front cover of Food Fight!
Food Fight!
Millennial Mestizaje Meets the Culinary Marketplace
Paloma Martinez-Cruz
University of Arizona Press, 2019
From the racial defamation and mocking tone of “Mexican” restaurants geared toward the Anglo customer to the high-end Latin-inspired eateries with Anglo chefs who give the impression that the food was something unattended or poorly handled that they “discovered” or “rescued” from actual Latinos, the dilemma of how to make ethical choices in food production and consumption is always as close as the kitchen recipe, coffee pot, or table grape.

In Food Fight! author Paloma Martinez-Cruz takes us on a Chicanx gastronomic journey that is powerful and humorous. Martinez-Cruz tackles head on the real-world politics of food production from the exploitation of farmworkers to the appropriation of Latinx bodies and culture, and takes us right into transformative eateries that offer a homegrown, mestiza consciousness.

The hard-hitting essays in Food Fight! bring a mestiza critique to today’s pressing discussions of labeling, identity, and imaging in marketing and dining. Not just about food, restaurants, and coffee, this volume employs a decolonial approach and engaging voice to interrogate ways that mestizo, Indigenous, and Latinx peoples are objectified in mainstream ideology and imaginary.

front cover of Inappropriation
The Contested Legacy of Y-Indian Guides
Paul Hillmer
University of Missouri Press, 2023
In 1926, Harold Keltner, a YMCA Boys Work secretary from St. Louis, and Joe Friday, a member of the Canadian Ojibwe First Peoples, channeled white middle-class fascination with Native Americans into what became the Y-Indian Guides youth pro­gram, engaging over a half million participants across the nation at the height of its 77-year history. Intended to soften the stereo­typical stern father, the program traced a complicated thread of American history, touching upon themes of family, race, class, and privilege.

The Y-Indian Guides was a father-son (and later parent-child) program that encouraged real and enduring bonds through play and an authentic appreciation of family. While “playing Indian” seemed harmless to most participants during the pro­gram’s heyday, Paul Hillmer and Ryan Bean demonstrate the problematic nature of its methods. In the process of seeking to admire and emulate Indigenous Peoples, Y-Indian Guide participants often misrepresented American Indians and reinforced harmful ste­reotypes. Ultimately, this history demonstrates many ways in which American culture undermines and harms its Indigenous communities.


front cover of Stealing My Religion
Stealing My Religion
Not Just Any Cultural Appropriation
Liz Bucar
Harvard University Press, 2022

From sneaker ads and the “solidarity hijab” to yoga classes and secular hikes along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, the essential guide to the murky ethics of religious appropriation.

We think we know cultural appropriation when we see it. Blackface or Native American headdresses as Halloween costumes—these clearly give offense. But what about Cardi B posing as the Hindu goddess Durga in a Reebok ad, AA’s twelve-step invocation of God, or the earnest namaste you utter at the end of yoga class?

Liz Bucar unpacks the ethical dilemmas of a messy form of cultural appropriation: the borrowing of religious doctrines, rituals, and dress for political, economic, and therapeutic reasons. Does borrowing from another’s religion harm believers? Who can consent to such borrowings? Bucar sees religion as an especially vexing arena for appropriation debates because faiths overlap and imitate each other and because diversity within religious groups scrambles our sense of who is an insider and who is not. Indeed, if we are to understand why some appropriations are insulting and others benign, we have to ask difficult philosophical questions about what religions really are.

Stealing My Religion guides us through three revealing case studies—the hijab as a feminist signal of Muslim allyship, a study abroad “pilgrimage” on the Camino de Santiago, and the commodification of yoga in the West. We see why the Vatican can’t grant Rihanna permission to dress up as the pope, yet it’s still okay to roll out our yoga mats. Reflecting on her own missteps, Bucar comes to a surprising conclusion: the way to avoid religious appropriation isn’t to borrow less but to borrow more—to become deeply invested in learning the roots and diverse meanings of our enthusiasms.


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