in Academic

Working-Class Folks and Coffee


Espresso Royale, East Lansing, MI (2015).

I always thought about writing about coffee. Not really about coffee but more about my experiences of drinking coffee. Like, the time I was driving cross-country and stopped for some coffee at a random gas station in Texas. The counter person and gas station looked like a scene straight out of the neo-American Western thriller film, No Country for Old Men. But that is a different story.

I have a long list of ideas to write about, and I’m always sharing or mentioning them during many conversations when drinking coffee. One of them was writings about “shitty” gas station coffee. But, like a lot of my writing ideas, I never start or finish them.

So, I’m glad that my conversation about gas station coffee sparked my comrade-in-struggle, Dylan Miner to develop his current project, Black Medicine Water/Mshkikiwaaboo.

After reading, a few of his blog entries it has re-motivated me to re-think the gas station coffee project. It was never about shitty coffee but really about the interaction between people when drinking coffee.

I’m trained in labor and social historian, but my degree is interdisciplinary. So, I have the opportunity to incorporate many different theories into my research. So, instead of writing about gas station coffee, I will focus on examining working-class folks and coffee as a location of struggles.

For me, those locations introduced me to counter-stories. In my political development as organizer and scholar, the following locations of conversations have played an important part in shaping my understanding of the world around me.

Our Kitchen Table (Oxnard, CA):

A location where I gained an understanding of counter-stories and intersectionality when debating politics with my parents.

Espresso Royale (East Lansing, MI):

A location where I had the opportunity to develop, share, and discuss ideas about working-class struggles with grad students, organizers, scholars, and community folks.

Grounds For Thoughts (Bowling Green, OH):

A location where I was able to interact with local folks and my students to discuss counter-stories, politics, or just life!

In closing, like all of my other projects hopefully, I can get this one done!