Have you ever lost someone, to death, or separation, or just to drifting away? Have you ever felt the enormity of that loss through a little absence of something – a coat that isn’t on its hook; the smell of a cologne that no longer hangs in the air when you wake up after he’s gone to work; the memory of a certain breakfast burrito that you never watched her cook closely enough to duplicate and now you can never have again?
I am in no way suggesting that the possibility of my in-access to goods and services carries the same weight of discrimination and unfair treatment of people – if we lost diversity, the injustice to human beings that got us there would be the tragedy. But sometimes we can understand the magnitude of a magnificent loss through the loss of the details.
And with that caveat I give you:
The things my cold hard capitalist heart would miss if diversity was stamped out:
(I originally thought this would be a long list – there are lots of things to put on it. As I gushed about these things, I realized that maybe this isn’t a post, maybe its a series. So for now, here’s just three.)
Magnolia Makeup is the creation of two sisters – Niala and Tia Howard – from New Orleans. It doesn’t take a big leap of logic to see the unique influence of New Orleans culture in the vivid colors of the line and sometimes in the names of their shades and seasonal lines. This line is not just owned by Black women – they also developed the products themselves – so the makeup has the pigmentation it needs to pop on dark skin. (Check out their Instagram for evidence.) Its also formulated with an eye towards compatibility with sensitive skin. They’ve recently been included in Essence’s list of 17 Black-Owned Beauty Brands You Should Be Supporting in 2017. You don’t even have to be black yourself to support, obviously.
As you can most likely see from the photos, I’m somewhere on the pale spectrum. Magnolia colors come out bright and striking on me – the final color actually seems to be very consistent, even on people with very different skin tones. The Ultra Matte lipstick is the best wearing long-wear lipstick I have ever tried. NYX stays on pretty well; this stays on better than you imagined was possible, doesn’t feel gross after hours of wear, and comes in a better shade range. The “crazy” colors are heads above most on the market as well, in that, once they’ve dried, they really aren’t messy. You will not realize halfway through the day that there’s a blue smear down the side of your face. I’ve heard that their glitters are very good as well, but haven’t tried them yet myself. Products are reasonably priced to begin with, and they also run 50% off sales on some items from time to time. If you are white (or another ethnicity with very light skin) and want to try Magnolia products: these might be a little more intense than you are used to. Things might not blend in exactly the way you are used to. But, THAT’S A GOOD THING. That’s choice in the marketplace! Reach for Magnolia when you want a cosmetic that does what Magnolia Makeup does. (Just keep in mind that if you are not black, shopping black beauty lines, you may not be exactly the core customer – so if something doesn’t work on you, it may not be a “bad product”. It may just not be right for you. That’s a possibility you should consider before leaving negative feedback or reviews. Wouldn’t want to ruin a product for the people for whom its just right, just because it wasn’t what someone else expected.)
To be fair, there are many things that I acquire from H Mart that I would miss – I will try to keep from writing long odes to each of these items…
H Mart is an Asian influenced big-box grocery store chain. They cover the basics that you’d find at most stores, but also carry distinctly Asian items that can be hard to find elsewhere (at least where I live). Particularly worthy of note: sushi grade fish. For a very economical price, you can make the sushi roll of your dreams. Or, take the less-precision-required route and make poke bowls. (See Below…)
H Mart is also a good source of :
- Ramen noodles – not the square packet kind (although they have that too) but the plain packaged ones that are the perfect thickness unlike the regular grocery stores which always only have Udon noodles in stock.
- Sake, sparkling sake, plum wine, rice wine, various Japanese and Korean liquors. We have Total Wine and Specs here, which have a decent selection, but H Mart’s is the most extensive specifically Asian selection that I’m aware of.
- Vegetables and mushrooms that aren’t standard in every grocery store.
- Tofu – I’m not a connoisseur, and TBH, the one or two varieties at a standard grocery would probably be fine for me. But, if selection matters to you, H Mart is the place.
- Wonton and egg roll wrappers in every variety imaginable.
- Individually packed Japanese-style sheet face masks – you might be able to buy a cucumber mask down the road, but can you buy a bee venom one there?
- Chop sticks.
- All manner of teas – green tea, jasmine tea, loose-leaf tea, loose-leaf tea in cool tins, ect.
- Sea weed snacks. If you aren’t already hip to these, I know – this doesn’t sound good. It is. Its also way less bad for you than some other snack options.
- All sorts of sugary wonders – animal-shaped jars full of individual jelly cups, rice candy, Pocky, Hi-Chew, gummies, Japanese marble sodas, things you’ve never seen before.
Games by Ace Team (oh wait, also a lot of other games, by other studios, from other places)
If you know your dev houses, you may be thinking “Ace Team is in Chile – The US could be homogeneous as all hell and we’d still have Ace Team games!” But I’m not sure that’s true. Currently we live in a country with a market for games that supports a wide variety of tastes. Because of the spectrum of tastes, we get access to games from other places – its viable and worthwhile for them to launch in our market. Its also viable and worthwhile for US companies to work with developers outside the US, sometimes creating games with a foot in two or more countries. A homogenized US would mean a US market with less variety in tastes – which would mean higher risk for any game to launch here even slightly outside of those core tastes.
All that aside… I love games from Ace Team because of how different they are, how much they defy my expectation. Zeno Clash is my favorite – a strange journey of a game that I attempted to quit multiple times on the grounds of it being TOO WEIRD, but could never not go back to. Its gameplay is different, its world is unusual to the point of pushing comfort zone limits, its themes of freedom and questions of who may punish whom and who controls the concept of right or wrong have perennial relevance. Okay, sorry, BRB, I’ve just got this irresistible urge to play Zeno Clash II…
A few others worthy of mention:
- Life is Strange, despite the detail in its Pacific Northwest setting, is from French studio Don’t Nod.
- Remember Me – Don’t Nod’s less celebrated previous offering which also holds a lot of significance for me.
- Does Captain Obvious need to remind you where Pokemon is from?
- Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines – a strange, addictive PS Vita game from Japan which I do not believe would have come within my reach without a market open to international ideas. Come for the dungeon crawl; stay for the baby-making with gods!
- Horizon Zero Dawn is being developed in the Netherlands, the same locale that brought me the heartbreak of Chronicles of Spellborn.
- Gravity Rush, Yoshi’s Wolly World, Mario in general, Final Fantasy, Space Invaders, and Legend of Zelda are all Japanese – a nationality which the US once found so dangerous that lawful immigrants – even US citizens – of that descent were imprisoned for a few years. An observer of gaming culture (or even general pop culture) today would likely report that we seem to have gained much from our exchange of media with the Japanese; compare that to the depth of fear the US felt towards even US-born people of Japanese descent in 1942.