Thursday, November 3, 2016

Neiman Marcus' $66 Collard Greens: Cultural Appropriation Or Good Business?

"Cultural Appropriation" is one of those rare phrases used exclusively in academic circles that has somehow seeped into mainstream black vernacular over the past few years. With the rise of "wokeness", buzzwords like "trigger", "implicit bias", etc. are now tossed about with reckless abandon on Black Twitter anytime a story involving race begins to trend. Sometimes the story doesn't even have to involve race. Often it's simply about a white woman wearing cornrows or faux dreadlocks, a white guy doing an acoustic "cover" of a rap song, or merely food.

No recent story encapsulates this phenomenon to such a comical degree as Neiman Marcus' decision to market overpriced soul food for Thanksgiving.
Only at Neiman Marcus, where you can buy a $395 rabbit-fur jacket for a baby who will probably throw up on it, or a $1,300 tufted sofa for your dog, are collard greens considered “gourmet food.” But there they are, among the holiday offerings: $66 for frozen collard greens, not including $15.50 in shipping.

“I was like, ‘Whaaaat?’” said Nicole Taylor, author of “The Up South Cookbook.” “A lot of things ran through my head. The first was, I need to call and tell my mom that they are selling collard greens for $80.”

She couldn’t help but be amused: “The food that was considered poor people’s food, or Southern food, or black food, is now being advertised and sold by a luxury brand,” she said. “I‘ve heard people from the South say that they were ashamed that their family cooked collard greens.”
You should read the rest of the article, which is full of embedded "woke" Tweets, and quickly dissolves into something you'd typically find on The Onion. I mean, seriously, people really sit around all day upset about leafy greens not named Kale?!?

I'd like to break the fourth wall for a moment and speak exclusively to my black readers. Everyone else... just skip to the comments.
Dear fellow black people,

Enough already. Every instance of corporate America/white people mimicking something closely associated with black people isn't "cultural appropriation". Sometimes it's just people admiring/exploiting something for personal gain. Nothing more, nothing less.

Blackness does not come with residual checks. Please stop expecting people to pay homage. Culture doesn't work that way, and I'm not even 100% sure if I want undesirable food (and all of the health related ailments that come from eating it on a regular basis) handed down from masters to slaves to be considering my "culture" anyway.

How about we make academic excellence our "culture"? How about we make strong families our "culture"? How about me made wealth building our "culture"?

I'd be more than happy to take up arms with you when someone "appropriates" that.

Between now and then, knock it off. This trivial shit sounds so stupid.

Thank you.
Question: Is Neiman Marcus' smart to sell $66 Collard Greens to people rich/dumb enough to buy them, or is this just another case of The Man stealing what's ours?