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Opinion: Yelp Reviewers’ Authenticity Fetish Is White Supremacy in Action

Opinion: Yelp Reviewers’ Authenticity Fetish Is White Supremacy in Action

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  • Authenticity in cuisine is a concept I'd be very happy to see abandoned. Authentic to whom? When? Where? The only constant in cuisine is change. Grateful for Sara Kay's analysis.

  • “While I don’t know anything about the specific demographics of the reviewers I studied”

    Haha, wow.

    If you’re a liberal, you need to understand that these mindless social justice radicals are your biggest threat, because this kind of irrational, statistically illiterate absurdity undermines legitimate progress.

  • Chinese people have always known this to be true of you white folks.

    - fortune cookies were thought to part of the "authentic" Chinese food experience. They were a concept "borrowed" by Chinese restaurants in California from Japanese restaurants after their owners all got shipped to the Japanese concentration

    Chinese people have always known this to be true of you white folks.

    - fortune cookies were thought to part of the "authentic" Chinese food experience. They were a concept "borrowed" by Chinese restaurants in California from Japanese restaurants after their owners all got shipped to the Japanese concentration camps

    - at lots of Chinese restaurants, white people don't eat the same food as Chinese. Not because of racism, but because they'd be put off by "real" Chinese food, either too spicy or too weird (though that's changing — offal and fish heads are getting more accepted thanks to chefs like Bourdain)

    - the "authentic" Chinatown decorations were born out of SF's Chinatown after it got burned down / blown up in the great fire, because firefighters didn't want it to spread, they just blew the buildings up with dynamite. The "authentic" decorations were a way to attract tourists eager for an authentic experience. They're American capitalism at its finest.

    So yeah. There's still a difference between "white authentic" and actually authentic. And lots of folks still poke fun at / feel superior to actual experiences, instead of those designed to be authentic for them. But who cares? It's like going to Disneyland's Diagon Alley for authenticity. They pay a lot of money for "authentic". Let them pay.

  • A term like “White Supremacy” should not be used lightly as in this article for sensational purposes. It’s very powerful when these two words are put together. Let’s not dilute the phrase making it eventually meaningless as we just might need it later.

  • White supremacy permeates everything. This article didnt even have to be written (well or not) for me to know in my experience as a black person living in gentrified Harlem that this is #FACTS. Of course white commentors here are like "OMG you're racist" (Also wrong use of the word) because it's not

    White supremacy permeates everything. This article didnt even have to be written (well or not) for me to know in my experience as a black person living in gentrified Harlem that this is #FACTS. Of course white commentors here are like "OMG you're racist" (Also wrong use of the word) because it's not their experience. One thing a lot of my Asian, black and Latino friends always joked about was how annoying it is when when white people fetishize authenticity and then go on Yelp to complain. Yelp was created essentially for white people to complain while simultaneously and ironically telling minorities they "need to stop complaining. Anyway, I digress. The thing is that because of Yelp's popularity, their is a power dynamic that is introduced and power my friends is what drives white supremacy/ racism systematically. That said I'm only speaking of the US. The demographics are as follows as of 2018 according to Yelp's own fact sheet: 50% of the users have an income of 100k+. 25% 60k-99k. 83% are college/grad school educated and 65% are 35-55+ years. What demo does that seem like to you? #JustSaying

  • This was such an idiotic pile of liberal sneezes.

    Thr word you're looking for is jerk, not white supremacist.

    Stop going. Out of your way to be the creator of division just so you can pretend you're fighting it.

    Classic super villain logic

  • There is racism and then there is cultural differences. If you want a lesson in sociology, work in a Chinese restaurant. They have every group broken down by ethnicity, gender and age by the quantity of tip the wait staff can expect.

  • This makes no sense. You admit not knowing the demographics of the reviewers, and I'm sure the vast number of American millennials haven't been to a taco cart in Hermosillo either. Moot point.

  • Yeah I’d need you to defend this “While I don’t know anything about the specific demographics of the reviewers I studied” thing... I can’t reason “white” supremacy unless each of those reviewers was white/Euro, which in a random-ish sample of 20000 NY-ers is impossible. In fact, NY popuLation is only

    Yeah I’d need you to defend this “While I don’t know anything about the specific demographics of the reviewers I studied” thing... I can’t reason “white” supremacy unless each of those reviewers was white/Euro, which in a random-ish sample of 20000 NY-ers is impossible. In fact, NY popuLation is only 44% white, and though privilege might lead to a greater number of white Yelpers, you might still expect up to half of those 20000 reviews coming from the various ethnicities themselves.

    Plus, I personally would use “authentic” to mean “original,” not cookie-cutter or ‘Murican-ized, “As far from Applebee’s as possible.”

  • This article & it’s conclusion is total non sequitur garbage. You could only ever arrive at this conclusion if you were determined to validate this preconceived notion from the outset.

    I have studied and focused on Mexican food for most of my professional career in the food industry and I can tell

    This article & it’s conclusion is total non sequitur garbage. You could only ever arrive at this conclusion if you were determined to validate this preconceived notion from the outset.

    I have studied and focused on Mexican food for most of my professional career in the food industry and I can tell you, there are several “Mexican” restaurants that simply don’t reflect the food eaten anywhere in Mexico - and a good chunk of those are owned & operates by white people. On the other hand, many of the restaurants I’d consider to be accurate representations of Mexico are actually run by Mexicans. Of course there are plenty of exceptions on both sides - a white person can very well be a better cook of Mexican food than a Mexican, for not all Mexicans are even good cooks, just like not all white people are good cooks. And many Mexicans choose to alter their food to appeal more to American or Canadian tastes.

    But how any of this connects me, even remotely, to ideas, conscious or otherwise, of white supremacy is beyond asinine. Clearly I actually favour nonwhite folks cooking their “authentic” food over whites poorly & ignorantly interpreting it, or nonwhites catering to their perception of my pallet.

    And yes, a great many eateries in Mexico that I have enjoyed have dirt floors, plastic stools, and even live chickens running around. So what? As a white persona am I suppose to close my eyes and pretend not to see the difference in economic development, lest I form a notion of what it’s like to be in or live in Mexico, and then be told by some sjw upstart that that notion is rooted in white supremacy? So noticing reality is now inherently racist, but only if you’re white?

    Absolute garage.

  • This article an arrogant authentic example of a pile of crap. The yelp reviewers moment of glory is when their reviews are viewed so they use words perceived to get more hits. Restaurant “adventures” are simply dining in new places. To make restaurant reviews into race baiting is, in itself a racist

    This article an arrogant authentic example of a pile of crap. The yelp reviewers moment of glory is when their reviews are viewed so they use words perceived to get more hits. Restaurant “adventures” are simply dining in new places. To make restaurant reviews into race baiting is, in itself a racist way for this article author to get her own hits and further her influence.

    Next is people-who eat pickles are racist.

  • Today, in Prague, I ate at a very successful Italian restaurant, owned by Indians, with Indian and Sri Lankan chefs and Ukrainian wait staff. The food was great, service was competent and all the Czech clients seemed satisfied. I’ve had excellent hamburgers in Manila, goulash in Nairobi and some of the

    Today, in Prague, I ate at a very successful Italian restaurant, owned by Indians, with Indian and Sri Lankan chefs and Ukrainian wait staff. The food was great, service was competent and all the Czech clients seemed satisfied. I’ve had excellent hamburgers in Manila, goulash in Nairobi and some of the best Czech sausages in Toronto. Who gives a sh$%...

  • What a joke. " I have read and studied 20,000 Yelp reviews — part of my thesis as a master’s student at New York University in the Food Studies program." Yet, as a researcher she never thought to request a demographic breakdown, if available, of the authors of these reviews? It's a bit of a leap from

    What a joke. " I have read and studied 20,000 Yelp reviews — part of my thesis as a master’s student at New York University in the Food Studies program." Yet, as a researcher she never thought to request a demographic breakdown, if available, of the authors of these reviews? It's a bit of a leap from pretentious foodie to white supremacist, but the author was more than happy to make the leap. Creating outrage, victimization and self-righteous indignation in one fell swoop. How authentic are the Mexican-Cuban restaurants that used to line 8th Avenue in Chelsea? The great Mexican food I had last night at the Nepalese run restaurant in Hong Kong? To be honest, "authentic" is about as poisonous as the phrase "cultural appropriation"; a cudgel used to make people feel better about themselves at the expense of others; a kind of race-free notion.

  • I wonder if we could measure the size of the outrage economy.

  • It's the same in other areas where products with cultural capital are consumed. My students could sustain endless discussion of Langston Hughes viewed through the lens of race. But they had no idea where to start when I asked them to apply the same lens to Robert Frost.

  • I have no idea who Sara kay is, or what gives her a right to generize how "White People" maintain racism by dining at ethnic reasraunts.

    How about a definition of terms. "White". How many of her observed "Whites" are all White? Did she get genealogical evidence that these people are of 100% European

    I have no idea who Sara kay is, or what gives her a right to generize how "White People" maintain racism by dining at ethnic reasraunts.

    How about a definition of terms. "White". How many of her observed "Whites" are all White? Did she get genealogical evidence that these people are of 100% European Anglo heritage? I doubt it. She saw white. Her use of the term "authentic" is advertised by the owner, not the patrons. The patrons, who know they don't know true authentic food trust the owner to provide an experience highlighting thier culture.

    I'm not sure what race Sara kay is, but on the chance she is white, this is just an apology for her cultural self loathing. If she isn't, she can't speak to white attitudes. Either way she appears to me a racist, thus nullifying any meaningful insight into culinary attitudes based on restaurant selection.

    Finally, the idea that culturally specific restaurant owners are somehow "trapped" is truly ignorant. Many small reasraunts/food trucks or stands may be run by those who came here from less developed countries where they may very well have been trapped. America gives opportunity. Businesses succeed or fail based on thier product. Thank God not on the "insite" of a Cooking and Nutrition Educator.

  • This is the most ridiculous article I've read this week. How can you justify the use of the word authentic as being a white supremacist. Saying white supremacists use the word on Yelp reviews of food!? This article is asinine and racist in its self.

  • Opinion: The author is full of beans/baloney/hot-air/(something less pleasant). Reading racism into all things and using the term “White Supremacy” completely inappropriately is, wait for it, inauthentic.

    This article reads like a parody that tries to use the “White Supremacy” term in the silliest and

    Opinion: The author is full of beans/baloney/hot-air/(something less pleasant). Reading racism into all things and using the term “White Supremacy” completely inappropriately is, wait for it, inauthentic.

    This article reads like a parody that tries to use the “White Supremacy” term in the silliest and most inappropriate way. Crying wolf like this isn’t good for anybody. This is probably the most asinine article I have read in a year or more.

    Who needs Russian Trollfarms to divide the country when we have published opinion pieces like this? If you chimed in to comment on this article while generalizing white behavior (it’s called prejudice people) then you are part of the problem.

    This is madness.

  • Commenters are confusing 'white supremesist thinking', with racism. Western centric, white is right, thought is defined and defended in the thesis...the argument that it's worse other places is absurd and irrelevant.

  • Hans English, you must be miserable seeing "white supremacy" and "racism" in so much of your world. I might suggest a change in attitude and let love rule.

  • I think "authentic" shouldn't be used in the first place but to say it's White Supremacy is simply ridiculous.

    For example, a person who was raised 8n New York would say that a pizza in California is not authentic. That doesn't mean it's not authentic Italian though that same person would not like Bagels

    I think "authentic" shouldn't be used in the first place but to say it's White Supremacy is simply ridiculous.

    For example, a person who was raised 8n New York would say that a pizza in California is not authentic. That doesn't mean it's not authentic Italian though that same person would not like Bagels in other parts of the country.

  • This"writer" needs to be in therapy. It's about taste,spicing,and decor. The majority of the time you have no clue who cooked. SMH. Masters thesis my ass. You brought your own predetermined thoughts into your thesis and story. SMH

  • The irony is that the author doesn't clearly state being a liberal making any claim that they are a liberal equally unscientific. Totally unfounded assumption. Politicising without reason.

    If anything, this article is just guilty of being of near zero utility.

  • I don’t even know where to start on this one. Maybe just sensationalist journalism and useless opinion is a great start. And one that cries wolf against a larger issue of racism and class in America.

  • Even white have that problem think please RED YELLOW BLACK WHITE GB

  • I too have issues with the article, scale and grade of the subject, but not the reality. Many of these reviews shows why the US is two countries, racism isn’t a binary measure, it’s a spectrum and some of you may occupy a position that would surprise and hopefully horrify you.

  • In my book, "authentic" means an unAmericanised version of food when eating Mexican, Chinese, etc. How many of us have actually eaten food as it is served in the country of origin and not adapted to American tastes? Not sure that I'd apply the word to the restaurant itself or its employees. So I'm having

    In my book, "authentic" means an unAmericanised version of food when eating Mexican, Chinese, etc. How many of us have actually eaten food as it is served in the country of origin and not adapted to American tastes? Not sure that I'd apply the word to the restaurant itself or its employees. So I'm having a bit of trouble with her assertion. I can enjoy "authentic" soul food in many types of restaurants cooked and served by any race if the recipe holds true to its roots. The same goes for Italian, French or any other food.

  • Fussy babies are never content with anything. Come on now, take a deep breath and relax 😇

    Pushing for equity in societal norms is a worthwhile persuit. Endless bickering and hair-splitting is a waste. In short, this is nonsense, ignore it.

  • I enjoy “authentic” restaurants because I get to experience another culture’s cuisine that I haven’t had the time or money to experience through travel. Is that not the opposite of white supremacy? This is preferred over an Americanized version (e.g. Tex-Mex or Panda Express) run by some wealthy restaurateur

    I enjoy “authentic” restaurants because I get to experience another culture’s cuisine that I haven’t had the time or money to experience through travel. Is that not the opposite of white supremacy? This is preferred over an Americanized version (e.g. Tex-Mex or Panda Express) run by some wealthy restaurateur or group that has diluted and/or appropriated elements of the culture for financial gain.

  • I find your opinion to be skewed. Let's discuss this over some cheese and milk, or will your Chinese supremacy force you to decline? Everything is not always about supremacy.

  • While a number of commentators might be right that the person is looking for it, at the same time authenticity is an empty cultural word of the era. I've watch far too many cooking shows what the chef isn't authentic enough for some cultural cuisines norm, and it irritates me. Also, there is some bias

    While a number of commentators might be right that the person is looking for it, at the same time authenticity is an empty cultural word of the era. I've watch far too many cooking shows what the chef isn't authentic enough for some cultural cuisines norm, and it irritates me. Also, there is some bias toward other cuisines in the piece itself. For example, Chinese food is not this massive Chinese food cuisine. There is Mandarin. There is Szechwan. And I know there are others by province that I am unfamiliar with. The same can be said about India, Japan , Germany, Russia, and oh, the United States.

  • Sasha is expressing her worldview from a cultural norm of frying critters on a stick in Sleepy Hollar... Bon Apetit!

  • This is a bit “off topic,” but something I’ve been very interested in learning. As a writer and a political/cultural “liberal,” I have been surprised on several recent occasions to be told the following: that the descriptive term “Oriental” (used as an adjective) is no longer considered appropriate usage

    This is a bit “off topic,” but something I’ve been very interested in learning. As a writer and a political/cultural “liberal,” I have been surprised on several recent occasions to be told the following: that the descriptive term “Oriental” (used as an adjective) is no longer considered appropriate usage. I certainly don’t want to make such an error, but I personally haven’t heard a current “correct” replacement. Could you please comment on this, and provide a brief explanation? Thank you.

  • I cannot take seriously anyone who tries this hard to make race issues appear out of thin air.

  • Authenticity is just a subjective value.

    Follow your intuition without feeling guilty.

  • This article - and the range of comments - begs for a 'thumbs-down' button.

  • How does one respond to an article so replete with authentic nonsense?

  • I eat Chinese food from a Chinese restaurant because i cant make anything that approaches the authentic taste you get when its made by actual Chinese people. To say that that makes me a racially insensitive is assinine

  • Ev