Virtual Event: Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson
Eating While Black:
Food Shaming and Race in America
in conversation with JOANNE HYPPOLITE
August 18, 2022
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes DR. PSYCHE WILLIAMS-FORSON—Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland College Park—for a discussion of her new book Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America. She will be joined in conversation by JOANNE HYPPOLITE—Supervisory Museum Curator of the African Diaspora at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by ordering a copy of Eating While Black on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About Eating While Black
Psyche A. Williams-Forson is one of our leading thinkers about food in America. In Eating While Black, she offers her knowledge and experience to illuminate how anti-Black racism operates in the practice and culture of eating. She shows how mass media, nutrition science, economics, and public policy drive entrenched opinions among both Black and non-Black Americans about what is healthful and right to eat. Distorted views of how and what Black people eat are pervasive, bolstering the belief that they must be corrected and regulated. What is at stake is nothing less than whether Americans can learn to embrace nonracist understandings and practices in relation to food.
Sustainable culture—what keeps a community alive and thriving—is essential to Black peoples' fight for access and equity, and food is central to this fight. Starkly exposing the rampant shaming and policing around how Black people eat, Williams-Forson contemplates food's role in cultural transmission, belonging, homemaking, and survival. Black people's relationships to food have historically been connected to extreme forms of control and scarcity—as well as to stunning creativity and ingenuity. In advancing dialogue about eating and race, this book urges us to think and talk about food in new ways in order to improve American society on both personal and structural levels.
Praise for Eating While Black
Unpacking the ugly history of racist stereotypes, exclusionary agricultural policies, and the cultural assumption that Black people's lives need monitoring, this is a book that celebrates the diversity of Black American food culture across the United States . . . Eating While Black is a thoughtful text with insights into how much unwelcome extra tension and "heaviness" lands on Black Americans' plates." —Foreword Reviews
From cooking lessons that urge "healthier" ways to prepare a pot of collard greens to policies that suggest Black people have the worst health records because of what they eat, in her latest examination of food and culture, Williams-Forson says such food shaming is anti-Black racism. Denigrating Blacks for enjoying foods that represent their cultural and spiritual roots deprives Black Americans their identity. Combining personal experience with insights from popular culture, Williams-Forson describes how even in their consumption of food, Black people are often perceived as transgressing, misbehaving, and in need of "gastronomic" surveillance." —Civil Eats
Everybody eats, so what's political about eating? After reading Eating While Black, the answer is clear: everything." —LIBER: A Feminist Review
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