Your Guide To Diverse Food Writers

plated dessertsOften I don’t plan on writing serious blog posts. But then after certain events take place, combined with reading a series of articles, comments and other blog posts,  I can’t help but respond.

Listening to the #blacklivesmatter discussions over the past few months, it made me think that white men with black partners need to organize.

They are part of the power structure based on their race and gender, but have a unique perspective based on love. As part of the same group, it might be easier for them to talk to other white men, white women and others who may mistakenly believe that we are living in a post-racial America.

This past weekend, I read an article on LinkedIn about how PwC is specifically focusing a diversity initiative on white men. One of the goals, according to the article, is getting white men to acknowledge that they have a race and gender. While I don’t know how well the program actually works, it seems like a good start.

Yesterday, I read a blog post by Tim of Lottie + Doof discussing the need for more diverse voices in food writing. See an excerpt below.

Food media mostly exists as a circle of white, liberal arts grads with enough financial security to have interned for free during college, live in Brooklyn, and eat out every night. Everyone is friends, it’s how you get jobs. …

The results of this culture are far more serious than just the armies of whiteness staring back at us from mastheads. It is creating an insular, homogenous, and out-of-touch world that does not reflect our actual world and excludes many people. …

Diversity (in all its forms) should be embraced because diversity is what makes the world interesting. … The world of food is so much more interesting than any mainstream media (and most independent media) would have us believe. The view is so narrow. I’m happy to hear what a bunch of 20-something white women are cooking, but where is everyone else?

Tim’s post brought up many different issues. Not just race, but class, education and age as well. While the question “where is everyone else” may be rhetorical, I gave a real answer in the comments.

Just in case anyone is looking for food writers of color, the Kwanzaa Culinarians website is a great resource. It’s not just about Kwanzaa. The site is a way for those of us who are of African descent to find each other, gather together in a single space and write about what we love — food. There are wonderful food stories and links to our personal blogs and websites.

After leaving my comment, I still hadn’t planned to write this blog post, but then I read another comment. Part of it is below.

Definitely a fuzzy line on diversity, because those who can afford nice cameras and the time to cook and blog are (probably) not low-income single parents of color and we as readers probably should take more responsibility in demanding different and diverse content.

I was reminded of the TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie, “The danger of a single story.” In the talk, she says, Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again and that is what they become.”

When the writer of the comment and maybe many others think of diversity, is that what they think of? A low-income single parent of color?

The danger of a single story. Diversity = a low-income single parent of color.

Yes, there are low-income single parents of color. However, not all people of color are low income or single parents.

There can be diversity in food writing with people of color who may or may not be part of this single story. We are African-American. We are Latina. We are Caribbean. We are educated. We are middle class. We are amazing writers. We are many things. We are not a single story.

10 thoughts on “Your Guide To Diverse Food Writers”

  1. Hi Lisa- Thanks for this, and for commenting on the original post, I really appreciate it. And I really like your connecting things to that Adichie TED talk (I think about that talk a lot). YES to all of the many stories!

  2. I hadn’t seen that follow up comment but, yeah, it has me shaking my head. I’ve seen comments like that before — it’s emblematic of this exact issue! It really makes me feel invisible sometimes.

    • Kathy – Thank you for the support! The comment pushed me over the edge, so I had to write this post. I hope the writer reads this post and thinks about it.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post as an extension of the conversation Tim started. I get so frustrated when people equal race with socioeconomic status.

  4. Thanks for this post. What’s interesting about this is how many white foodies will borrow from cuisines from countries & communities of color in their recipes. Sigh. On so many fronts, we have to lift our voices high. Yours is an important voice & blog.

    • Candelaria – You’re welcome! Glad it resonated with you. It is quite interesting. I always say that sometimes I really don’t intend to write a post, but then I feel that I can’t NOT write what I’m feeling. Just in case others feel the same way or maybe it will make someone see a different point of view.

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