my latest task is to figure out how to include “the excluded” in food security actions. namely, ethnic and racial minorities in a Canadian context.

within this overarching query, the quotation marks represent two underlying issues of utmost concern (and others that i hope to bring to light):

a) those ethnic and racial minorities who are excluded, are faced with multiple social, economic, and political challenges n their day-to-day lives; barriers to food security, as well as overall health and well-being. as such, a large majority of initiatives to improve food security have values and objectives aiming toward inclusivity

b) yet, (and i have to start searching for literature to support for this), there has been little attention paid in the form of outreach to recruit allies with ethnic and racial communities, and where/when it has been attempted, what has been gained (lost?), what was the process, etc?

“a” is fairly well established. “b” encompasses my next task to pursue. as i see it, the doors are open and the food security (mostly white, upper-middle class) are waving in “the excluded”, but few are crossing the threshold.

how then? asking how to involve the excluded in food security actions is to jump the gun and make assumptions that “food”, “security”, and “food security” carry the same meaning for all.

my interest in “how” depends greatly on what i find about “why”.

why then? i have strong hunches that need to be assessed in the existing literature, and examined explicitly in the particular context in which i am working.

if you happen upon this posting and have some good resources or know of doctoral supervisor/funder that would support this work, please post as a comment.

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i was recently asked by a black man in Chicago: “do asian women like black men or not?

he continued, “if so, how do you know?” and then quite confidently stated that he knew when white, latina, and black women were interested. (we didn’t get to his reasoning though)

i had a million things to say and to ask, since i’d been wondering something similar myself (i have a good hunch that black men are checking, but not approaching me. causing me to wonder if maybe they think i’m off bounds?).

given that i find race relations to be different in Chicago, as opposed to where i’ve recently lived in toronto, my answer below is very open to others’ opinions – so please, your input is welcome!first, i warned him that the things i told him were based on my own observations – not necessarily local, and certainly generalized. i also cautioned him to be considerate of variation and focus on the individual. then, i told him in no particular order, the following:

  • “asian women” covers a whole wide range of females from many countries – in the UK, “asian” refers to southeast asian (e.g. indian, pakistani, etc.)
    • he said meant “oriental” – i said: NEVER refer to asian women as oriental. an educated AW (from anywhere over there, or born here) will at the very least know about orientalism, the west made up the orient to “other” us. 
      • some AW will take offense too (i don’t, but i will roll my eyes and you’ve revealed yourself as ‘likely someone who has an asian fetish’).
  • general groups of AW:
    • group a: – these AW have ethnic origins in 1 of 3 countries (Korea, Japan, and China (and arguably singapore))
      • they are especially good at sneaking peeks at the opposite sex (it’s partly the eyes, but partly just b/c they’re just good at being inconspicuous)
      • most of these AW are not looking at black men, they tend to date intraracially (amongst these countries) or white men
        • there’s actually studies about this. they consider it “dating up the racial hierarchy” based on stereotypes, fear, ignorance, culture, etc.
      • a few of them are open to black men, but know that you are expected to talk to them, a holla will not work!
      • group b: – these AW have ethnic origins in the phillipines, malaysia, laos, etc.
        • these AW that like black men fashion themselves to give cues
        • garish presentation of economic wealth and social prestige works for all men
        • i’m not sure a holla works here, or if it works anywhere actually
      • he asked: “OK, aside from the AW wearing baby phat and such, how do i know?”
        • eeep! this one is tough, very tough.
        • consider the above, plus: AW and asian men often have seriously platonic relationships that appear as though they are dating (e.g. they eat out together, go to movies, etc). Two AW may also do this – no they are not necessarily lesbian though they’re holding hands.
        • your best bet, and this may sound bizarre, but just talk to her!
          • you should know immediately if she’s scared (i would caution you away from this one).
          • if she’s open to convo, take it slow. during this time you can figure out her as a person and not just an AW and hopefully find out if she’s ‘involved’ with someone (can’t promise this one, you may have to just come out and ask)
      • NEVER say: “i always wanted to date an AW”
        • it may be true and you may be genuinely interested in learning all about asian culture blah blah blah, BUT! for most AW’s it’s the equivalent of saying ‘i always wanted to dominate a quiet, exotic, insert stereotype here’
        • to which he said, “but what if i really am interested in learning – it doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl, i just want to learn?!”
          • first, make some asian dude friends – they might help your game
          • second, i don’t care! pretend if you must! you have to make her believe it’s HER as an individual that matters and not her asian-ness
      • and finally (for now), i recommended that he should watch or read “the Joy Luck Club”, by Amy Tan
        • sure the acting is terrible
        • but the stories within are representative of many of the issues AW face in north america