An Example of Ingrained Social Racism I Just Realized

I've noticed a subtle example of ingrained socialized racism while watching this past Sunday's episode of Jon Taffer's "Bar Rescue".

While I was cooking dinner, listening to the show in the background, I heard the narrator begin to introduce the chef Jon was bringing in to help the failing bar of the week. The moment the narrator described the chef's style of cooking as "soulful" I knew without even having to look at the screen the chef was black. Why?

Because on Bar Rescue whenever Jon brings in a chef who happens to be black, the narrator describes their cooking as soulful, as in "soul food". When the chef is white, the buzzword of choice is "elevated". Latino chefs always have food with a "zesty kick". And never ever does the narrator mix it up.

This to me shows a very mild and subtle example of ingrained racism. Assuming the Narrator is simply reading copy in front of him in the recording booth, whomever writes that copy writes it with some preconceived racist notions so subtle I doubt they even notice they're doing it. Certain descriptors that have over time somehow become tied to different races.

Is it necessarily inaccurate that soul food is most often cooked by black cooks, or that Latino cooking is traditionally more spicy? No. Those are the sorts of stereotypes that exist because they are often actually accurate. Where it truly slips into racism though, however unintended it may be, is that the only ethnicity that ever has their cooking described as "elevated" are the white chefs. THAT'S where the subconscious stench of culturally ingrained racism begins to seep in.

Because this kind of racism is so ingrained, so sewn in to the social consciousness, that it just seems perfectly normal to describe the white chefs as cooking the "elevated" dishes, and almost no one ever even notices. We all just kind of shrug it off. It rarely registers with most people, regardless of their race, that what they're hearing is kinda broken and problematic, because we've all been subtly conditioned to see this kind of thing as simply normal. And it's damned hard to unsee it. I've been watching Bar Rescue for all 6 seasons, and only JUST realized this.

And that's why racism ends up being so difficult to fight, to beat, to eradicate.

Anyone can see the problem when a neo-nazi shouts "ni**er" on a street corner. Those are the big blunt examples. We all know that's wrong. But we can't succeed in fighting the big loud examples if we can't get ourselves to see the subtle tiny ones. Because it's the subtle tiny ones we all just blindly accept that give the bigger ones the room to keep festering until they thrive.