Washington Post food writer sparks backlash by saying: “Calling foreign food ‘exotic’ Reinforces Xenophobia & Racism.”

Washington Post food reporter G. Daniela Galarza (pictured) sparked backlash she wrote an article asserting that foreign food should no longer be called ‘exotic’ because it reinforces xenophobia and racism

A food writer from the Washington Post sparked outrage after saying that foreign food should no longer be called ‘exotic’ because it reinforces xenophobia and racism.

In a Wednesday perspective piece for the paper, G. Daniela Galarza complained about recent responses she received to a story, with critics mentioning the recipe she described as being ‘exotic’.

‘Reading the word hit me like a slap, and initially, I wasn’t even sure why,’ Galarza

‘Did they think the dish sounded odd or disgusting? Or were these ingredients simply hard for them to find?’

‘I had a few productive exchanges with these readers on the subject so I could better troubleshoot their issues. My conclusion? 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.’

Her commentary was met with swift criticism from Twitter users who accused her of provoking a ‘woke war’ over something as trivial as an unassuming adjective. 

 

 

Galarza said she also spoke to professors, one who disagreed with the use of ‘exotic food’ because it ‘is tied to the history of colonialism and slavery.’

‘So, what word to use instead? It’s not so much about replacing “exotic” with another word, though “rare” or “difficult to find” might be more accurate descriptions for food in some cases. It’s about reframing your worldview,’ Galarza continued.

‘Ultimately, there are just two kinds of food: food you’re familiar with, and food you’re not. If any particular food fits into the latter category, for you, rather than expressing disgust or disdain, ask yourself: Why am I not familiar with it, and don’t I want to change that?’
The backlash to Galarza’s article came quickly, with some social media users labeling her article as ‘saddening’ and ‘stupid’.
‘This article’s argument is saddening in how it scolds people as racists/imperialists for the simple acts of contemplating foods unusual to them,’ tweeted Zhan Li.
‘You can’t fix this level of stupid,’ wrote Pradheep J. Shanker.
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