Angela Omulepu: As American as Apple Pie

2 min

What were you doing when the mob assaulted the Capitol? Angela Omulepu was baking a pie.

I wasn’t one of those people who jumped on the pandemic’s sourdough-banana-bread-bandwagon. My baking urges started long after the COVID reality of brain-fog and Zoom-school. But recently something changed, and now I’m elbow deep in flour and butter, salt and sugar — an ancestral dance with my baker grandpa, a Black man and immigrant, whose alchemy knew no measuring cup, only dashes and pinches.

On this day, my hands worked furiously merging flour and butter, squeezing and crumbling, occasionally adding splashes of frigid water as I watched, on live TV, a horde of angry Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol at the behest of their beloved leader. I was in a state of shock working the dough, crying, incredulous as outnumbered Capitol Police were pummeled by Confederate and American flags alike.

Despite being thousands of miles away in the safety of my home, the terror was palpable as images of nooses, and other white power symbols washed across the screen.

The dough was done. “Is this rage baking?” I wondered.

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Next, the filling. The granny smith apples, bruised in places, were nestled in the pie dish, and glistened with that buttery, sweet yet tangy sauce filled with the spices of life. And finally, the lattice work, a painstaking weave of dough that crowns the pie and 40 minutes later, there she was all golden and flakey with bits of crust begging to be eaten.

Meanwhile in D.C., night had fallen, a curfew was in place and Congress was certifying the Electoral College votes. During the barrage of condemnations of the day’s insurrections and failed coup attempt, I heard someone say, “This isn’t America.” But I beg to differ, because that display of white privilege and white rage is as American as apple pie.

With a Perspective, I’m Angela Omulepu.

Angela Omulepu is a doctoral student at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She lives in Oakland and is the mother of twins.