Soul Food (or) The Myth of “Eating White”
Me and another brother who was one of my roommates at the time were making a list of food and household items to buy, and we came up with designing a menu for the couple of days that we could actually get together and cook something for the residents of the house.
I started jotting down items that I wanted to eat. Fresh fruit. Bagged salad. Fish. Mixed nuts. And the like.
Before I was finished, the other frat brother who didn’t live with us (but who came over quite frequently to eat, mind you)–objected to several of my list choices. Loudly.
“Man, y’all gonna be eating like white folks in here!”
Allow me to explain why this statement and similar statements upset me greatly.
First off, it implies that white people are the only ones that enjoy balanced diet, fruits and vegetables, and meals that would under normal circumstances be considered “healthy”.
Second, and perhaps more infuriating, it limits us as black people to a certain group of foods that are “for us” instead of opening our options up to try different and new things that we may not have access to under normal circumstances.
Think about it this way. How many grocery stores in African-American neighborhoods can you think of that sell fresh produce, meat and poultry?
Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Now, count how many liquor and convenience stores there are.
I’m sure that took longer.
My problem is this: we as a people suffer from lifestyle choices that we make from a lack of choices given to us, but when we are exposed to these choices and given an opportunity to do better or improve on our diet, we are shamed back into the same unhealthy routine.
‘Cause, you know, black folks don’t eat like that.
This entry was also inspired by the plight of a hip-hop artist from back in the day–courtesy of Davey D’s Hip-Hop Corner. For those who are old enough to remember Digital Underground, Saafir and his story should be heeded as a cautionary tale.
You can read about it here.
But whatever you do, think twice before you equate health with skin color.