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Response to Alliepoo (Original post)

Sat May 30, 2020, 10:03 AM

2. Here.

Of course if I wanted to toss rocks where there is community-supported racism I could start right here in the Milwaukee area and stop in Madison on my way up to Saint Paul and then across the river to our Hennepin Ave store in Minneapolis where, last I heard, at least one door and one of the big windows have already been smashed. The reality is, this is America where community-supported racism is eating away at every community across the country.

I received a couple emails yesterday from customers upset that we should be victims of the unrest when we actually try to do more than most to make a difference. And it’s right there on google if you type in Penzeys Hennepin to make sure you are spelling Hennepin correctly and then click the News tab. The first story up is “A list of the buildings damaged, looted in Minneapolis and St. Paul.” But then if you scroll a touch, the fourth story down actually is “Penzeys Spices takes a strong stand against racism and Trump” from November 22, 2016. If only protesters googled.

But as much some days I vehemently oppose racism, every day I benefit from the privilege white skin gifts me. If sweeping up some glass and replacing a couple windows is a piece of everybody realizing the costs of racism-fueled police violence towards minorities is no longer affordable, then so be it. And yes, here is where I point out one more time, voting for a presidential candidate whose own party labeled a “textbook” racist well before the election is indeed a racist act. And no, the fact that 63 million Americans did this does not make it any less racist. If this was you, make amends and move on. It’s not that hard.

But as much as the Republican Party of late has given up on subtle racism and gone all in, the lack of awareness for just how deeply racism and privilege are intertwined runs the entire length of America’s political spectrum. Can anyone say college loan forgiveness? It’s like someone looked at the idea of reparations for slavery and said yes let’s do that, but let’s find a way that all the money goes to white people instead. And I’m not saying the idea is without merit, but seriously, how can you float it without in the very same breath acknowledging all those who our country’s racism blocked from accessing that opportunity? We all need to do better. A lot better.

But enough complaining, and how about a positive idea instead. After an email from us a couple years back in support of Black Lives Matter in Saint Louis, I ended up in an exchange of emails with a retired police officer from the area. At first he was taking the, if you support them then you hate us approach. I started out with, this denial of racism in our communities and on the force really isn’t doing you any favors. The best cops are always the ones with their finger on the pulse and who live and breathe the street. Saying racism isn’t a thing can’t help but raise questions of corruption and at the very least looks clueless which isn’t a good look for a detective.

Ultimately I pitched the idea of doing a full 180 and becoming the true heroes in America’s fight against racism. It’s not really that far of a stretch. Imagine the voice-over of the recruitment ad: “We live on the front lines where America’s racism meets reality and we are looking for help. Everybody talks about fighting racism, but we’re the ones actually doing it. Want to help? Do what it takes to earn yourself a badge and come join us. It won’t be easy, but you will be in the very place where making a difference matters most.”

In the end he wasn’t quite ready to embrace my pitch, but we did part on much better terms than we began. And of course mine is an experience of white privilege, but the vast majority of those on the force I’ve interacted with over the years have been good eggs. Still the willingness to tolerate bad eggs is at the heart of so many of these problems. It’s got to end. Smartphones are everywhere and that’s a very good thing.

And Justice Seasoning. A big part of “Penzeys Spices takes a strong stand against racism and Trump” lives in this blend and it really is a good one. After our Wednesday email, our first to most of our customers in seven weeks, I received many thousands of emails in return and a lot of them held questions that the best response to was, just buy the Justice Seasoning it’s probably our best blend and it has no salt as well because it just doesn’t need it. Plus, as you can see from the poster below with the text from the label, it really does start: With Justice —Peace. Until Justice once again lives in the White House, the Senate, and most importantly in the Supreme Court there can be no peace. 11.3.20 Vote Justice.

And if you don’t mind waiting 2-2 1/2 weeks for delivery shop now at penzeys.com. Yes, the huge surge in online orders brought on by the coronavirus has us a bit behind, but with our new system we are gaining every day. And the sweet thing about having a couple of weeks worth of orders in the house is that for scheduling grinding, blending and packaging we don’t have to guess what we will need two weeks from now, we already know. Ordering now helps, and all orders ship in the order received and aren’t charged until shipped.

If you live close to one of our stores you can save a whole bunch of time by placing an order for touchless pickup through your local store. Just click here to get started. It only takes a couple days at most.

And if you own a store somewhere can I give you some advice? In the late '70s the MPD (Milwaukee Police Department) had the Beare brothers, both detectives, both really good Cooks, and both customers of my parents' store at a time when our neighborhood was becoming a little bit more out of control. At one point one of them took me aside and explained how it was my job to keep our windows from being broken.

The good news was, that as much as we all like to think there is some intention behind broken windows, the truth is the vast majority of the time how it happens is pretty simple and without much in the way of premeditation at all. It boiled down to this. If you see a nice rock about the size of your hand or slightly smaller, as a human you will most naturally pick it up. Once in hand you will look for something to do with it, and if you see anything that could be a target, such as a store window, you will let loose with the rock. Therefore dispose of hand-sized rocks 2-300 feet from your store and keep any target-like posters out of your window.

If you are from the Milwaukee area and have a tip for us possibly finding a Beare brother recipe please send it our way at editor@penzeys.com. Thanks!

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support, and most importantly of all thanks for caring enough to cook. You really do heal the world,


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Alliepoo May 2020 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot May 2020 #1
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WhiskeyGrinder May 2020 #2
Alliepoo May 2020 #4
nolabear May 2020 #5
SheltieLover May 2020 #3
ariadne0614 May 2020 #6
Lars39 May 2020 #7
llmart May 2020 #8
Maeve May 2020 #9
crickets May 2020 #10
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