Afroculinaria

COTTON IS NOT INHERENTLY RACIST. 

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I’m not even linking to the story because it’s that stupid. I can’t be bothered.

Hobby Lobby, which I would never patronize because of their stance on birth control, etc. sells decorative cotton. Once upon a time, so did I. Big deal. It’s not racist to sell cotton. Don’t make me clap it out. And the Nashville situation, nope, miss me with the outrage.

It’s a plant with a tortured history but it’s still beautiful dried and has been used for generations to decorate in the South during and after the autumn harvest.

When I grew and sold cotton it was exclusively bought by African Americans. I never once heard anyone chastise me for selling a racist product. Why? Because it’s one person’s uninformed opinion is getting racial flashpoint attention while the orchestrated plan to take away our voting rights, health care, civil liberties and freedom of speech are on the verge of success, but some y’all wanna gripe about decorative cotton.

We were growing and picking and spinning and weaving cotton long before our Ancestors ever heard of a white man. It’s a plant with African, American and Asian origins. I write about picking it in my book, The Cooking Gene, where I talk about our unique relationship to this plant and what it meant to our people’s history and cultural experience. Many people have no relationship to the material culture of our collective past. This harms us far more than some dead cellulose on a branch.

Symbolics over substance. Done. It’s over. Systemic racism is a lot harder to deal with but symbolic racism feels good when we beat it back. But the heads grow back like a hydra. It’s useless. And some of it isn’t racism, just perception. 

Statues falling while systems remain is not enough.

Racism is an evolving, invisible pathology, an immortal disease, symbolics come and go.

Sessions, Kobuch, Miller, Bannon and the like are far more dangerous than a dead branch with lint on it. 

That sugar on every table in virtually every restaurant in America has killed more Black people than cotton. From being the crop that sparked the slave trade to killing many of its workers within 7 years to diabetes today, sugar is racist AF compared to cotton. Sugar represents five centuries of inequality, but sugar and grits, right?

I don’t ever want to have to write anything that remotely sounds like I support Hobby Lobby in any matter ever again. And by the way, until you’ve done this for 16 hours…

Keep your opinions to yourself.

By the way there are Black companies trying to keep Black farmers on ancestral land like http://www.blackcotton.us/ so check them out. Buy some cotton decorations from them. 

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