Beat Racism in Food
Difference in Supermarkets
Karen Washington (Won the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award and invited to the Obama White House) is a food justice activist who worked as a physical therapist and saw people of color suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and obesity (Brones). She noticed her white friends' neighborhoods had different supermarkets than her local supermarkets where the food was not as fresh in particular (Brones).
Indigenous, Blacks, and Hispanics in Poor Health
Factual research conducted by the U.S Department of Agriculture highlighted indigenous and black people living in poor and rural areas have limited access to full-service grocery stores which strongly suggests why the poor health of these two races are at higher rates when compared to whites (Feller). The Center for Disease Control reported from 2017 - 2020, obesity and diabetes were much more prevalent in Hispanics and blacks than whites (CDC). Most likely the limited access to fresh foods, lack of income compared to whites, and the overall awareness to the problem contributes to such a disparity in these numbers.
Government Food Prejudices Against Black Kids
In 1946 Congress passed the National School Lunch Act stopping the funding for school cafeteria equipment (FoodCorps). Black communities could not afford decent kitchens so when the first child nutrition act passed in 1963, schools would only receive the funding if they had adequate kitchens (FoodCorps). Needless to say, black families and their children's health suffered after this bill passed. Black schools utilized processed foods instead of the fresh foods the white schools were privileged to eat (Giancatarino and Noor). A study conducted in 2015, discovered black children were exposed to much more unhealthy advertising than white kids.
In 2016, 23 percent of blacks were food insecure compared to only 12 percent of U.S households overall (Kelley). With blacks making up the least amount of the population between Hispanics and whites, this is an alarming percentage difference. "These disparities come as a result of hundreds of years of intentional exclusion and oppression of people of color in the practice of social and political institutions" (Kelley). Food oppression is a very serious issue that is silently contributing to high costs within low-income communities and crumbles an already suppressed group through sickness, disease, depression, keeping their voices unheard, social status, and more (Freeman).
Plant-Based Diets Will Change Food Oppression in Black Communities
After just 5 weeks there was a 20% reduction for a 10-year risk of a heart attack in African Americans at risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) with a plant-based diet that also contributes to fighting diabetes, and cancer as well (Physicians Committe).
Hopefully governments will take notice and knock down all of the racist advertising and lack of quality food within minority communities, especially black ones, in order to produce a much more healthier minority community now and into the future.
Brones, Anna. “Food Apartheid: The Root of the Problem with America’s Groceries.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 2 Aug. 2018, www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/15/food-apartheid-food-deserts-racism-inequality-america-karen-washington-interview.
Kelley, Bridget. “Racism in the Food System.” DC Hunger Solutions, 12 June 2020, www.dchunger.org/updates/racism-in-the-food-system/.
Feller, Maya. “Why Racism in Nutrition Is Such a Big Problem — and What We Can Do about It.” LIVESTRONG.COM, 30 June 2020, www.livestrong.com/article/13727268-racism-in-nutrition/.
FoodCorps. “Racism in School Food — and What We Can Do about It.” FoodCorps, 28 June 2021, foodcorps.org/racism-in-school-food-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/.
Giancatarino, Anthony, and Simran Noor. “Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System | PolicyLink.” Www.policylink.org, 2014, www.policylink.org/resources/library/racial-equity-in-the-food-system. Accessed 9 Nov. 2022.
CDC. “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Oct. 2019, www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/state-local-programs/reach/index.htm.
Freeman, Andrea. The Unbearable Whiteness of Milk: Food Oppression and the USDA.
Physicians Committee. “Plant-Based Diet Benefits Black Health.” Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/healthy-communities/black-health.