Monday, January 04, 2010

Trade as oppression 

One of our faculty teaches a course called "The Global Politics of Food" (not from the Political Science Department, by the way, so be sure not to direct any comments their way.) I am directed by that site to read more on why food matters. Being a guy who likes to eat, I thought I didn't need 20 more reasons, but what the heck, I'll find out. Maybe they can help my diet.

Most delightful is #10.
We can engage in oppressing communities of color when we seek to eat the food as a way of experiencing their culture. To whites, the culture of people of color can represent the unknown and "consuming" the culture through eating food can be a way to dominate it.
I am obviously not smart enough to be a sociologist. I thought when I offered to pay $15 for that plate of tofu and spinach tonight at Hsu's, and afterwards I say thank you and the owner says thank you (the double thank-you that John Stossel discusses) I had honored that person by engaging in mutually beneficial trade. I wanted the food more than the $15, and Hsu wanted the $15 more than the ingredients, time and labor, and overhead that went into serving me. So when I saw the pictures of NBA stars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in the entryway, posing with the owner, they were just "oppressing communities of color."

I even waited 30 minutes for a table to get on with my oppressing. Man, when I want to oppress there is NO stopping me! So when I went to the Turkish restaurant last night, that was me getting even. You got me. In fact, I need to go now and get some more grape leaves. I have got a LOT of getting even to do.

OK, sorry if that is too sarcastic for some of you. But it does seem that if a person of pallor should ever engage in a trade with a person of color, and the paler person gains from it, some leftists have to find some way to show that that transaction is wrong. And I find that thinking simply primitive.