Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters—the black protesters—spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government. Would these protesters—these black protesters with guns—be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.
Imagine that a black rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.
To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.
And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.
Apparently, Italy wants to ban “foreign” foods from its cities. Even though:
The San Marzano tomato, a staple ingredient of Italian pasta sauces, was a gift from Peru to the Kingdom of Naples in the 18th century. Even spaghetti, it is thought, was brought back from China by Marco Polo, and oranges and lemons came from the Arab world.
While race, culture, nationalism and immigration are certainly complex and hard to quantify and legislate. The only thing, perhaps more complex and even harder to quantify is cuisine! Italian food, as we know it today, has more imported products in it that without them it would resemble perhaps more Greek food than any other.
I mean, no tomato sauce, no pasta, no peppers?! What are you left with? Bread, cheese and olives. That’s it.
But more importantly, this is obviously an affront to immigrants in Italy and the growing European back-lash against non-European immigration. Of course, they deny this, but if you hate a culture’s food to the point of banning it, how much of a logical leap does one have to make to hate the people who produce that culture and food?
Massimo Di Grazia, the city spokesman, said that the ban was intended to improve the image of the city and to protect Tuscan products. “It targets McDonald’s as much as kebab restaurants,” he added.
There is confusion, however, over what is meant by ethnic. Mr Di Grazia said that French restaurants would be allowed. He was unsure, though, about Sicilian cuisine. It is influenced by Arab cooking.
Also, kebabs are good.