Originally posted at http://sepiamagazineonline.net/sepia_seven/whatrueating.html
– James (ed.)
For many of us, life begins with breakfast – the dreamy hours prior to daybreak may or may not wash with “what’s real” and, it’s at this important morning hour that we begin to indoctrinate ourselves again with “cultural values.”
These early-day cultural values come to us from a variety of sources, television, radio and the media platter of one’s own breakfast table. It’s at these vulnerable moments that we may acquire values which may become viral.
Take, for example, the historical use of “comforting black characters” to showcase breakfast foods. Comforting because
1. They’re part of the past
2. They don’t rap
3. They don’t carry weapons
4. They practically clean for you
5. They don’t bug you with questions …
Aunt Jemima was first introduced to Western breakfast culture in 1889 from what would then become the Quaker Oats Company. The year after former slave Nancy Green was hired on to help the corp. sling their morning hotcakes.
Though, ostensibly, slavery had been abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation Order of 1863 and the Thirteenth Amendment of 1864 the real freedom of “colonial employees” remains hotly contested. Particularly painful is the uprooted family trees from the colonized countries, lost lineages and geneological disfigurements caused by Western European greed and laziness.
Is this too much to chew on for brekkie? Reparations for torn cultural identifiers are slow in coming, some argue, as domesticity and policy hop in (and out) of bed with convenient familiarizations like “Aunt Jemima” and “Uncle Ben.”
Some, though diligent, argue that hardship is just part of life and one culture’s “mistakes” of the past shouldn’t cause malignant growth through interference of the “conquered culture.” Some others argue philosophically that in any given living system the pursuit and even purpose of life is to find freedom, self-realization and solvency of legacy. The 21st Century has not only brought “black culture” to the White House, the Radio and the larger Internet, it has also caused more “problem-solving solution formulas” to spill out from both commercial and domestic social networking ventures.
So, do we feel that “The Solution” is to consumptively partake in a culture credited (by all except those Creationists) with the evolutionary development of our global language and anthropological continuum. Just ask “Cousin Rastus” who’s breakfast recipe needn’t be spelled out in the Queen’s English for it to provide good constitutional foundation for a day of work, school or play. Perhaps i’ve been brainwashed, but as a young man, “the Cream of Wheat guy” had always been a person of confidence and professionalism.
Some of us just want to eat guilt, some want a better way to digest information but I think we all want to vitally extend the dreams normally relegated to night-time fairy tales …