It took three visits to San Francisco before finally crossing the bridge to Oakland. I liked? Absolutely! It is a big city with fantastic food.
But what I found most interesting in Oakland was how different the narrative was. Go to most major cities in the United States, learn more about their history, and they’ll give you a cast of white players telling white stories, with people of color added primarily as afterthoughts.
Oakland is one of the few American cities I’ve visited that doesn’t have a white narrative. It is an incredibly diverse city – – today it is almost equally divided between white, black, and For having a large Asian population as well. Moreover, it is a city where interaction is diverse (unlike somewhere like Boston, which is diverse on paper, but is surprisingly segregated even today).
It sounded over and over again as I talked to small business owners, spoke to local activists at an event for women of color, and explored the history of Oakland as a city.
Nowhere illustrates this more than the excellent Oakland Museum of California, which I absolutely loved.
In many ways, California is like a microcosm of the United States. It is built on immigrants, as well as American transplants further east, and it has a similar demographics of the country as a whole.
The Oakland Museum of California focuses on stories about Californians: the Japanese-Americans who survived the internment camps, the immigrants from Latin America who came for a better life, and the black social justice warriors in Oakland, including the Black Panthers. These stories are placed in the foreground and in the center.
There was even a news section about Donald Trump’s statements about banning Muslims from the US and how it relates to Japanese internment camps.
My favorite sections were where people could write their own memories, hopes, and dreams on post-its. Most people had thoughtful things to say.
What do you think of the 60s and early 70s?
“Mom smoking in the car with the windows turned up and I standing (not sitting) in the front seat!”
“We lost Malcolm X.”
“REALLY GOOD hair, REALLY bad hair, ROCK-N-ROLL.”
“Unable to rent an apartment while they saw us as Mexican.”
What steps will you take to support your view of the refugee crisis?
“Learn, listen, be active, VOTE.”
“Every time I hear misunderstandings, I raise my voice and explain the real landscape of a problem.”
“Learn more about how I can help.”
What do you hope for the future?
2016: “Ziggy Stardust has returned home on Mars.” “End of Islamophobia!!!”
2019: “Transgender people Have equal Rights.” “IN TIBET WILL BE FREE.”
2021: “Discovery of a Cure for Alzheimer’s health issue.” “A real time machine from the hot tub!”
As you can see, I was in paradise in this museum as a lifelong liberal. And the sections on California’s art, history, and ecology were also fascinating. Oh, and I should probably mention that there’s a marijuana exhibit coming soon…
On Friday night, the museum has half-price admission and the open space turns into a huge party for all ages! There are food trucks, drinks and music.
And what I liked most was that the music of choice was hip-hop-and yet you’ve seen families dance with kids of all ages.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen families with kids dance to hip-hop at an event at the museum. No way. It has given me so much pleasure to be in a city where hip-hop is considered family!
The food scene
Oh, and the culinary scene is Oakland is crazy. In the best way. I’ve already written about the best things I’ve eaten in California, but here are some other Oakland treats I’ve loved:
Fried green tomatoes à la hollandaise and smoked salmon in Picán.
Excellent coffee and a chia pudding at Blue Bottle Coffee.
This bowl of rice and mussels in Shakewell.
Tequila doesn’t always be in the form of” wrong decision ” shots-check out the selection of amazing tequila in Calavera! The salt cloud margarita is incredible.
Fried cheese in grains during a gastronomic tour Savor Oakland. Some employees have long been adventurous readers of Kate; make sure you tell them that I sent them!
Oakland has an urban wine route and you can do wine tastings throughout the city. I especially enjoyed the wines, meats and cheeses at a place called Campovida.
Take Away food
It’s not easy to get to know a city in just two days-even harder when you’re on an organized press trip, where the point is to explore the culinary scene. But what I discovered in Oakland was pretty intriguing that I’m looking forward to coming back and peeling more of its urban layers.
If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, I highly recommend booking a day for Oakland, if only to go to the Oakland Museum of California and get a great lunch or dinner. It’s so different from San Francisco and well worth your time!