While Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos appear to engage in some sort of space race, here on Earth some strive to see who is the most woke among them. This time around, El American’s Idiot of the Week award goes to Washington Post (owned by Bezos, by the way) food writer G. Daniela Galarza, who has drawn several heads of difference in her race to try to come up with the biggest woke blunder.
According to Galarza, those who use the word “exotic” when describing food are — wait for it — racist and xenophobic. Yes! Racist.
According to her woke article, it all started when in one of the ramen recipes she shared in her newsletter, some readers complained that it was “exotic foreign food” or that its “exotic ingredients” were hard to come by.
As we all know, if some of your readers don’t consider your ramen recipe a most appetizing culinary wonder, and worth moving heaven and earth to get its ingredients for, it’s probably because they’re racists. Period.
Notice that they didn’t even tell him to shove his Japanese noodle recipe up the Japanese flag’s stitch, but rather let him know that they consider it somewhat exotic, and with ingredients that are hard to come by. Undoubtedly, these readers must be racist and a product of their closed minds of privileged white ethnocentrists who only value hamburgers and pizzas.
If you have to write a very long article full of bibliographical references to prove it, then write it. G. Daniela Galarza spices the op-ed for The Washington Post with quotes from university professors, as well as references to scholarly books and essays that analyze food from historical, linguistic and sociological points of view.
Of course, coming from university intellectuals, their conclusion could not be other than that the term “exotic” is xenophobic and racist, since it is linked to colonialism and slavery.
The article couldn’t miss the Marxist idea of turning this into a socioeconomic and class problem, and it is said that “by exoticizing a food even though it’s actually accessible, you’re assigning it a value that’s lower than the status quo.”
I don’t know what world they live in, but generally, if a product or dish is said to be exotic, far from having an inferior value, you have to go preparing your wallet.
G. Daniela Galarza and The Washington Post strive to be painfully woke
In the end, according to the author, “what’s ‘exotic’ to you isn’t ‘exotic’ to my neighbor, might not be ‘exotic’ to my mom, probably wouldn’t be ‘exotic’ to my best friend.” What a discovery! This brain is surely being wasted writing for a simple culinary section.
By definition, something exotic is something that comes from a distant country or culture, and very different from what is taken as a reference, which is usually the country or culture itself. The funny thing is that exotic is not traditionally used in a derogatory sense, but on the contrary, in a complimentary sense.
If a friend wants you to try battered cockroaches or pickled monkey brains, he will tell you that he found it to be a very exotic food. If he found it a nauseating experience, “exotic” is not exactly the word he will use, unless he is very sarcastic (or a bad friend).
Even when someone talks about a meal he has not tried and says that he considers it exotic, there is an implicit intention to want to eat it and that, even if it is strange, he is attracted to it. It also happens when it is used to describe an exotic beauty. And we suppose it also applies to exotic dancers.
By the way, it is strange that in the article the author limits herself to food and does not refer to the use of the word for exotic dancers. Presumably, she is unaware of the use of the term for strippers, because if she did it would not be understood that she had not added to racism, xenophobia, colonialism, slavery and classism also machismo, misogyny and heteropatriarchal toxic masculinity.
Without that detail it’s not woke enough, keep trying.