Race baiting Fast Company: Eating healthy, organic food = white supremacy

Feb 18, 2021

The news that Jake Angeli (also known as the QAnon Shaman, whose real name is Jake Chansley) would be fed organic food in jail after being arrested for his involvement in the attack on the Capitol was widely called out as an example of white privilege. After refusing to eat while in custody, a court granted Angeli’s request, though inmates across the prison system have long complained of inadequate food, and Muslim detainees at immigration centers were fed pork—in direct conflict with their religious beliefs.

But Angeli’s request for organic food is not just an example of the way our justice system treats people differently. It’s also a window into a strange confluence of subcultures. While most people associate organic food and farmers markets with progressive politics and cosmopolitan values, they’re also a draw for certain elements of neo-fascist culture.

Part of this connection between organic food and white supremacy dates back to Nazi Germany, where there was a strong ethos about the importance of nature, healthy eating, and natural foods. For modern white supremacists “purity is central,” says Pete Simi, an associate professor of sociology at Chapman University who has spent about 25 years studying right wing extremism and political violence. “Purity is very much the way in which they organize the world, in terms of pure and impure.” That dichotomy is used to describe race. It’s used to describe environments—which is why Trump’s comment about “shithole countries” was so dangerous, Simi adds, “because he was dehumanizing people and acquainting them with impurity.” And it’s used to describe food.

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