Black Lives Matter, Food Racism and Indigenous History Month

Jun 29, 2020Reflections

I’ve had so many thoughts lately about the Black Lives Matter movement, racism and Indigenous rights. I recently made a video on YouTube about Sasha Exeter and Jessica Mulroney, Jagmeet Singh calling out an MP in the House of Commons for racism, and also discussed my own experience with food racism. I’ve had other experiences of racism, but this one is probably the most relevant to what I do now today in my career. Some people are probably wondering… 

 

Politician Jagmeet Singh (leader of the New Democratic Party) was thrown out of the House of Commons for calling an MP racist.

What does racism have to do with food and nutrition?

The reality is, the nutrition world and field of study is very much dominated by white, Eurocentric voices. There is emerging research in the area of diversity in Canadian dietetics as well. It’s not uncommon that cultural foods tend to be either seen as “not healthy” – a great example of this is white rice being vilified by white dietitians and nutrition professionals as an unhealthy carb. Another thing, racialized identities (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour – BIPOC) are often told to conform and eat a more “western” way, ie. adopting the plate model to become healthy, not the most inclusive or culturally competent advice as many cultures do not use dinner plates and forks and knives for eating. But first, we need to talk about racism as a whole (ie. what’s going on in the world right now) to understand food racism.

I also am aware of my own privileges: A light-skinned, East Asian (Chinese), Canadian-born (my parents are immigrants), educated, cis-gender woman. Asians, we experience racism too, but my experience is different from those who live in black, brown and indigenous bodies. I discuss this in my video!

 

2020 definitely has been a strange year, but I also think it’s a year of transition and change for hopefully the better.

 

WATCH my video below: 

 

Resources

Further Reading:

In my video, I mention Robin D’AngeloWhite Fragility but pediatrician and racial health equity advocate Dr. Rhea Boyd recommends these books:

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of LibertyDorothy Roberts

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American LifeBarbara and Karen Fields

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the PresentHarriet A. Washington

The Warmth of Other Suns Isabel Wilkerson

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in AmericaMelissa Harris-Perry

The Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in SchoolsMonique W. Morris

And another one:

So You Want to Talk About RaceIjeoma Oluo

Another fantastic essay is White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by feminist and anti-racist scholar Peggy McIntosh. Her works is wildly shared in feminist, anti-racist and education circles, but it’s worth a read for everyone, IMO!

White Supremacy CultureTema Okun 

 

Earlier this June, Sasha Exeter called out Jessica Mulroney on her white privilege. 

Movies and TV Shows

 

BlacKkKlansman (2018) – Film, directed by Spike Lee. A dark comedy, and not the most historically accurate, but I find it does a good job of telling the story of Ron Stallworth, the first black officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department who infiltrated the KKK.

 

13th (2016) – Documentary, directed by Ava DuVernay.

 

Little Fires Everywhere (2020) – TV miniseries, based on the novel by Celeste Ng.

 

Little America (2020) – Heartwarming stories of successful immigrants in America. All are based on real people.

 

Art

We are Here – Exhibition, Peel Art Museum and Archives (PAMA) – permanent collection. Tells the stories of Indigenous people (Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Inuit and Métis).

 

Caring Across Boundaries – A photo exhibition (available online). It engages First Nations and all peoples of Canada in reconciliation to promote the wellbeing of First Nations children and youth.

 

*Come back and visit this blog post, as I will keep updating these lists as I watch and read MORE*

 

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Did you learn something new from my blog and video? Leave me a comment below. Or send me an email here.

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Meet Michelle

Welcome, I'm Michelle! I'm a TV and digital media registered dietitian and Asian cuisine content creator based out of Hamilton, ON Canada!

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