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Academic: That pumpkin spice latte is racist

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 14:55
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If you’re one of those people who wait all year for the fall flavor of a pumpkin spice latte, you’re bubbling over with white privilege.

That’s according to a paper actually published in a peer-reviewed journal titled “The Perilous Whiteness of Pumpkins.”

Here’s the abstract from the paper:

This article examines the symbolic whiteness associated with pumpkins in the contemporary United States. Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, a widely circulated essay in McSweeney’s on “Decorative Gourd Season,” pumpkins in aspirational lifestyle magazines, and the reality television show Punkin Chunkin provide entry points into whiteness–pumpkin connections. Such analysis illuminates how class, gender, place, and especially race are employed in popular media and marketing of food and flavor; it suggests complicated interplay among food, leisure, labor, nostalgia, and race. Pumpkins in popular culture also reveal contemporary racial and class coding of rural versus urban places. Accumulation of critical, relational, and contextual analyses, including things seemingly as innocuous as pumpkins, points the way to a food studies of humanities and geography. When considered vis-à-vis violence and activism that incorporated pumpkins, these analyses point toward the perils of equating pumpkins and whiteness.

Here’s a snippet from within:

Whiteness associated with pumpkins marks who resides where on the spectrum of U.S. social power. . . When Ferguson activists wrote RACISM and WHITE PRIVILEGE on pumpkins, they destabilized the whiteness of pumpkins and the comfort and normalization accompanying it. Bringing pumpkins into the demonstration, and then smashing them on the ground to show outrage at injustice (as opposed to the “holiday mischief” generally ascribed to pumpkin smashing), activists brought pumpkins into a space where racial inequality and instability could not be ignored or glossed over. Their actions made the white privilege encoded in pumpkins explicit and challenged its future.

So what are we to conclude?

According to the author: “PSLs [pumpkin spice lattes] are one step further from actual pumpkins. Their fluffiness, lack of substance, and triviality, regardless of attempts to dismiss them as ‘basic,’ make them ultimate luxuries and hence markers of distinction and white privilege.”

Oh, and coffee shops are sexist because they were once “deeply masculine spaces” where white guys talked politics.

Let’s hope this is just some artful trolling… Sadly, it probably isn’t.

The post Academic: That pumpkin spice latte is racist appeared first on Personal Liberty®.


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