Black & White & Way Too Deep For My Tiny, Little Brain
I hope you're all well. This is a post of mine running on the blog Everyday Sociology sponsored by W. W. Norton, Inc. Please check it out if you're interested.
Top Chef and the Black/Non-Black Divide
By Tamara K. Nopper
June 7, 2009
I love the show Top Chef . I watch it religiously and regularly chat about it with fellow fan and friend Kevin Eddington. Although more of a foodie than me—he actually knows what sous vide means—we share concerns about the show’s racial dynamics, some of which I want to discuss here. Specifically, I want to explore how Asian Americans and African Americans are represented on Top Chef and in the process, draw from approaches emphasizing the Black/non-Black divide.The Black/non-Black framework is proposed by George Yancey in his book "Who is White? Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/Nonblack divide".
According to Yancey, this framework is more helpful for analyzing racism than a white/non-white paradigm because Blacks experience a unique degree of social isolation, as evidenced by how whites, Latinos, and Asian Americans reject them as potential neighbors and marriage partners yet remain open to each other. Yancey’s conclusion bears out on the show.