The Blog and the Bullet

An Aggregator On The Best Blogs Concerning Racial Issues, White Supremacy, and Other Radical Musings

The Exotifying Gaze

Posted by Jack Stephens on August 16, 2008

Johanna blogs:

I am really uncomfortable with how a lot of vegan cooking is described as “exotic” (to whom?). It assumes so much about the audience racially & culturally, & as well is loaded with really creepy connotations — the exotic is there to be conquered, mastered; it’s there purely to titillate your (white/Western/etc.) self (which also implies that white people have no culture — a convenient excuse used by people participating in cultural appropriation, but not actually true). It’s a “safe” way to imagine you’re experiencing other cultures without, you know, having to do that pesky thing known as actually engaging with the people whose cultures you’re attempting to eat via their food.

One Response to “The Exotifying Gaze”

  1. Jon said

    I pretty much agree. I’ve been getting this feeling about a lot of world travel, fascination with “exotic” cultures, and even charitable work. I will say that there is some truth to the idea that white people have no culture. In the fifties and sixties, a lot of our parents and grandparents moved to the suburbs and renounced ethnicity. I was told that my family had no past worth asking about and that we were just “typical, like people on TV.” It took some digging around, mostly in books, to learn something about my family and where we came from. I started to recognize little pieces of stories from my grandma and great aunt in books I was reading. Finally understood that those were the remnants of my lost heritage. I was able to put together a picture of where we came from and how we ended up where we ended up. It probably would have been easier to grab ahold of someone else’s culture and imagine that I was identifying with it at the same time that I was trampling on it.

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