Raise your hand if you’ve run the gamut of emotions — fear, anxiety, gratitude, confusion, relief, more fear and anxiety, hope, and at times a bit of outrage — so far this year?
Sometimes, laughter is good medicine. I get a kick out of the memes like the one that refers to murder hornets as a “plot hole” (where did they go, anyway?). And now a “Godzilla” dust cloud … really?
But in all seriousness, the events of this year have scared me, shocked me, confused me and, at times, rocked me to my core. How apropos is it to be 2020? We’ve got a lot of hindsight coming our way, my friends. While we’ve seen the best come out in our industry, we’ve also witnessed some of the worst come out in our society.
In less than six months, we’ve watched in astonishment as a pandemic swept over us, restaurants shut down, consumers upended the retail market, and civil unrest detonated before our very eyes. I know you don’t read Baking & Snack for social commentary, but I hope you’ll make an exception today.
I do not tolerate inequality — nor does this magazine or Sosland Publishing — not for race or gender or age or any other variety. Judging people for how they look, or where or when they were born, is wrong. Plain and simple.
But it can’t stop there.
In recent weeks I’ve realized that choosing not to see color is actually taking the path of least resistance. We as human beings have an obligation to think more critically than that. Some ugly truths have been exposed this year. I hope you were paying attention. A few months ago, “colorblind” was good. But the devastation I’ve seen unfold has shown me that good is not good enough. Not anymore.
We are heading for the biggest recession our country has seen in a century. But what if it becomes an opportunity? The labor pool is about to be wider and deeper than many of us have ever experienced. Yes, there is diversity in the commercial baking workforce; I’ve seen it on the plant floor of nearly every facility I’ve visited. But having diversity is only the beginning. Now is the time to see differences and understand what they mean.
Then diversity becomes a tool for meaningful change.
Bakers bring people together. It’s what they do best. When the labor market inevitably shifts, I believe this industry can bring people in — and come together — in new, honest and authentic ways by seeing one another with empathy, understanding and eyes wide open.
We have the power to create a new future for baking. Perhaps we can make the world a little better while we’re at it.
This editorial is from the July 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire issue, click here.