Food for discussion…
*Wonder why it’s mostly Asians? The net effect is to roll out not white ‘authorities’ with mainly WW-friendly pov…
*Wonder if the absence of Latino chefs here is about an united opposition, PDX-so-white (like this Z. guy), having resources to open restaurants or carts, or fear of interweb backlash?
*Where is the WW conversation among the activists/poc who object? Is the WW now the PDX WSJ to the Mercury’s NYT, shifted into the libsterscape of the city?
Is food commerce necessarily different than other forms of cultural appropriation? Aren’t non-white ‘appropriators’ different because of experience or hierarchies in a place like PDX? Is food fusion necessarily bad or appropriative (in Hawaii, for example, what’s local is much mixed, but authenticity wanes with mainlandness/being haole)?
*With historical colonialisms and trade and diaspora and migration, it is true that food is tradition mixed, renewed, borrowed, AND stolen. That is true of the Mexican taco, if I understand correctly– the taco is a refiguring and masa-based embrace of the flatbreads/pitas brought from the Middle East by locals with lical ingredients (Is that right, food historians? Arab friends, Taco Bell owes y’all mucho $$$!)
*Yet the question of authenticity and appropriation always arises in context– the whitest city in the nation in an age if ascendent white supremacy and anti-Mexican sentiment– and I shuddered in this piece to hear that now we will play the game of gender excusing race.
*The context also matters: a white liberal city having a local debate among other liberals about white foodtrepreneurs getting press from a liberal-ish alternative free weekly paper without covering their narrative carefully, or securing ‘authenticity’ with a partner with an ethnic-sounding last name (as the article describes). Clearly, appropriation is happening, the “micro-aggression” that is indicative of a bigger problem. But what I would say is that even though I DO see the problem, the context that this debate existed in is clarified and amplified by the Maxx murders– racism, xenophobia, and hatred; whiteness and the ideologies it nurses; the inability of our discourse to connect the large and small in appropriate scale, so that we threaten daft, small-time, thoroughly average thieves of culture in Twittering throngs, while behind us is a man with a knife threatening a black girl in hijab– not that, even if we noticed, we’d have the courage to do anything at all.

(posted from Facebook)


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