Anti-Racist Baking

Anti-Racist Cake by Bakers Against Racism

Image by @robrubba of Bakers Against Racism

Recently, I've been more intentional about learning and acting to support the Black Lives Matter movement in more parts of my life--including baking. Here are some culinary- and baking-related resources covering inequities in the food industry, the history of racism and cultural appropriation in food, and ways to support Black bakers and Black-owned bakeries.

  • Understanding Racism in Food Media - This article, The Table Stays White by Hannah Giorgis, digs into the racism that persists throughout the food industry and the food media.
"Regarding the industry’s whiteness, it might be tempting to dwell on questions of representation, or to wonder who ought to occupy the top positions at legacy publications. But as years of examples have shown, the work of challenging biases in food must dig deeper. [...]  Challenges to the dominant framework often come from outside legacy institutions altogether."  
For further reading and learning, check out these examples from Giorgis's piece that are challenging the dominant framework: Equity at the Table, For the Culture, and The Racist Sandwich Podcast
  • Cultural Appropriation - This piece, The Cultural Appropriation of Food, offers some clear examples of how cultural appropriation and racism can show up in food. It's written by Shana McCann from Solid Ground in Seattle, an organization that "works to end poverty and undo racism and other oppressions that are root causes of poverty." Also read #FoodGentrification and Culinary Rebranding of Traditional Foods by Soleil Ho (also referenced in Hannah Giorgis's piece above).
  • Rage Baking - Tangerine Jones began Rage Baking in 2015 as a sort of meditation and way to transform "anger or sorrow into something beautiful." She outlines the fundamentals of rage baking here. On Medium, Tangerine Jones shares 

"I turned to my kitchen because, personally, it’s one of the places I commune with my ancestors. I’m a Black woman born and partly raised in the South. Kitchens are sacred, powerful spaces to me. They are places of history and healing, of community and connection, of resistance and revolution, of transformation and truth. I’ve been taught that they hold the heart of a home and, collectively, the pulse of a community. For me, kitchens are a place for alchemy and renewal."

In this same piece, she goes on to share how her Rage Baking work was not credited or acknowledged in a book of the same name written by two white women. To make this right, she has asked the publisher and authors to credit her work and to make donations to 3 organizations (listed in the Medium article).

  • Bakers Against Racism - Bakers around the world collectively raised $1.8 million in support of organizations supporting Black Lives through the Bakers Against Racism bake sale. More about the bake sale, its inspiration, and plans for moving forward here.

At its core, food is a human issue, just like the movement for Black Lives. It's going to take all of us using our individual talents and strengths to collectively dismantle systemic racism and to build a more anti-racist and just world. And, this includes understanding the history and origins of food dishes; the cultures and people that birthed and nurtured them; and how we enjoy, interpret, and acknowledge them today. 

Take Action: Support Black bakers and Black-owned bakeries. Check out these recommendations from Essence, Bake from Scratch, and Melanin is Life. If you're in the Portland area, check out this directory of Black-owned eateries, which also includes bakeries. If you're outside the Portland Metro, find your local Black-owned bakeries and support them, too!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published