By: Drew MacEachern
Jim Crow. Slavery. Segregation. Interracial marriage.
One by one, remnants of an older order of overt racism have passed away. Today, it appears that we are facing down the last barrier to true equality. That’s right: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
While it might sound crazy, this is indeed the claim of one Portland, Oregon school principal. Recently, various schools in the Portland area have been taking part in the “Courageous Conversations” program as put on by the Pacific Educational Group, an organization dedicated to addressing educational disparities suffered by students of racial minorities. The controversial peanut butter jelly claim came about from comments made by the principal of the Harvey Scott K-8 School, Verenice Gutierrez, when she used the sandwich as an example of subtle language based racism.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” questioned Gutierrez.
“Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”
First off, let’s try to ignore the subtle stereotyping that all Hispanics must eat pita and torta. Secondly, let’s try to ignore the fact that this statement implies that all American, and by extension Canadian and British cuisine and cultural icons are by their very nature racist.
Let’s ignore the fact that if I moved to Senegal, Bangladesh, Japan, or even Germany and complained that offering their local cuisines was a subtle racist gesture, I would rightly be labeled either a crank or maybe slightly racist myself.
Alternatively, let’s just point out that things like this make a mockery of actual forms of racism and divert our attention from actual problems in the world. It’s high time that people stopped abiding by some irrational form of political correctness where absolute non-sense is thrown to the public in an attempt to convince oneself and others that they are further around the enlightenment curve.
If the world’s injustices were food, I’d say it’s time we stopped paying attention to the PB&J and started looking at the steak.