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Reply to ESC

Posted by R. Berg on January 03, 2001

In Reply to: White bread posted by ESC on December 23, 2000

: . . . Don't you think it's ironic that we started buying "white bread" to escape embarrassment over our ethnicity and now "white bread" is a label for someone who is bland and devoid of connection to his or her ethnic roots? I do.

I think it's perfect! The postwar period was a time of conformity, as shown in something as humble as shame over having the "wrong" kind of bread in one's lunchbox. The ideal of the melting pot was in place. A series of movements (civil rights, Black Pride, women's liberation, gay rights, disability rights) followed that emphasized the rights of those who are different. The new ideal is diversity. Instead of the melting pot, we have something like a variety store.
Your comments remind me how quickly a discussion of language will bring up the issue of food and ways of categorizing people-I'm thinking of expressions like "Let them eat cake," "living high on the hog," and "kraut" as a scornful term for a German.