Food Racism
November 6, 2013 9:48 AM   Subscribe

The racism in healthy food challenges Michael Pollan's ideas about food and health and investigates the value of telling people what to eat at all.
posted by Kimberly (25 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This seems like some pretty thin argumentative op-ed stuff for a post. -- cortex



 
That's some mighty fine fertilizer right there. Gonna dry that out and use it on my organic heirloom tomatoes.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:52 AM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


This kind of reminds me of how I heard about 'emotional intelligence' when I was 11 and it gave me a new way to call my sister dumb.

11 year olds are jerks.
posted by poe at 9:54 AM on November 6, 2013


I like how it starts in on Pollan but then the evidence for racism is the place of dairy in the USDA food pyramid. It's not even a clever misdirection.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:54 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


FTA:

"Guthman completely destroys the idea that the obesity epidemic is caused by eating too much bad food.

First of all, she shows that it’s not just governmental subsidies that make for cheap food."

Is ANYONE arguing that cheap food is driven ENTIRELY by government subsidies? No, they are not. And no one is talking about cheap food in general, what Pollan and those arguing against subsidies are saying is that subsidizing bad food makes more bad food available relative to non-subsidized food.

The energy balance model, where more high-energy food has a direct, causal link to more obese people, just doesn’t hold up.

There is no evidence marshalled in this essay for this claim.

I broadly sympathize with the project, but this post is so poorly argued and too quick to throw accusations of racism.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find the point about dairy genuinely interesting, but to say that "high-calcium foods traditional to some of these cultures (for example, collard greens) are not included" is wrong. Collard greens are vegetables, so they're definitely included, and I doubt any nutritionist would tell you collard greens aren't healthy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2013


Unless the author is arguing for a "collard greens" corner of the pyramid?
posted by Think_Long at 9:59 AM on November 6, 2013


Ah, the joys of identity politics. The autoimmune disease of the left.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:00 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


also FTA:

In a 2009 New York Times article, “Big food vs. big insurance,” Pollan links cheap bad food to the obesity ‘epidemic.’ The problem? That ‘bad’ food (like corn, potatoes, and wheat) is subsidized, making it cheaper, and people are eating too much of it, which has led to a rise in obesity. The solution? Stop subsidizing, and educate people to “vote with their fork” by buying locally and organically.

In Pollan's NYTimes article, he does nothing of the sort. He doesn't mention 'vot[ing] with their fork', nor does he mention organic food AT ALL.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:01 AM on November 6, 2013


Nothing about this debunks Pollan. Or, for that matter, people like Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation.) Pollan and others make the same point that the entire food industry is feeding people unhealthily.

There's nothing racist or elitist about advocating that everyone gets access to whole, unprocessed foods. And the author's claims that people can be overweight and fit (true) does not meet the issue that obesity is linked to a huge number of health problems.

I love the attack on dairy. It is big agribusiness that pushes dairy, and lots of other food items that are bad for people, not folks like Pollan.
posted by bearwife at 10:02 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm all about opening up the conversation to talk about how environmental factors promote ill-health at all body sizes, but the attempt to pivot off of Pollan seems like shameless page-view trolling.

I think our over-reliance on the automobile in the US is deeply unhealthy, both physically and psychologically and socially, but it would be stupid of me to say that Pollan is wrong (or racist?) for writing about healthy food instead of smarter land planning.
posted by gauche at 10:05 AM on November 6, 2013


28th Amendment: Everyone gets access to whole, unprocessed foods.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:06 AM on November 6, 2013


Racism % Daily Value: Healthy food not a significant source of racism
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:07 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, it's weird to me that corporations spend millions of dollars "telling people what to eat" and nobody bats an eye, but when a single man speaks a message counter to these corporations, "telling people what to eat" is suddenly off-limits.
posted by gauche at 10:07 AM on November 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't know if it says a lot about me or a lot about the article, but while reading that I did a lot of rolling my eyes and muttering, "Oh, Jesus Christ" under my breath.
posted by kbanas at 10:09 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know if it says a lot about me or a lot about the article,

Article. Totally.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:10 AM on November 6, 2013


dairy, and lots of other food items that are bad for people,

dairy is unquestionably bad for you now?
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2013


What should the food movement’s slogan be? It shouldn’t be Pollan’s “vote with your fork,” that’s for sure. This excludes those who can’t vote, from lack of time, money, or privilege. It also shouldn’t be “good food for all,” as this takes for granted that it’s even possible to define what good food is, requires someone to judge what food is good, and what food everyone should be eating.

Like, I just want to add:

Is it even possible to define what is food, should we eat it with our mouths, should we use teeth when we chew it, should it provide nutrtional value, should it be brown, should it exist, are you a unicorn?
posted by kbanas at 10:12 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Upon graduation, the writer of this article has a bright future awaiting him/her at Slate.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:12 AM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was complete nonsense and entirely fails to engage with M. Pollan's actual argument at all. prefering to engage with some frankenstein notion of food pyramids and pro-organic food.
posted by mary8nne at 10:12 AM on November 6, 2013


Man, I'm glad you guys are on the same page as me. I kept reading, kept checking my privilege, giving the article the benefit of the doubt, but no ... no, that article is crap.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:13 AM on November 6, 2013


The point about dairy is absolutely valid and I am down to thunderdome thumbwrestle irl with anyone who wrongly and incorrectly thinks otherwise, but yes, attributing this to Michael Pollan is ridiculous.
posted by elizardbits at 10:13 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is possibly one of the thinnest posts I've seen on the Blue for a while. It's not even a very well written article and I count myself among people who would like to read a good article about the premise presented by the title.
posted by Kitteh at 10:14 AM on November 6, 2013


I mean I have now read this 3 times and I still do not understand why the author invokes Pollan in the first place other than to have a popular target to point unrelated arguments at.
posted by elizardbits at 10:15 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's like writing an article centered around a valid point about racism in hollywood blockbuster casting and then saying AND ALSO GEORGE LUCAS MADE SHITTY STAR WARS PREQUELS AMIRITE?
posted by elizardbits at 10:16 AM on November 6, 2013


other than to have a popular target to point unrelated arguments at.

Ding ding! Page views. It's totally disingenuous.
posted by gauche at 10:17 AM on November 6, 2013


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