A Google spreadsheet being circulated by some unknown authors, titled “(Alternatives To) White-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portland” contains a list of 61 restaurants allegedly owned by white people and serving “appropriative” ethnic cuisine.
Whoever constructed the spreadsheet disclaimed what it isn’t: “This is NOT about cooking at home or historical influences on cuisines; it’s about profit, ownership, and wealth in a white supremacist culture.” It’s about white people, who, apparently, by the logic of the spreadsheet’s creators, should only eat PB&J on Wonder bread.
Note that the backgrounds of the people of color who own the listed restaurants do not necessarily match the cuisine they serve. We could have limited the list to only people selling their own cuisine, but we made the decision not to in order to make a point. If this seems like hypocrisy from the standards set for white-owned restaurants, you haven’t understood why white appropriation is a problem.
It seems like hypocrisy because it is hypocrisy.
Let’s get some things straight. Portland is a white city. It’s 72.2 percent white, 6.1 percent black, 9.4 percent Latino, and 7.1 percent Asian. That leaves 5.2 percent, which is a mix of Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, and other races. The list produced by these bigots would restrict whites to serving only other whites pizza, pasta, Irish food, and bagels (and PB&J).
While individual persons of color may well discriminate against a white person or another person of color because of their race, this does not qualify as racism according to our definition because that person of color cannot depend upon all the institutions of society to enforce or extend his or her personal dislike. Nor can he or she call upon the force of history to reflect and enforce that prejudice. . . . History provides us with a long record of white people holding and using power and privilege over people of color to subordinate them, not the reverse.”
Back to this ridiculous, and probably incorrect, list of “appropriative businesses.” Let’s say a black-owned restaurant serving Mexican fare took money from a white patron. Is that not appropriating white people’s money by selling tasty Latino cuisine? Is that not depriving the Latino community of the opportunity to take white people’s money? Is that not racial appropriation?
It’s only appropriation if white people do it, is the answer. Because Oregon had terrible laws to keep black people out of the state, didn’t officially ratify the 14th Amendment until 1973, and didn’t officially recognize the 15th Amendment, granting the vote to black people, until 1959.
You’d think Oregon was Alabama. Yet Alabama doesn’t get its panties in a bunch about white people serving sushi.
Here’s an idea. Why not judge restaurants by the quality of the food, not the skin color of the owner? These neo-Stalinists would love to force everyone to eat garbage versus letting them choose where they eat. If, for instance, Fujiyama Sushi Bar is better than Miyamoto’s, then people can eat at Fujiyama, which presumably is owned by a “POC” (Person Of Color, in this case, yellow?).
But what if the owner of Fujiyama Sushi Bar wants to sell his restaurant to his Irish, redheaded neighbor who is willing to employ the authentic Tokyo-trained Itamae working there? Suddenly, the employees would find hateful Portlanders avoiding great sushi because the owner’s skin color is too pale.
Honestly, the people who come up with spreadsheets like this are bat-guano crazy.
They’ve lost their minds and filled their cerebral cavities with
racist (oh, sorry, only whites can be racist) bigoted hate. They are enemies of freedom and equality, and would rather put white people on reservations while the rest of the world freely associates…until some other skin color tweaks their narrow sensibilities.
Earlier this year a Business Insider article brought to light a four-year-old quote by Jiro Ono’s son in a Wall Street Journal feature. When asked why there were neither female chefs nor apprentices at the famed restaurant, he matter-of-factly responded that it is “because women menstruate. To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food, but because of the menstrual cycle, women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs.”
Take that, misogynist-loving, white supremacist Portland, and stuff it in your Google sheet, and may you starve looking for a decent meal out.