22 November 2015

Hummus, Islamophobia and a politically correct way to eat a taco

From time to time the goddess of Political Correctness throws a juicy morsel in my direction. This one is even more than a morsel - this is a whole enchilada dish. Well, perhaps missing a few beans, but let's not complain.

As you know, the PC folks have become tough on the issue of cultural appropriation (shame on you if you are unfamiliar with the term, but go to the link in this case). Apparently cultural appropriation these days spread its wings over the PC ways to munch your food. No, I don't mean drooling or eating with your mouth open - rather saying some rudely un-PC words while consuming whatever you happen to be consuming.

This fascinating article (I would even call it "field guidance" in deference to you know who), written by a feminist, author and (obviously) a politically correct food connoisseur Rachel Kuo is certain to set your brain cells right in the ways of consuming your food without blurting out some horrible, P-Incorrect and hurtful to minorities words. Especially if you are one of the "dominant culture" privileged species used to oppress brown, black and otherwise colored people. PC Deity forbid if you dare use the word "authentic" - which is worse than anathema to Ms Kuo and points to your trait of... I shudder at the mere thought... your cultural appropriation. Here comes a (small) part of the PC food consumption theory:
When food gets disconnected from the communities and places its from, people can easily start forgetting and ignoring historical and ongoing oppression faced by those communities.

America has corporatized “Middle Eastern food” like hummus and falafel, and some people might live by halal food carts, but not understand or address the ongoing Islamophobia in the US.

Folks might love Mexican food, but not care about different issues such as labor equity and immigration policy that impact members from that community.
I hope you are beginning to see the ray of light now. Let's try to practice together, in terms that might be simpler to you.
  • When you eat hummus and falafel - keep your mouth shut and think about Islamophobia. You can write on your napkin the word "Islamophobia", but do it correctly, not "IslamAphobia" and not "IslamoFobia", you hear?
  • When stuffing yourself with tacos, think about all these downtrodden Mexican laborers crossing the border between you know what and you know where, risking their lives and freedom. 
  • When you are sinking your teeth into a schnitzel and don't know what the heck you should be thinking to be PC, at least try to remember Wilhelm Tell. Or the rat-catcher of Hamelin, fer PC sake!
  • When shtupping your face with gefilte fish, spare a thought to the Palestinian children whose Zionist oppressors deny them same opportunity. 
  • And chew with your mouth closed, for crying out loud!
Etc. I hope that by now you got the drift. If not, it is a re-education school for you, with proper field guidance and work in the rice fields - to get some sense of agricultural solidarity in you when you scarf risotto in an Italian restaurant next time.

All in all, I strongly advise that you read the whole article and imbue yourself with the right approach to taking your food - or else.

I have only one remark to make and one question to ask. First the remark. Apparently, Ms Kuo, while clearly being in the front of the PC culinary revolution, herself is still not 100% imbued with... well, with all that a really 100% PC feminist thinker must be fully imbued with. The proof, from that same article:
Often, when we talk about “ethnic” food, we’re not referring to French, German, or Italian cuisine, and definitely not those Ikea Swedish meatballs.
This was shockingly unexpected. Why would a fully PC thinker lay into a food item produced by a minority nation? Why is that Swedish meatballs, a beloved dish of so few, is being derided? And what does Ms Kuo, in her heart of hearts, really think about lutefisk? I shudder at the thought of a possible breach of all PC canons.

And a question, regarding this sentence:
In seeking “authentic” food, we’re hoping for a truly immersive experience into another culture.
To be totally truthful, when I am seeking food, “authentic” (PC deity forbid) or not, I am more concerned with my chances to let that food to immerse itself inside me. To borrow the term, I want to wrap myself around that food, no matter the culture. Only if I am out of my mind with hunger, may I allow part of the food to immerse me - like in that picture above. So please explain that apparent contradiction, Ms Kuo.

And bon appetit!

In related news: I Sometimes Don't Want to Be White Either
There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors... and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn't have biological children because I didn't want to propagate my privilege biologically.

Hat Tip: Greg.