How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation in Food



cultural appropriation has been a hot topic for the past couple of years but a lot of the dialogue about it has been overly simplistic in reality it is a complicated concept that can leave many feeling unsure of how to engage in cultural exchange without perpetuating racism so what is cultural appropriation it's when a person from a dominant culture in the United States that's white people uses elements of a marginalized culture in a way that perpetuates harmful and oppressive power dynamics a lot of people think that this is a silly issue because it's just clothes or it's just food moment were just clothes or food sadly history makes that impossible there's why people care historically when white dominated nations colonized other places they weren't satisfied with claiming land or resources a key part of colonization was the annihilation of native cultures colonizers forced indigenous peoples to assimilate to European cultural values and practices however at the same time the exotic eyes the flavors sounds and aesthetics of the people they colonize so that they could continue to enjoy those aesthetics while simultaneously asserting their inferiority to European aesthetics this history is not over all too often in today's world people of color and indigenous people are marginalized for taking part in their own cultural practices the same practices that when white people use them are valorized as a new discovery as worldly and sophisticated or as unusual and exotic for example black natural hairstyles are frequently banned from schools and workplaces as unprofessional distracting and even dangerous but bantu knots afros dreads and box braids have all been used recently in high fashion as quote-unquote trendy hairstyles for elite white people but don't worry we're not here to tell you that you should only eat hotdogs for the rest of your life it's a good thing to explore and enjoy foods from marginalized cultures you just have to be conscious of how you do it here are 4 tips for avoiding cultural appropriation and being a more anti-oppressive food lover number 1 don't exercise fetishize or other making a big deal of how weird a food is is just one way to make it clear that American and European foods are normal while other foods are not on the flip side bragging about how many exotic or unusual dishes you tried shows that you think quote-unquote ethnic foods are tourist attractions rather than serious cultural material it's ok to be honest that you are not used to or dislike a certain food or flavor but the attrex are unnecessary and patronizing number 2 don't expect non-white food to be cheap so called ethnic food is often expected to be cheap and chefs of color who ask for a higher price are characterized as charging too much for the kind of food they're making if you're willing to pay $20 for an entree at a French restaurant but won't go to a Thai restaurant unless entrees are under $10 you're reinforcing the idea that people of color and immigrants should do labour cheaply and be grateful for whatever scraps they get number 3 patronize businesses that are owned by people whose culture it is being sold one of the more insidious forms of cultural appropriation is when people sell a marginalised culture that is not their own they're able to profit while the people whose culture is being sold are maligned for eating and making the same things to avoid this go to restaurants that are owned by people who come from the ethnic or racial group whose culture is being sold number four act in solidarity with people of color and indigenous people if you love someone's food you should also care about their human learn more about the history of colonialism and racism educate yourself about food justice and racial justice and get involved donate to racial justice organizations and movements volunteer in a respectful and appropriate way with a community garden go to local racial justice organization means and call your representatives about policies that affect communities of color the takeaway is this food is really important to people it is intimately linked to race ethnicity culture identity and pride these issues are complicated and you might mess up but nobody's perfect what's important is understanding that food is a political issue and also making a commitment to decolonize our love of food the script and research for this video was done by the wonderful Claire Fiamma also if you liked the video consider showing your support by being the subscribe button or you can throw me a few bucks on patreon I'm super grateful and I will see you next time

28 thoughts on “How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation in Food

  1. Great video! Sad that many folks don't get the point… By the look of the comments, their hubris privilege is showing.

  2. Well , black people are culturally appropriating fried chicken which was invented by the Celts in the middle ages and before that the romans had a cookbook with fried chicken around 300 AD,
    so you're a racist Nazi if you're not white and you eat fried chicken

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fried_chicken

  3. Grest video! Real ally work and I appreciate you! Also… when it comes to the topic of cultural appropriation, people really need to also look at a frame work that already exists with the ways that various European cultures are depicted. France's culture is respected enough that no one will adopt french traditions or culture without respect for the french as a whole… when people think this is new… I always challenge that it isn't and it's been historical

  4. People are being dumb and retarded day by day. I guess this is how the world ends.
    WTF does the food have to do with cultural appropriation????

  5. I can not eat Pho where I live because there are no Vietnamese people working in the restaurant. What about pizza. What foods may I make in my own home?

  6. The overall lesson of this video is not to be an asshole towards other cultural groups. That doesn't prevent you from enjoying their food though. I am not perpetuating colonial ideals by enjoying a kick-ass bowl of bibimbap at a local restaurant. It would be different to eat that bowl of bibimbap and say "wow, Koreans have weird-ass names for their food," as that would be ignorant of the fact that any foreign language sounds foreign to those who don't speak it. Food is meant to be shared, and has the capacity to connect us across divides. It is the judgment that isn't wholesome, not the food.

  7. food, clothing, and even cultural amenities can be shared to an extent. being indigenous I've learned the extent we have with sharing our culture and how we change overtime, people have to remember when so much is taken it can be hard for us to share, when we have little left, historical trauma has a place into days world and affects all of us, the only way to get through this is with respect.

  8. This is a very shallow view of multiculturalism. You have some interesting videos but this feels lazy. I'm not saying you aren't eloquent or that your content isn't well composed. It is. You're a generally good content creator. I just think your premise is flawed here. Some of the notes on condescension ring true, but these kinds of prescriptions divorce us from nuance. People should be able to make their own mistakes, and learn from them. They should be able to interact and participate in different forms of dialogue. The premise of cultural appropriation makes some very big assumptions about a lot of different kinds of people and I find that the most condescending. It censors some very important parts of the conversation we should all be having.

  9. This could have been more in depth, but it was very thoughtful and is starting a conversation. Maybe you can find some people to interview who might have a more nuanced opinion, specifically people of color.

  10. yess! I am so in love with this. People really don’t understand the implications cultural appropriation has on people of colour😑

  11. I think that if a white us based company sells sushi in hundreds of stores across the country while having white managers and Japanese employees that are badly paied while the CEO's make the big bucks is pretty terrible.

  12. As I Spaniard I may say I wont feel offended if you try to make Paella(indeed, would like it) as long as you don't replicate the one that Jamie Oliver did 🤣

  13. So, for example, if a Chef really likes to make sushi, she/he went to Japan and learned to make it properly, you shouldn't go to her/his restaurant? it would be oppressive?

  14. As much as I enjoy your channel, you got this one completely wrong. I thoroughly disagree with the entire message of this video. This detracts from the message and impact of your channel which I've otherwise been really enjoying.

  15. Thank you so much for making this video!!!!!! The context is spot on and 100% relevant , and your points absolutely correct. I really love your videos in general. Your thoughtful approach in making this video about appropriation really shows that you understand a non Eurocentric view point and appreciate rather than appropriate. I had a conversation with an Elite British guy that apparently went to one of the most expensive restaurants in NYC. And he went to say that only Italian or French foods should be expensive. But, Indian, Chinese, or Mexican are best when they are cheap. It's that exact racist, colonial mindset. Thank you for clarifying the value of every cuisine.

  16. "non-white food"!!??? Is that the flip side to "non-black food"!? This is satire right!? Please tell me it's satire!!

  17. I feel like this “cultural appropriation” is mostly true in the United States and western countries. As an indian person who was born and raised in the US, I understand the cultural appropriation thing is a big deal given the history of this nation. But when I go to India, people there are happy and excited to see people of other cultures to wear their clothes, eat their food, and enjoy it. I understand it, but it gets blown out of proportion sometimes.

  18. Okay, this is a relatively old video by the time I'm watching this, but I feel like I have to comment.

    Food and culture are both deeply intertwined with one another, you can't really distinguish between them. And yes, as you said, culture is rich with history—and so is food. Colonisation may be the cause of there being so many non-white food categorised as "exotic," but at the same time, many white/European colonies came to Asian/African/Latin American countries and resided there, founding new recipes that only a mixture of European childhood and non-European surroundings can concoct. There are numerous food like that in Indonesia alone and, truthfully, it's hard to discern whether such food is actually Indonesian or, let's say, Dutch. Because these recipes tend to clearly not be stereotypically Asian (especially with a definitive Dutch name), but aren't to be found in the actual Netherlands itself. So where do foods like this come from? Which category do they fit into?

    In my opinion, people can like whatever food that they like. They can put twists to foreign food to be more suited to their tongue. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. McDonald's has done it for decades—or have you not realised that McDonald's across the globe all taste differently? Even an exported Indonesian instant noodles taste different in Indonesia, Germany and Australia—even though it's the exact same brand and product! So yeah, people can like whatever food from whichever country they like. I, for one, am always happy to find out my non-Indonesian friends like my traditional food all the way in the US or Germany or wherever. The only big no-no is to assume/proclaim they know more about a certain traditional dish than the people of its country of origin. At least not until they have indeed learnt from the experts from said country.

    Then again this is coming from an Indonesian girl who's been in love with Italian food all her life. Take it with a grain of salt.

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