264 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6845-1
Published: August 2022
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6846-8
Published: May 2022
Hardcover Available August 2022, but pre-order your copy today!
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Sustainable culture—what keeps a community alive and thriving—is essential to Black peoples’ fight for access and equity, and food is central to this fight. Starkly exposing the rampant shaming and policing around how Black people eat, Williams-Forson contemplates food’s role in cultural transmission, belonging, homemaking, and survival. Black people’s relationships to food have historically been connected to extreme forms of control and scarcity—as well as to stunning creativity and ingenuity. In advancing dialogue about eating and race, this book urges us to think and talk about food in new ways in order to improve American society on both personal and structural levels.
About the Author
Psyche A. Williams-Forson, the author of Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power, is professor of American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.
For more information about Psyche A. Williams-Forson, visit the Author Page.
"Unpacking the ugly history of racist stereotypes, exclusionary agricultural policies, and the cultural assumption that Black people’s lives need monitoring, this is a book that celebrates the diversity of Black American food culture across the United States...Eating While Black is a thoughtful text with insights into how much unwelcome extra tension and “heaviness” lands on Black Americans’ plates."—Foreword Reviews
"From cooking lessons that urge “healthier” ways to prepare a pot of collard greens to policies that suggest Black people have the worst health records because of what they eat, in her latest examination of food and culture, Williams-Forson says such food shaming is anti-Black racism. Denigrating Blacks for enjoying foods that represent their cultural and spiritual roots deprives Black Americans their identity. Combining personal experience with insights from popular culture, Williams-Forson describes how even in their consumption of food, Black people are often perceived as transgressing, misbehaving, and in need of “gastronomic” surveillance."—Civil Eats
"Eating While Black invites us all to examine how racial, class, and other anxieties often drive institutions and individuals to consciously or unconsciously inflict harm on Black people (and everyone else). Psyche Williams-Forson's analysis calls for a deeper understanding of the ways in which expressions of 'concern' over how we grow food, cook, and eat are often more about policing our behavior and patrolling the boundaries of race and class."—Bryant Terry, James Beard Award– and NAACP Image Award–winning author of Black Food and editor in chief of 4 Color Books
“Psyche Williams-Forson has gifted us a profoundly personal new work that beautifully troubles our ideas around the efficacy of the food justice movement in communities of color while engaging us in developing a delicately nuanced praxis for reframing Black food culture as a site for liberation. I’m going to be sitting with this book for a while.”—Thérèse Nelson, founder of BlackCulinaryHistory.com
“Psyche Williams-Forson adds a major building block to the developing canon of food scholarship. In this well-considered work, she deftly shepherds readers through the minefields of culinary practices, racial assumptions, and more, revealing the tangled complexity of the relationships that African Americans are presumed to have, now and in the past, with food in the United States.”—Jessica B. Harris, author of High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America
“In this sobering yet enticing book, Psyche Williams-Forson offers a road map for moving forward from the racially biased ways in which African American food choices are commonly ridiculed and judged, to a landscape unsullied by stereotype and ignorance. I respect the enormity of what she has revealed, and I loved this book.”—Patricia A. Turner, author of Trash Talk: Anti-Obama Lore and Racism in the Twenty-First Century