The Stress of Eating Chicken, Watermelon + Bananas

Chicken, Watermelon, and Bananas (installation excerpt) from Question Bridge on Vimeo.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here before. Because of the horrible stereotype, I didn't buy watermelon for a very long time. But then I realized that I was depriving myself of a very healthy fruit that I liked. So one day I got brave and went to the store planning to buy one. It felt like an emotional milestone. I didn't care who saw me buy one. Guess what happened?

I wish I could say nothing. A white woman came up to me and asked me questions about buying watermelon. Really. *sigh*

Anyway, I was hardly the expert, so I told her that I really couldn't answer her questions. I wonder if she thought I was lying.

Based on this For Harriet blog post and the video above, I'm not the only black person feeling stressed out by eating certain foods because of stereotypes about us. I've felt the same thing while eating bananas and fried chicken. Wondering who was watching and what were they thinking. It's really a shame....

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Can-Can said…
Wow. Really? Every culture has food it likes that is central to its identity and traditional. Mahy of us, because of global food distribution and multiculturalism also like the foods of others. I can't imagine worrying about this especially in the 2000s. I like watermelon and fried chicken and bananas and lobster and paella and hummus. I am making "soulful southern food" healthier than what I grew up with except for the major holidays when I want candied yams and not baked ones. I'm surprised.
I'll check out the video.
El said…
I had never seen the horrible stereotype posters until reading this post. I'm hoping that's an older generation thing (meaning that it's disappearing from the culture over time). And, I hope you eat what you want!
Lisa Johnson said…
can-can - The watermelon incident was years ago and I do eat all these things, but those thoughts do cross my mind....

el - Well, there are many things that are an older generation thing like people dressing up in blackface, but sadly we still hear stories about it way too often. I do eat what I want, but as I do, I'm sometimes very "aware" of it.

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