“I think everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes
Doesn’t mean we go around committing hate crimes
Look around and you will find
No one’s really color blindMaybe it’s a fact we all should face
Everyone makes judgments based on race”
The Broadway show Avenue Q said it best, “Everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes…” Now I am not talking about racism in the traditional sense. I, in no way, shape or form, hate or even dislike someone based upon the color of their skin or country of origin. That is not the racism I am referring to. That type of racism is centered on hatred. The type of racism I am talking about, and am guilty of, is base on authenticity. In a way, it is based on taking pride in cultures and celebrating them.
Lately, as we all do, I have been binging shows. Most of the shows I binge are cook or food and culture related. I love being in the kitchen and I love learning about food and the culture behind that food. I have been binging a lot of Parts Unknown on Netflix as well as watching the YouTube videos from a gentleman named Trevor James, who goes by the title of The Food Ranger. In his videos he travels, mainly South-East Asia and a lot in China, eating the local street foods and local delicacies. Both of these, in their own way, have celebrated the culture behind foods but have also been the catalyst for my racism.
So, what am I talking about?
Here is what I am talking about; If I were to walk into a Sushi restaurant or Ramen joint and only see white Millenials eating there, and no Asians working the line, I am turning around and walking out. A taqueria where the primary language of the staff is NOT Spanish is not worth my time. Carribean food being served by a white guy who has never lived in the Carribean or has ties there will not get a dime from me. In a lot of ways, I personally do not see this as bad. However, I am not saying that people are not allowed to cook food from another culture. On the contrary, I want everyone to cook outside of their culture but do not try to sell it as authentic because it is not.
Sure, most, if not all food, comes from a recipe and a recipe can be followed by anyone and yea its basic components would essentially be authentic. There is, however, going to be something missing. As you eat the food, it will be good but you will know something is missing. You won’t be able to pinpoint it because no one knows what it is. Sometimes, it is a technique. Sometimes it is an extra pinch of this or a little less of that. The little tweaks to the recipe that only someone who grew up with the food, grew up in the culture, would know.
In a world of racism centered on hate, I am the opposite. My racism celebrates and embraces our differences. I think the world needs more of that…