Last week, the Internet exploded over a white-owned Portland burrito truck that was forced to close over an issue of cultural appropriation. After being featured in a Portland-based magazine, word that the two women had "stolen" their recipes from Mexico spread like wildfire, causing Kooks Burritos to shutter amid the controversy.
In the aftermath of the closing, many commenters online voiced their agreement with the consequences, while others found the claims of cultural appropriation to be largely unfounded and exaggerated.
This is so ridiculous. Nobody can own a recipe, and therefore nobody can own a cuisine. Not all ideas are property -- indeed most are not. https://t.co/36Iqi7vcTy— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 25, 2017
Still, people of color (POC) in the Portland community want to take more steps toward preventing cultural appropriation from taking over their food culture. In response, a Google Doc called "(Alternatives To) White-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portland" is now in circulation, featuring an extensive list of what the creators deem to be appropriative establishments in Portland. The list, which can be viewed here, offers the names of the business owners, as well as the nearest POC-owned dining alternative for each restaurant.
As is explained in the document, the creators view the list as a way to raise awareness and offer transparency for diners when making decisions on where to eat.
"This is NOT about cooking at home or historical influences on cuisines; it's about profit, ownership, and wealth in a white supremacist culture," the document reads. "These white-owned businesses hamper the ability for POC to run successful businesses of their own (cooking their own cuisines) by either consuming market share with their attempt at authenticity or by modifying foods to market to white palates."
The Google Doc also offers articles and resources on racism, cultural appropriation and food culture for further reading on the subject.
In the document's FAQ section, the creators continue, "This has nothing to do with enjoying foods from other cultures, like we all do. This is about recognizing and working to correct a power imbalance in our society that is the result of centuries of institutionalized racism and unchecked capitalism."
While some Portland residents are pleased with the resource, others aren't sure how to react:
How do you feel about the controversy? Let us know in the comments.
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