Gawker, via Copyranter.
At what point does it become okay to acknowledge that black people in America have a culture? Does the way we deal with this alter if black people own this grocery store? If it was Hispanic History Month would it be a problem if tortillas were on sale?
The same thing happened with my local market's circular....
The week before St. Patrick's day our supermarket insert is all about corned beef and cabbage, carrots, onions and Guinness. I know, because I buy it and cook it... and its delicious.
Racists? I don't think so.
I have to agree with the folks above. When I was little, I lived in rural Georgia, and when I went to the other girls' houses to eat (we are from the north), I ate greens and ham and stuff. The onions should be Vidalias, but those are harder to get up north. I don't really see a problem.
I went to a Catholic university in Pittsburgh, PA, for my undergrad - 96% white. Almost all of the non-white kids were foreign students or there on athletic scholarships. They wanted to be seen as an inclusive community, but it was very much an upper middle class white school.
I remember my freshman year joking with someone that for the special "black history month" dinner they'd probably serve fried chicken and watermelon. And that was the meal we got. I'm not black but I was so disappointed in my school for jumping on the stereotype.
Actually the campus at which I work had a "Soul Food Sunday" at which they served fried chicken and requested that you bring side to attend for free. This was a Black History Month event, one of many. I thought it was a little weird, but who DOESN'T like fried chicken - it's delicious!
"If it was Hispanic History Month would it be a problem if tortillas were on sale?"
It would be problem since tortillas are Mexican, not broadly "Hispanic." Kind of like how collard greens are mostly associated with the American South, but not all African American cultures are southern.
To be clear, though, I think celebrating food traditions is generally a positive thing. Soul Food is delicious, and so are all the wonderful tortilla-based foods; I thank and honor the originators of these traditions. The problem is when it becomes a stereotype rather than an appreciation of multiculturalism. What food traditions are we ignoring when we focus only on "fried chicken and collards" or "tortillas and beans"?
When I looked at the ad, I immediately saw some of the ingridients that can be put into Mafe-which is a West African soup. Some foods that have been traditionally associated with African Americans do have their roots in Africa.
SocImages bloggers, please do correct me if I'm wrong, but...
Several of you commenters seem especially defensive! No one said this ad was "not okay" or was "racist." Clearly it makes some assumptions and generalizations about black people, and investigating the nature of those assumptions is sociologically interesting. Why are fried chicken and collard greens featured in this sale? As Abby said, "What food traditions are we ignoring when we focus only on 'fried chicken and collards'...?" Also, what is peanut butter doing on this list? And why might some people see this as racist and others see it as fine or even great -- and what groups of people fall where along that spectrum?
As far as I understand, this isn't a blog of "problems," and you're jumping the gun if you assume every post is a declaration that society is horrible. It's a blog of "sociological images." We're all members of society, and naturally have feelings about what society ought or ought not be like. Occasionally even sociologists will chime in with their opinions, because they're members of society too. Primarily, though, you're looking at observations, not judgments.
I have a problem with "Black History Month" in any regard.
"Also, what is peanut butter doing on this list?"
I'm assuming this is in tribute to George Washington Carver, in addition to peanuts being an ingredient in foods of many African countries, as mentioned before.
[...] T.M. and Claire C. sent in a link to a photo of an NBC cafeteria menu in honor of Black History Month (that’d be February) that featured stereotypical African-American [...]
Is it just possible that these foods weren't entirely chosen because of Black History Month? Maybe it's just that I'm a southerner, but none of these foods look particularly notable to me. And greens like those are in season in February, so I'd expect to see them advertised. Do people up north not eat fried chicken or peanut butter or greens? Those are common foods where I live among white people, too, so I have a hard time seeing them as racist. I'm rather surprised to see them labelled as part of "black culture". It's just food here.
What about the other foods shown, too? Or are y'all just going to ignore that they flyer also advertises Polish sausage and Hawaiian punch cake because it doesn't fit the stereotype?
Your email address will not be published.
Sociological Images encourages people to exercise and develop their sociological imaginations with discussions of compelling visuals that span the breadth of sociological inquiry. Read more…
CC Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike