Sweet and Spicy

apologies in advance for the first story

ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to (that’s the ‘rock’), something to read (that’s the ‘paper‘), and something to listen to (you guessed it, that’s the ‘radio’). Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word.

SOMETHING TO READ

I’m sorry to be the one to bring this to your attention, but Rachel Dolezal, the white former-scholar made famous not for identifying as Black, but for absolutely, shamelessly, relentlessly, doubling down on identifying as Black while co-opting the term transracial, is now sharing photos of her feet on the internet and you can read all about it from Vice here: Rachel Dolezal Is Selling Feet Pics on OnlyFans.

SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO

The United States’ decision to withdraw from the longest war in our nation’s history seems like it should be a win for peace. Instead, the chaotic move has been devastating for Afghans, who are now battling a violent Taliban takeover.

This 7-minute conversation between KUOW’s Paige Browning and Bahana Naimzadeh, whose parents came to the U.S. in 1979 when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, is a such a human glimpse into how the violence of war is passed down through generations and across continents: A Seattle-area Afghan American reacts to ‘stolen hope’.

I’m always moved by Browning’s empathy as a host—the way she listens to and affirms the hardest parts of people’s stories, while making space for the conversation to continue. About 3 minutes in, Naimzadeh tells Browning that the last few days have been the worst of her life. From there, Browning asks her what emotional connection she feels with Afghanistan, the homeland of Naimzadeh’s parents. What follows is a nuanced picture of second-generation identity, and a quiet nod to the way that love and family bind us to who we are and where we come from.

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SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO

Just a reminder—I’m all in for misfits in every part of my life. The people I love the most are complicated weirdos even if they’re really good at hiding it, and even the food I get most excited about usually includes unlikely parings and oddball preparations.

Like spicy pickled watermelon rinds, which you should definitely be making too, as this hot Delta summer comes to a close. Here’s a quick video how-to from the always-charming Carolina Gelen. Basically though, the recipe is this:

1) Cut the watermelon into slices and eat the pink part (with sea salt and lime)

2) Use a vegetable peeler to remove the dark green skin from the rinds

3) Put the rinds in your vinegar of choice (I used seasoned rice vinegar, no sugar or water), with salt and seasonings (I used jalapeños, fresh dill, peppercorns)

4) Soak for at least a day (longer is better), then eat them with your hands on your front step at dusk while weeping for the end of summer

CALL FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL STORIES

That’s it for issue 54, friends. Thanks for listening, reading, holding on.

If you’re an educator, parent, or K-12 student in the Seattle/Puget Sound area and would like to chat about your hopes and anxieties as the clock clicks down to a return to in-person learning while Delta variant cases surge, I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about. Reach out before Tuesday. Your story might be included in the upcoming Seattle Now episode I’m producing for KUOW.

Stay safe out there, all. See you next Thursday.

K.

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