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 Post subject: The problem with 'thug' cuisine (Thug Kitchen)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:25 am 
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Has it on Blue Vinyl
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Just read this really great article by Bryant Terry today. I had no idea the thug kitchen people were white (although in retrospect I suppose maybe it isn't surprising)

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/10/living/th ... index.html

Quote:
Whites masking in African-American street vernacular for their own amusement and profit isn't just the tired trope of cultural exploitation...*snip*

The worst offense here is the misrepresentation. As food historian Jessica Harris has noted, "the traditional [West and Central] African diet and African-American diet are essentially ... a majority vegetarian" one. Concepts like farm-to-table, eating seasonally and eating locally, while increasingly popular in the mainstream, were not news to a community who was enslaved and brought to America generations ago to help develop the agrarian South.

African-American cuisine may suffer from the stigma and stereotype of being based in fatty pork-based dishes and butter-heavy comfort foods, but in truth, that kind of meat-heavy, indulgent decadence was scarce for millions struggling under the oppression of segregation before the industrialization of our food system. When we peel away the negative stereotypes and reductive portrayals of African-American food, we see a diverse and complex culinary tradition with nutrient-rich foods like collards, mustards, turnips, butter beans, black-eyed peas, green beans, sugar snap peas and the like at the cuisine's core.

As of 2011, for 57% of African-Americans, the Southern United States is still home, and most of them come from families who have been close to the land for generations as sharecroppers and migrant agricultural workers. My grandparents, and those of many other Southerners, cultivated home gardens that yielded a number of the crops mentioned above. Many still do. First lady Michelle Obama's advocacy of home gardens isn't trendy for her and millions like her who descend from the South: it's traditional.

Whether or not the hipsters and health nuts charmed by Thug Kitchen realize this, vegetarian, vegan and plant-strong culture in the black experience predates pernicious thug stereotypes.

Said another way, the Thug Kitchen's central comic conceit doesn't jive with reality.

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 Post subject: Re: The problem with 'thug' cuisine (Thug Kitchen)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:49 pm 
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I edited the title to include the book name, just to make it a little more clear.

I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but their response of just ignoring the criticism is really shitty. I think the way people react to being called out for something means more than the original misgiving, we all make mistakes or say something offensive, but to just ignore it and plow through sucks and makes me think very little of someone. They don't care because they got their book deal, they got on the Rachael Ray show, ignore the haterzzzzz, blah blah blah.

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 Post subject: Re: The problem with 'thug' cuisine (Thug Kitchen)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:52 pm 
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Also, here is an article about their appearance on Rachael Ray where they dismiss the controversy:

http://watercoolerconvos.com/2014/10/10 ... word-thug/

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 Post subject: Re: The problem with 'thug' cuisine (Thug Kitchen)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:28 pm 
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I think Bryant Terry covers some really good points, especially when it seems to point out that what I felt was a non every day talk, very exaggerated. I also felt very uncomfortable with those criticizing Thug Kitchen because some of the comments themselves seemed very racist. It is a shame that the authors are dismissive of the comments. I get some of their Facebook updates but I haven't seen anything from them flat out talking about the issue which I do think is a missed opportunity. And on the other hand, I think things went so far for such a long time that it was hard for them to back down. I mean even though I'm surprised people assumed they were black (again back to some of the racist comments I've seen), they could've tempered it by saying 'look we aren't black, this isn't about being black but about good food'. Maybe they could've done a turn around.

For me, I really thought it was an opportunity to use the word 'thug' in a positive way. And the book is actually very, very toned down from the website and even the type of talk Bryant Terry quotes isn't seen in the book.

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