In the past few months, debate surrounding the use of racial caricatures as pro sports mascots has reached a fever pitch. Just ask the Washington R-dskins, who’ve endured significant backlash for both their refusal to change their name and their half-assed attempts to placate their critics.
But a few miles west, fans of the MLB’s Cleveland Indians are taking a stand. In a motion of solidarity, a small but growing number have been “de-Chiefing” their paraphernalia by removing the offensive “Chief Wahoo” mascot from caps and jerseys that bear its likeness.
Q:Regarding the post about rising quinoa prices, can explain the racism and appropriation? I understand the issues surrounding a growing demand for any type of food but what makes this more than just another food fad? (Don't take this as argumentative. I just want to be informed and you are always spot on with your posts). Thanks!
i’m going to open this with a story.
when i first moved into on campus housing at Hampshire college i had a Peruvian roommate. upon learning that i’m a vegan she one day said to me “at least you’re not the kind to eat quinoia”. she then went on to explain to me that quinoa is a staple in the diets of peruvian peoples because of its nutritional benefits, such as high protein, high fiber, low calories, ect. but because the demand for quinoa in the united states has skyrocketed, people in Peru and other places where quinoa is an indigenous crop are no longer able to afford it. this means they have to shift their diets to what’s immediately available in order to survive the quinoa outsourcing boom, such as an increase in meat consumption to supplement the protein they would have gotten from quinoa in order to survive. this shift in how peruvians and other people access food in order to survive is causing a spike in diabetes, obesity, and other health problems that weren’t as significant before the quinoa boom. from a health and food justice standpoint, the quinoa boom is causing health disparities in people who had otherwise been able to survive for years.
interestingly enough, she was telling this to someone who had never eaten quinoa in her life, and quite honestly didn’t know what the fuck it was until she explained it.
there’s a lot of issues with what i’m going to call white supremacist food culture, the ways in which U.S commits food imperialism when we imports good as part of the “supply and demand model” in order to satisfy the dietary needs of a few at the expense of many
like lets be real about something
the U.S isn’t buying quinoa in bulk and then distributing it in the hood for free. its not hitting the shelves of grocery stores located in food deserts in droves.
its going into whole foods, small boutique health food stores, stores where the assumed consumer is white, upper class, and labelled “health conscious”. stores that are not located in places populated by people of color, whether its urban, suburban, or rural. its going into the stores where white people live and white people shop.
there’s actually a really good essay in the anthology cultivating food justice about how one of the problems with food justice and health consumer culture is that the “conscious consumer” is assumed to be white and the “unconscious consumer” is assumed to be a person of color. and when food justice operates under the assumption that “unconscious consumers” are merely people who don’t know what’s good for them and have to be told what’s good for them then its located in white saviourism. it doesn’t address the issue of access as it relates to class, race, mobility, proximity and continues to perpetuate a power imbalance where white people are posited as the authoritative source on health
now why is it racism and appropriation?
the lack of tangible fair trade agreements that benefit the producer moreso than the consumer- i personally believe that fair trade can never exist within the context of a capitalist framework. current fair trade rhetorics, to be frank, are an emotional remedy for the guilt ridden conscious consumer moreso then they are a real solution to transnational trade and consumption. no matter how much people in the U.S pay for something labelled “fair trade” you are still getting it for relatively cheap in comparison to what its actually worth, because you’re importing from places that don’t have the same philosophy about labor that we do, where labor is thought to be theoretically “cheaper”. and chances are you are probably paying more for the luxury of a brand to say its “fair trade” than you are an actual, equitable exchange. in order for fair trade to truly exist there has to be complete autonomy over the means of production so that producers can play a larger role in their own economic development. essentially, the people who produce quinoa are probably not profiting off it as much as U.S companies who import it are
long term environmental consequences- the U.S has a nasty habit of overconsuming/over-importing foods labelled “exotic” by virtue of not being indigenous to Eurocentric agricultures or food cultures. this places pressure on countries of production to deplete their own natural resources in order to keep up with with the demand, such as destroying rainforests in order to make more room for more crops. especially since its not advisable to crop the same crops in the same patch of dirt over and over again. so we are playing a role in the destruction of the environment abroad, especially in countries of color who have already gone through the environmental destruction associated with European imperialism. U.S import culture fosters another form of environmental racism all on its own
the “its not healthy or worth eating until white people eat it” gotcha of food appropriation. at the same time white supremacy loves to tell people of color that our foods are not healthy, nasty, smell bad, ect it also loves to appropriate our foods and take credit for making them more palatable to the taste buds of white people. and out of this a repackaged food culture arrives, where the representations of that food culture make whiteness the referent, the default. and where the profiteers are white. white people probably make more money off selling non-white recipes, cookbooks, ingredients/food staples ect than the actual people of color from that cultural context ever will
the best way to see this illustrated is to go to a book store and pick up a cookbook that advertises a non-western, non-white food culture written by a white person. the emphasis will often be on rehashing recipes from that culture to make them “healthier”, i.e fat free, low in sugar, carbs, high in protein, whatever is the hot new stay healthy/stay lean diet tip of the day. this assumes that prior to white adaption and appropriation, these foods are “unhealthy” relating the health of a food culture to Eurocentric values of what it means to consume “healthy” food/”unhealthy” foods.
yet what is considered “healthy” or necessary for a culture to survive is not going to be the same across the board. “health” is relative concept influenced by a lot of shit. and white supremacy functions to set the proverbial standard of concepts that are relative
additionally this framing conveniently ignores the impact of European colonialism & white supremacy have on POC food cultures. a few days ago i reblogged a post where whole foods was selling collard greens, a staple vegetable in many blackamerican soul food traditions. the advertisement stated “it doesn’t take bacon to make these greens taste great”.
well whole foods is right, you don’t have to add bacon to collard greens in order to make it taste great. especially if its not your preference
but that conveniently ignores the context by which collard greens arose as a coveted dish in the first place. they’re part of blackamerican soul food cultures, which originate out of slavery. slaves didn’t have access to what some might think of as “healthy” food. being fed during slavery was a luxury that came few and far in between. and when slaves were fed they were fed what was left of the masters meal, the throwaways. so emerges a food culture as of a method of survival, a food culture that suited the needs of people who were being physically exploited for labor and unsure of when they were going to see their next meal. dietary preference or selectivity doesn’t exist when you’re fighting to survive.
food appropriation by white supremacist food cultures is nothing new. people who benefit from white supremacy have been either taking by force or underpaying for their “exotic” dishes, ingredients, recipes. neither is the dialogue about the appropriation of food from marginalized peoples is. the only thing that’s quite new about is in the academic discourse and scholarship that has risen out of food justice. but then to me that narrows the scope as to what is considered scholarship, who is an authoritative source, who defines such limitations
i mean whether i’ve read about it in an article or my grandma calls me on the phone one day to tell me she can no longer afford collard greens because their in high demand at the whole foods clear across town
either way i’ve learned the same lesson
We have a natural tendency to assume that a remarkable chemistry between two souls is confirmation that they are meant to be together. In the heat of profound feelings, it seems counter-intuitive to imagine ourselves separate from our beloved. But chemistry and longevity are not natural bedfellows. Just because we feel earth-shatteringly alive with someone doesn’t mean they are supposed to be our …life partner. They may have come for a very different reason - to awaken us, to expand us, to shatter us so wide open that we can never close again. Perhaps they were sent from afar to polish the rough diamond of your soul before vanishing into eternity. Perhaps they just came to give you new eyes. Better we surrender our expectations when the beloved comes. (S)he may just be dropping in for a visit.
A boy sprawled next to me on the bus, elbows out, knee pointing sharp into my thigh.
He frowned at me when I uncrossed my legs, unfolded my hands
and splayed out like boys are taught to: all big, loose limbs.
I made sure to jab him in the side with my pretty little sharp purse.
At first he opened his mouth like I expected him to, but instead of speaking up he sat there, quiet, and took it for the whole bus ride.
Like a girl.
Once, a boy said my anger was cute, and he laughed,
and I remember thinking that I should sit there and take it,
because it isn’t ladylike to cause a scene and girls aren’t supposed to raise their voices.
But then he laughed again and all I saw
was my pretty little sharp nails digging into his cheek
before drawing back and making a horribly unladylike fist.
(my teacher informed me later that there is no ladylike way of making a fist.)
When we were both in the principal’s office twenty minutes later
him with a bloody mouth and cheek, me with skinned knuckles,
I tried to explain in words that I didn’t have yet
that I was tired of having my emotions not taken seriously
just because I’m a girl.
Girls are taught: be small, so boys can be big.
Don’t take up any more space than absolutely necessary.
Be small and smooth with soft edges
and hold in the howling when they touch you and it hurts:
the sandpaper scrape of their body hair that we would be shamed for having,
the greedy hands that press too hard and too often take without asking permission.
Girls are taught: be quiet and unimposing and oh so small
when they heckle you with their big voices from the window of a car,
because it’s rude to scream curse words back at them, and they’d just laugh anyway.
We’re taught to pin on smiles for the boys who jeer at us on the street
who see us as convenient bodies instead of people.
Girls are taught: hush, be hairless and small and soft,
so we sit there and take it and hold in the howling,
pretend to be obedient lapdogs instead of the wolves we are.
We pin pretty little sharp smiles on our faces instead of opening our mouths,
because if we do we get accused of silly women emotions
blowing everything out of proportion with our PMS, we get
condescending pet names and not-so-discreet eyerolls.
Once, I got told I punched like a girl.
I told him, Good. I hope my pretty little sharp rings leave scars.
Malcolm Venville. The Women of Casa X.
The British photographer Malcolm Venville has made a searing photographic record of a deranged reality. Complementing Venville’s photographs is a series of astonishingly candid interviews with the women of Casa X by the well-known Mexican writer Amanda de la Rosa. These are the portraits and testimonies of thirty-five survivors of the monster of the City, with much to say about life in a slum in Latin America: about the Mexico that horrifies, about sex, poverty, love, and the darkest side of human nature.
One night in Mexico City, Carmen Muñoz, sex worker, was roaming the streets looking for customers. Unexpectedly, she found two colleagues, both over sixty years old, sleeping on the street, covered by newspapers. After almost forty years of giving service to butchers, porters, refuse collectors and criminals, they were now long forgotten by their families and society. Carmen was confronted with what would be her own fate, like most women of her profession. Striving for dignity for all of them, she organised her colleagues and led a group that resolved to find a home where they could spend their last days in safety and warmth.
In 2006, after twelve years of work, and with the support of Mexican intellectuals and artists, the government gave them a seventeenth-century mansion, where Carmen founded Casa Xochiquetzal - Casa X. Around sixty women, all over fifty years old, receive shelter, food, and medical and psychological care. This is not just a retirement home - most of the women who live there still walk the streets. But Casa X is the only refuge for prostitutes in Latin America.
Casa X is located in the heart of the notorious district of Tepito. Although only eight blocks from the historic centre of Mexico City, Tepito is a micro-universe, where life is lived in a unique fashion. For nearly 500 years it has been a place of impunity, crime, smuggling, violence and prostitution. The neighbourhood did not submit to the Aztec Empire, or to the Spanish conquistadors, or to the current authorities. Tepito has an identity that goes beyond its boundaries. It has its own social organisation, myths, heroes, slang, and even its own local deity, La Santa Muerte (Holy Death). The women of Casa X are stuck at the bottom of the ladder of this world, and keeping the memories of it in their bodies.
“At the moment, I’m homeless.”
“I thought you were waiting for someone.”
“I’m just trying to pass the time. I live in a shelter.”
"How did you become homeless?”
“I had a place, but I smoke, and I wasn’t supposed to.”
“What’s your typical day like?”
“I wake up because the lights come on in the shelter. You’ve got an hour to wash your body and do everything, and you have to do it on a schedule. Then, if you’re hungry … well, you don’t really want to eat the food there. It sucks. Anyway, you eat. They offer you oatmeal or eggs or cream of wheat.”
“When do you have to be out?”
“In the shelter I am, you have to be out of the building by 9 o’clock. Then you have to be in before 6 o’clock. You can go back during the day. But it makes me feel so, so unmanly because I have to answer to someone all the time. Sometimes I stay in the shelter in the daytime. I have a couple of my art pieces there. I hang out there half the day. Then I go to the library and read. Time passes quickly.”
“Can you afford to buy your own food?”
“Yes. I have money to eat elsewhere. And I choose not to eat at the shelter because I don’t want to take the food from a homeless person who needs it more.”
“Do you have friends or family?“
"I have two children.”
“Do you see them?”
“Not too often. I love them. They love me. I’m divorced.”
“You said you had some art pieces.”
“I’m an artist. I paint. I studied art history.”
“What do you paint?”
“Mostly portraits. I like people’s eyes.”
“Have you exhibited somewhere?”
“I used to exhibit on Newbury Street and elsewhere.”
“When was that?”
“About 20 years ago.”
“And then what happened?”
“Well, I also drink. I spent a lot of money on going out and partying.”
“Do you hope to get back into the art world?”
“That’s my dream. You know, you made my day. Why did you pick me? I feel so proud. I will always remember this date. I’m a homeless, highly educated black man who drinks. I’m homeless because I smoke. I never hurt anyone, never stole, never lied, never cheated. I’m so happy you talked to me. It awoke in me an aspect of humanity I had long forgotten. I feel so honored. Why me?”
Thanksgiving is coming!
Wait, hold on, wasn’t this originally the comic about people stealing art and claiming it as their own.
Did you just copy someone’s artwork and claim it as your own to complain about theft.
Did you just do that.
The level of metafuckery right here is incredible
If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:
it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)
it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)
it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)
it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)
it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)
it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)
it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)
it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)
If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.
And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.
Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.
Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”
Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”
Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.
Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.
Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.
Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.
People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.
And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She stopped saying no, after a while.
These rules for social interactions that women are taught to obey are more than grease for the patriarchy wheel. Women are taught both that these rules will protect them, and that disobeying these rules results in punishment.
I’ll be posting more portions from this piece; the entire thing was something I read early on in my feminist awakening that made a whole bunch of concepts come crashing into place for me.
Consider how textbooks treat Native religions as a unitary whole. The American Way describes Native American religion in these words: “These Native Americans [in the Southeast] believed that nature was filled with spirits. Each form of life, such as plants and animals, had a spirit. Earth and air held spirits too. People were never alone. They shared their lives with the spirits of nature.” Way is trying to show respect for Native American religion, but it doesn’t work. Stated flatly like this, the beliefs seem like make-believe, not the sophisticated theology of a higher civilization. Let us try a similarly succinct summary of the beliefs of many Christians today: “These Americans believed that one great male god ruled the world. Sometimes they divided him into three parts, which they called father, son, and holy ghost. They ate crackers and wine or grape juice, believing that they were eating the son’s body and drinking his blood. If they believed strongly enough, they would live on forever after they died.” Textbooks never describe Christianity this way. It’s offensive. Believers would immediately argue that such a depiction fails to convey the symbolic meaning or the spiritual satisfaction of communion.
“This is an alternate universe where Bruce Wayne died instead of his parents. Causing His father Thomas Wayne to become Batman and his mother Martha to go insane and become the Joker. “
WAIT WHAT GO BACK WHAT YES
Where can I read this
I need this comic!