“1 cup flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup milk
½ cup dark chocolate
Oven preheated to 180ºC”
Jenny finished reciting the ingredients to me as I collected them in bowls, ready to make the cake batter.
“Hey Tessa, I read that 88% of police stops in New York City in 2018 involved Black and Latinx people, while 10% involved white people”, she told me.
“Oh! I read too! And I read that 70% of them were completely innocent. Remember that day when Danny and I were going to the mall? We got stopped too but they let us go when I showed them my ID. I think I told you about that, didn’t I?” I exclaimed as I mixed all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
“Yep, I remember! And during the 2015–2016 school year, Black students represented only 15% of total US student enrolment”, she stated as she took the dry mix from my hand and added the oil, water, and vanilla essence to it, “but they made up 35% of students suspended once, 44% of students suspended more than once, and 36% of students expelled. The US Department of Education concluded that this disparity is “not explained by more frequent or more serious misbehaviour by students of colour.”
“How do you remember all those numbers?” I threw her an incredulous look and took the bowl, mixing it all to make the batter.
“I just do. Do you know about Mrs Dupont? She was a new French teacher. I didn’t take her class but Sam told me she would always pick on Veronica Eaton for her braids. She tried giving Justin detention when Neil punched him, but the entire basketball team stood up to her and Principal Figgins got involved.” She took out another bowl and poured half the batter into it. Then she added the melted chocolate to it as I greased the cake tin.
“Is that why she got fired? I heard that she didn’t even make it one semester”
“Maybe”, she shrugged.
“Well I read that from 2013 to 2017, white patients in the US received better quality health care than about 34% of Hispanic patients, 40% of Black patients, and 40% of Native American patients”
“Look who remembers the statistics now!” The chocolate batter in her hand contrasted with her skin tone but matched perfectly with mine.
When both the batters were ready, we took turns pouring them into the tin, one spoonful at a time.
“I just wish,” she popped the tin into the oven and turned to look at me, “that people weren’t so hateful, you know!”
“I mean, look at this cake” she continued with a dejected sigh, “this beautiful cake with layers of chocolate and vanilla together. It’s like our friendship.”
“The world does need more marble cake friendships”, I agreed with her, “But till then, let’s bake more cakes and educate people. Who knows, maybe they will start baking too!”
– Vrinda Rastogi, Amity International School, Noida3 Likes