information with all the other British reporters who have access to the royal family. I think there’s maybe six publications who have access.
S8: Well, actually, me, I’m just gonna jump in there and I apologize for that. But there are seven publications and it is appalling what they are.
S17: There are four tabloids. Only one of which is not explicitly tree to tree broadsheets. And then a London evening paper that is edited by a former conservative chancellor of the Exchequer. Like this is like this. We think of it as a pool system, but it is a very biased pool system which reflects the biased British press and the nature of a capitalist press. But it’s it’s a terrible, terrible system. And are the Tories more sympathetic to the royals? Yeah, they’re they’re more monarchist, generally speaking, whereas, you know, socialist tend to be more Republican in that sense. But it’s more it’s more just about the the, you know, sticking up for the status quo, the establishment, the monarchy, that kind of thing.
S5: Yeah. I mean, it’s a very transactional sort of relationship where the monarchy seems to be justifying its continued, you know, siphoning off of British tax dollars by saying, look, you get access to us and it’s so good for tourism. And, you know, don’t you love reading all these stories about us? And now Harry and Meghan are opting out of that. And like you said, June, it’s hard to understand at this point what it means, but they take great pains on their Web site to say, oh, you know, the money we’re giving up, that the tax dollars only covers five percent of our expenses. So it’s really not that much money. So I have to say, as much as I am so glad that they’re stepping away from the royal family in any capacity, because I think it’s it’s probably terrible for them and it’s certainly an unjustifiable system. I have to say, I would be a lot more sympathetic if they blamed the monarchy and the system, which they’re going to continue to profit from for all of their protests that they’re not in addition to blaming the press, because they’re just 100 percent blaming the press. And it seems like they’re just relinquishing 5 percent of their income in exchange for not having to go in front of this, you know, horrible pool of reporters who treat them and in completely racist and sexist ways.
S26: But Christina, don’t you think the real prices, the awkward family holidays have after work?
S27: Well, you know, you kind of alienation from his brother, the good object versus bad object that’s happening between Megan and Kate. I mean, I hear your point. One hundred percent. But I think the the calculation is also about this idea of family alienation.
S11: I wonder about the queen’s reaction. And I’m thinking about it because of the Crown, the series on Netflix and the way that we watch that. And the way that she has been portrayed in our question about is this propaganda to make her look good. And then the fact that, you know, when this first came out, there was this idea that Harry and Meghan had not talked to the queen about what was going on. And then it came out that, no, they had tried and had been, you know, kind of pushed to the side for a little bit. And then they were just like, you know, if I get we have to we have to push this. And so now the queen has been like, okay, let’s compromise. Let’s talk. Let’s compromise. I’m going to work with you. She has agreed to a period of transition is the language right now. And so I wonder if between the crown and this, whatever else may be going on that I am not privy to as dumb American, if she realizes that maybe the the monarchy does have too progressed and does have to change, as there’s you know, we move on and you know, she is now 92, I bury 93. And so maybe she kind of wants a little bit to see something happening. You know, I’m projecting, but, you know, maybe she wants to see something happen that she didn’t get to experience before she leaves this earth. I don’t. I don’t know. But I’m I’m very curious about her response and what we’re supposed to take from her response and how we’re supposed to think of her.
S24: Yeah, I mean, we’ll never know because that’s what they. Right. She’s a complete cipher. Although I do think and I’m just projecting that there is something about Megan, like you cannot have lily white royal family for what is not a white country. I mean, never was, but certainly is in no way. No, that is not acceptable. That is not possible. The monarchy cannot survive as an all white institution in a multiracial country. And so you have your first non-white person possibly in the family, and they are treated like that, like you can’t let that happen and have this institution stand. So even though it is just projection on my part, that does seem like she she can’t let that happen. She can’t stand for that.
S25: I’m excited for season 20 of the crown.
S18: Oh, my grandma.
S5: Bring that. She’ll be 20 years older. So they match a great more more roles for women over 40. We could talk about this for an entire episode, but I think we have to wrap it up now. Listeners, what roles do you want to see Meghan Markle play now that she’s free to earn her own money? What startups would you like to see Harry invest in and joined the board of? You can e-mail us at the waves at Slate.com. All right, our last segment for this episode is about Women on Food, featuring the voices of more than 100 female chefs and critics and other folks in the food industry. It was edited by Charlotte Druckman. It came out in October. And it’s a very sort of weighty and meaty. Pardon the pun, book. So we’re just going to discuss a part of it. And Marcia, I had in an instance of pure coincidence. This resonates a lot with stuff you talk about in your book. So so why don’t you take us into the segment?
S28: Absolutely. So this new edited collection, Women on Food, looks at the various dimensions of women working as prepares food, servers or food, folks who show food on TV networks. And it looks at the ways that not only gender, but gender and race, as well as other factors of identity shape, how we look at food and the experience of dining. And one of the things I love about this volume is that it really exposes this weird way that you can also see this in fashion, that although there is a way that cooking within the household is often gendered female, the heights of the culinary industries are incredibly male dominated. And in the same way that every day sewing is considered a feminized task in the home of the fashion houses and a lot of the top designers are men. And so this collection really gives you an opportunity to kind of reflect on how you look at food and how you look at people who represent fine dining and who is not visible in that frame.
S9: Yeah, I mean, I could say we could again spend a whole episode talking about this collection because there’s so much in it. But one piece we wanted to discuss was an essay by OSA Enderlin, which was excerpted in The Washington Post about the experience of being a black woman in fine dining establishments. And she describes it as feeling like she’s part of other people’s show. So she gets the sense that people feel like she doesn’t belong in some way. And so sort of have to address her, whether it’s server or a bartender, giving her unsolicited recommendations for more accessible, quote unquote, beers or something, or or maybe other patrons complimenting her on the bourbon she orders. And I think another way that I’ve sort of experienced what she’s talking about, obviously it’s not, you know, the exact same. But the way she describes as a show seemed very accurate to me, where part of eating out is often that, you know, you want to see or be seen or experienced. The performance of your servers or being with other patrons in a restaurant is part of the appeal of going out. Otherwise, in some cases, you might just order takeout or cook at home. I thought the piece really shown when she talked about the way we interpret other people were eating with, especially when we feel like they don’t belong.
S29: This piece really resonated with me for two reasons. One is someone who’s on the road a lot and does dine out. I am very sensitive when menus are over explained to me because I think that the implication is that I won’t know what the foods are. And she writes about that. And my sister is a. And she is one of the few black women who’s really at the top of her game in the wine and spirits industry. And a large part of what she does is tries to make these connections in the industry that people don’t see her as an expert. And so sometimes will go out to dinner. And it’s just painful watching waiters try to convince her something about wine that is not accurate and not realize the knowledge that she has. And I think for black food critics, it’s really hard because when they’re evaluating a dining service, they’re evaluating the quality of the service. And we know that black diners, especially in these types of restaurants, are often given really poor service. And so it it becomes a type of writing that’s really, really layered and complicated for black food writers.
S21: Mm hmm. Yeah.
S12: This time I felt like I could have written this essay myself without obviously the same level of expertise when it comes to talking about food or whatever. But I am a single childfree woman. Sometimes I get tired of my own company and I want to go out to eat at a restaurant. I don’t have a problem eating by myself. I like to go to the movies by myself. I just I love that experience. But, you know, I will have my book with me or, you know, in more recent years, my i-Pad. To read on my, you know, my e-reader, whatever. And it’s very clear that I’m just there to enjoy my own company. And there are so many people, almost always other white patrons who decide to they want to talk to me and figure out why I’m here by myself. And I have had when I go in to a restaurant and there’s like a black hostess, I’ve had her be very effusive about asking me why I’m there by myself. And the last time it’s happened, she was just like, oh, so are you treating yourself?
S11: No, I just want to eat. You know, I guess that’s a treat. Sure.
S12: But I have had those experiences where people try to overexplain something or talk down to me. In the last month, I went to a bar and I ordered a wine. It was a bar restaurant, you know, relatively fancy, a nice little quote unquote, date spot. And I was there with one of my friends and I ordered a glass of wine and the first sip. And I don’t know if this is the correct term for this, but the first sip was just a mouthful of sediment. It was just like the dregs of the bottle. And so I said, you know, I was like, can you take this back and pour me another class?
S11: And I explained and she was just, oh, well, this is a natural wine. And so it’s gonna. I was like, no, I’ve had natural wine. And, you know, and I’m telling her this is not what’s supposed to happen. And she just kept repeating, it’s a natural wine. Like, I’m stupid. No, I’m going 42. I’ve had wine before. I know what it’s supposed to taste like. I’m not supposed to have a mouthful of bottle crumbs when I’m drinking wine. And so those kinds of things. So in my experience as a black woman dining alone, I either get the waitstaff or the bartender who ignores me and barely wants to acknowledge that I’m there. And it’s just like, what’s your order? Or the person who, you know, thinks that my Caesar salad is very complicated and has to break it down to me. So I I completely feel this in insulin’s essay. She pushes back on this woman who is like, well, I just want you to try this salad has got beets in it. And, you know, she pushes back and the woman is like, well, you are righteous, which is, you know, a coded way of saying you’re an uppity Negro. Who why don’t you just accept my, you know, intrusive behavior, which is ridiculous. But I’ve definitely had those experiences. And I wish that, you know, in this age of social media, we see where a lot of times white people have a real problem with black people just existing. And I wish that people if you see me eating at a restaurant and I’m by myself and I have a book and I am okay or I have a journal and I’m writing or something, you can just leave me alone. You know, if you’re another patron, obviously, if you’re the waitstaff or whatever, don’t you know, please be attentive and you know, in the same way that you’re attentive to the other patrons. But before you approach that person by themselves, who who’s dining alone, regardless of their race, regardless of their gender presentation, ask yourself, why do you feel the need to encroach? Yeah.
S24: I mean, it is about belonging. It isn’t about black people by either explicitly or implicitly suggesting that certain people don’t belong and they need special help, special CNN to be in this place.
S5: This piece also reminded me of feelings I’ve had some times, whether it’s because, you know, I’m with a group of people who are dressed really interestingly because my friends are super fashionable or like, you know, because I’m queer. And we bring a lot of like gender nonconforming energy into a space that sometimes I get the feeling like the like when people come in chat to us, it’s because they feel like our presence is making their experience more interesting. Like I remember one time we had my partner’s birthday party at a bar and one of our friends had a very fortuitous gift bestowed upon her. That morning in the trash room of her apartment building, someone had left a bag full of 40 rainbow colored iridescent fanny packs.
S30: Which I believe they infested with bedbugs.
S10: Like, why would somebody be getting rid of those anyway? She brought them all to the bar and was like giving them out as sort of like a fun like, oh, we’re all out for someone’s birthday. Let’s wear these free fanny packs that somebody left in her apartment building. And this straight couple who was next to us and, you know, out for a quiet drink was sort of watching us and like kind of amused and smiling.
S30: And then the woman came over and she’s like, can I have one of those fanny packs? And then asked to take her picture with us. And I felt like, am I like a performing for you right now?
S10: Like, we’re having a birthday party for somebody having fun on our own, like. And and like you said, Nicole, I think that the sort of default response to seeing somebody who is like grabbing your attention for one reason or another should be I’m not going to talk to them.
S9: And I think that like our happiness and joy and the fact that we were taking pictures with each other somehow gave her permission to feel like she could be part of it, too, just because we were in the same space. And in Enderlin essay, she talks about being alone at a bar and a group of women who are like, well, why don’t you just stay with us at the bar? When she was intending on bringing her meal back to her room and like the idea that just because you’re in public. Other people have the right to chat to you because you seem more interesting than whoever they’re with. Seems like a a not entirely universal experience, but one that manifests in a lot of different ways with a lot of different kinds of people.
S8: To kind of maybe bring it back around to Marcia’s book in a certain way. I’m very conscious as a white one that many of the times when I have you know, I’m not going to say stepped into other people’s shoes, but gotten a taste of how other people are treated is when I’ve been in a restaurant or a bar of, you know, not getting seated, not getting good service, especially if you happen to be with a person of weight who is also a person of color. Good luck getting a seat then, and certainly one where you where you’re not going to be in, you know, right next to the lavatory. But also, if you are ever in a group. Speaking Spanish. Believe me, you will be asked to stop, you know, to bring your volume down. And so is in a way it’s it’s been somewhere where I’ve kind of got a sense of how other people’s lives.
S24: And I think, you know, it’s a place of public accommodations. That’s the nature of restaurants and bars and drive throughs and fast food restaurants. Like there are places that that where we interact with other people, with people who are so many of them like us, many of them not like us. And and it’s you know, it’s one of those places where we rub up against each other.
S31: One of the things I found in doing research for my book was talking to African-Americans of a certain generation, people who are now in their 60s and 70s and asking them about their experiences of going out to eat. And they would say, well, we just didn’t do that because we didn’t know how we would be treated or we would be allowed to sit. And that’s part of the appeal of fast food, was that when fast food restaurants opened in African-American neighborhoods, even though it wasn’t fancy or the food was an amazing. They knew that these were places that they could be served and treated a certain way. And last night I did a book talk and a woman came up to me and she said she remembers the first time she went to a McDonald’s because she was from the Deep South and they never were allowed to go out. And she wanted to get ice cream. But her grandmother didn’t want her to use the colored only window. So her grandmother learned how to make homemade ice cream so that the kids didn’t have to experience that. And she said, I remember moving to Kansas City and there was a black on McDonald’s in my neighborhood. And being so excited to go. And, you know, she was in her 20s at the time.
S32: And so I think that these instances in which people sometimes have a tendency to brush off to say, well, that was just what rude waiter or waitress or you’re being very sensitive about people just being friendly. I think they forget the context in which being out in public for a lot of people for various reasons creates a lot of anxiety and fear and disappointment when it can’t be a special experience.
S5: Right. I think that’s all the time we have for this book. Again, it’s called Women on Food. Edited by Charlotte Druckman listeners, if any of the stories we’ve talked about resonated with you, have you experienced anything like this? Has someone tried to take one of your fanny packs? Email us at the waves at slate.com recommendation time. Who wants to start?
S24: I can start. So I was on the Culture Gabfest this week. Check it out. I watched sixty-three up because it was one of the pieces of culture that we were discussing. And for those who aren’t familiar, it’s a series of films directed by Michael Apted. It follows a number of British people who started when they were seven. And then every seven years they’ve revisited this group and, you know, checked in on them, follow their lives. It’s this amazing. Longitudinal study, really, as well as being quite entertaining. Now it has some very serious limitations that as time has passed, I think of, you know, at this point is it’s you can say this definitely would not have been the group that was selected if you were starting this series. No. It does reflect, I think, attitudes. At the time, it was very much focused on the on class differences. So they were very careful to have people from sort of different ends of Britain’s class spectrum, some very posh people, some so almost cartoonishly working class people from the east end of London and not very many people in the middle and only one person of color in the entire group. Only for women. But it’s really I mean, first of all, it’s an amazing project. It’s just fascinating. But one of the things that I really enjoyed in 2:54, it was seeing one of the women who’s kind of, you know, gotten a reputation at this point because she’s now brought it up a few times of confronting Apted about his own biases, his own implicit biases, and pointing out that she still know several times that when you started this project, the only thing you ask the girls about was relationships. You never asked them about work. You never asked them about any attitudes other than what they interpreted, although he claims he didn’t mean it is like saying, did you sleep with enough men before you got married? And to me, that has become really interesting, even though the number of women, you know, there were only four women to begin with, the number of women participating has actually shrunk. So it’s a very small sample size. But it is it is really fascinating. And it’s it’s in the sixty-three up is in cinemas now. But all of the other movies are available on Amazon Prime and Brit Box. And it’s definitely a project that’s worth looking at. Interesting.
S12: Nicole, what do you have? Okay. So I would like to recommend a book series by this author, Dorinda Jones. That’s DJR Y NDA and this series is called Charlie Davidson Series.
S11: And it is about a woman who is a sort of grim reaper. And so she is able to see dead people and help them, you know, finished their last task. If there’s something that they need to do or if they’re trying to tell you something or whatever, she helps them with that and then she helps them transition to wherever they need to go. But it turns out that maybe she is actually the Grim Reaper and maybe I don’t I guess I gave it away. But but, you know, there’s also a romance element where this being has been kind of a guardian angel for her, but maybe he’s from hell and now. And so he’s like been travelling through lifetimes and people and like possessing people in order to be, you know, around her and protect her and all this kind of stuff. And so there are about 13 I think that the series stopped after 13 books. And the first book is called First Grave on the Right. And then the second one is like second grave on the left. And then it keeps going on and on. So the you know, the number of whatever book number in the series is in the title and it says a really good light. Brie, I do want to say light because I don’t I don’t want to dismiss it. But if you’re into paranormal romances and, you know, little thrillers with like some heaven and hell angel demon kind of stuff, that’s also very funny because she’s very sarcastic and witty. I recommend this so that Charlie Davidson series by Durant to Jones.
S5: Wow, you really gave a convincing elevator. Marcia, what do you have?
S33: I am going to recommend a book that shared a birthday with my book. Stephanie Jones Rogers is a professor of history at UC Berkeley. Her book came out in paperback last week and was called They Were Her Property White Women as Slave Owners in the American South. And as we prepare for Black History Month, there are seven standards that people will read. And I hope they consider this book that looks at the intricate relationship between white women, slave holders and the southern economy. And I think it’s an important book to think about how people from various positions upheld the system of inequality. And I think it can help better inform the ways that we talk about racial solidarity and feminism today.
S5: I remember when that book first came out, Rebecca Onion wrote a review of it on Slate. It’s the headline is Equal Opportunity Evil if you want to look for that. I remember thinking in a book sounded really good. I’m going to recommend a series on Showtime, which is really cornering the market on queer television right now.
S9: The show’s called Work in Progress. It airs right after the hour generation Q on Sunday nights. It is a sort of like auto fiction, I guess, or a little bit of a fictionalized adaptation of the life of the creator, Abby McInerney, who’s a comedian and an incredibly gifted actress. It’s about a woman in middle age in Chicago of a queer woman who begins dating a trans man half her age, and she’s dealing with OCD and anxiety and changes in her own biological family. The show is just incredibly sweet, sort of unrealistically sweet in a way that I appreciate. It’s laugh out loud, funny and I would say it’s a very good companion. Watch to the L-word generation. Q Because unlike the L-word, this show is full of real looking people. You know, women in middle age who look like they’re in middle age and people who aren’t super thin and and it grapples a lot more with sort of intergenerational differences. When Abby’s friend group and the friend group of Chris, who’s the guy that she’s dating, you know, try to understand each other. And it’s a really empathetic and also funny look at mental illness. I can’t recommend it enough. Again, it’s called Work in Progress, starring and created by Abby McEnany. And Lily witkowsky is also involved in the production. Yeah, you all should watch it. All right.
S2: That’s the end of our show. Thank you so much to Lindsey kratochvil, who produced this episode to Rachel Allen, our production assistants, and Rosemarie Bellson, who provided production assistance in D.C. for Marsha Chatillon, Nicole Perkins and June Thomas. I’m Christina Carter Ritchie. Thanks for listening.
S5: Now it’s time for our slate plus. Is it sexist? Segment. We have a fantastic question that came in from listener Nicole had us.
S34: All right. My husband and I are a mixed race couple. Our son has gorgeous, unruly, curly hair in my family of straight, fine hair. This is a shock. I have tried lots of products and crowd source to find workable options as his hair has thickened at nearly 4 years old. His hair has yet to be cut. He is adamantly opposed to a hair cut. And we love it. We style it and take the 10 minutes for it. My parents insist it’s too much, but I am convinced they would not act the same. Were he a girl? Is it sexist that my parents refuse to spend five to 10 minutes on a boy’s hair each day?
S21: Beautifully read. Thank you.
S5: Yeah. Why don’t you why don’t you go first? Do you think it’s sexist?
S11: I do think it’s sexist with a little dash of racism. I mean, I don’t know the, you know, the race or ethnicity of this couple here. I’m going to assume that someone is black and that that’s what’s happening here since, you know, we’ve got thick, curly hair. You know, yes, it’s sexist because if it was a girl’s hair, you would absolutely be taking 15 to 30. Well, I don’t. I don’t know how long white girls take for their hair. I’m sorry. But for black girls, we definitely. My mom took a lot of time on my hands, a braid and plaid or, you know, put the barrettes and all that kind of stuff. It was a process. And that did not even include like just like moisturising and the products that would need to go in to make my hair do what it needed to do. But there is also some sort of bias, I will say softly involved here, and that, you know, they don’t want to do what needs to be done for curly hair, which usually means putting in some kind of product to make it quote unquote more manageable, which is also a loaded term. So, yes, I think that this is sexist with a big spoonful of racism.
S5: Yeah. I also think there’s sexism here. It’s not clear to me whether the grandparents would have them cut the boy’s hair off. Like, why are you letting him grow it so long when it would be much easier to do if it were short like a, you know, quote unquote, normal boy’s haircut, or whether they think it’s ridiculous that they’re putting all this product and effort into doing a boy’s hair. I think I’m hesitant to call it racism. I think it might be racial ignorance where a lot of people don’t know that it actually takes a lot of time to do, you know. And again, I’m hesitant to use the word manageable because like you said, Nicole, you know, there’s so much racism involved in what we expect. Like boys of color to do with their hair. But, you know, the the idea that the what they may be used to seeing his hair doing actually takes work might be a surprise to them. I think if they believe the parents should just cut it off, because why are they spending so much time on this boy’s hair? That’s definitely sexist to me.
S1: And, you know, it it reminds me of what I think I’ve talked about on previous episodes, which is the idea that little girls, you know, the things that they’re expected to spend time on, including the toys they’re expected to play with, often have to do with self-improvement and beautification and working on, you know, things that only involve themselves, whereas boys are encouraged to spend more time on physical activity and and hobbies and interests that don’t involve self-improvement.
S24: Yeah, I mean, I agree with you completely, Christine. I think that this this is something that’s come up. I think, you know, there is a sexist segments. I remember when we talked about, you know, the TSA is problematic attitude to black women’s hair, saying that a lot of white people, women, men don’t understand, don’t know black hair. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay.
S8: It’s just like that as you as you put it, Christine. That’s ignorance. It’s not a mystery that is, you know, just completely that’s a that’s a book that’s clothes will never. That’s just no way to find anything information about that. Yeah. Like maybe Google it. It’s not like personally talk to the parents about it. You know, I can see this situation. But yeah, it’s sexist.
S26: The only thing I’m going to add to contoured this story because I do think it’s sexist. Before the Internet and before YouTube, I remember distinctly situations with friends or, you know, people I knew whose parents cut their hair very short because they did not know how to do their hair. And it was African-American. Girls or mixed race girls? This idea that hair management is a nuisance, I think can be internalized really negatively with a child and know her four year old would notice. But if the family wants the child to continue having long hair, there’s some real consequences, I think existentially and personally that come out of it. So if you are listening to this segment right now and you are in a family in which you were taking care of a child whose hair is different than your own. The magic of the Internet. Are YouTube channels. Lots of YouTube channels about hair maintenance and styling. And so this does not have to be a multi-generational problem.
S11: Yeah, I have a friend. He’s white. He’s married to a black woman. They have several children. He does not he does not use lotion. Which black people really love. Skin. Yes. And he does not like the feel of lotion on his hands. But when he when his children were very young and he bathed them, he would have to put lotion on them. And he was like, this is just what I needed to do because they have different requirements than I do and they have different needs. You know, that kind of thing.
S12: And I think in this same same situation, the grandparents just need to understand that their grandson’s hair has different requirements and different needs and a different process and they just have to deal with it. And now, if it’s a matter of a physical challenge with combing through the hair in that kind of thing, if, you know, the grandparents are older and maybe they don’t have the same kind of dexterity that they used to. I don’t know if that’s a part of it as well. Obviously, there are a lot of different things that could be involved here. Yes. I just I think it is sexist.
S11: And I will I will accept Christina’s term of racial ignorance, because I guess I don’t want to put anyone, you know.
S12: People get very I don’t want to put racist and racism on something that obviously may not be the case, but clearly is a lack of education and maybe just a lack of willingness to be educated.
S13: Yeah. I mean, now that I’m thinking about it, it does sound a little bit like I you know, this was a racially tinged incident. I don’t want to be gay.
S9: I don’t want to understate how easy it is for these grandparents to understand the things that they are seem emphatically incapable of understanding. But yeah, I think we can we can probably vote on this.
S8: It’s always hard when real people are involved because like I said, this is not about you or your family listener. It’s just a theoretical version of the situation.
S5: Yeah. So is it the question was, is it sexist that my parents refused to spend five to 10 minutes on a boy’s hair each day? And so I’m going to assume that, you know, maybe the grandparents are caregivers in this situation. And so they are doing his hair on a regular basis.
S8: Yes, it’s sexist. I’m gonna give it a nine just to guest to give a little bit of a benefit of the doubt, since I don’t know the real situation.
S21: But yeah. Yeah, give it a 9 as well. Marcia, nine and a half. You and I. Yeah.
S5: I’m gonna give it an eight. And the other two points are them not understanding and maybe not wanting to understand the differences between their fine hair and his curly or kinky hair. All right. Eight point eight. Seventy five. It’s pretty damn sexist listener. Thank you so much for this great question. And I hope you resolve your issue and that your parents begin to do your boy’s hair. Also, it seems like it makes him really happy to have his hair done and belong. So I hope they can put his happiness first. Thank you. All the rest of you listeners for your slate plus membership. And keep sending us your is–it sexist questions at the waves at slate.com.