Some years ago, I read an article about how millennials are killing breakfast cereal or something, and I made the mistake of reading the comments. Surprisingly, it was less millennial bashing, and more older readers looking down on cereal. Something something nutrition, something obesity epidemic, something something overpriced processed foods. This article isn’t the one I remember but has comments along the same lines.
Disclosure: I eat cereal every day. It’s cheaper and easier than most options, there’s enough diversity in brands that I don’t get tired of it. Personally I don’t buy the sugary cereals, except to mix with less sugary cereals. I wouldn’t care if it was linked to obesity, and judging by the first meta-analysis I found, cereal is actually negatively correlated with being overweight.
To be fair, it’s a fine line between explaining your preference in foods, and moralizing your preference in foods. But I get the impression that these commenters don’t care a bit about walking that line.
My impression is that commenters, without realizing it, are basically complaining that cereal is too low class for them. Which seems misplaced on an article talking about how millennials (who are on average poorer) are eating less cereal.
When we think of social justice, we often think of the practice of calling out perceived missteps. But it’s also worth remembering that other half of social justice: letting go of needless judgmentalism. We don’t judge people for their race, sexuality, gender, or ability. We learn that many things that we used to consider the butts of jokes, such as manners of speech or clothing, are basically stand-ins for race, class, or disability.
And, well, food is another one of those things.
You know, as an Asian American, I’m repeatedly awestruck by how blatantly racist it is that “soy boy” is a derogatory term among the alt-right. Tofu is not just for vegetarians, and has been consumed for millennia in some of the most populous cultures of the world. But I digress.
I don’t mean to say that needless judgmentalism is bad because it’s racist or classist. Because sometimes it’s not racist or classist, but it’s still needlessly judgmental. Sometimes, among vegetarians, I’ve encountered a sort of elitism directed at “imitation” meats, and I don’t get it. I like portabello burgers and Beyond burgers, and it’s cool if you don’t like one or the other but why the moralizing?? That’s not racist or classist as far as I know, but it’s still needless and annoying.