Aisles labeled as ethnic, Asian, Mexican, or international are frequently found in supermarket chains across the US. With America becoming more and more accepting of their individual flavors and differences, what is keeping the ethnic aisle in existence?

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Is The Ethnic Food Aisle Racist? | Open Bias

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36 COMMENTS

  1. So, after watching the whole video through, I think that the video brings up some interesting points, especially about the way food is de-ethnicized in at least North America, and though I'll also agree that is really isn't intentionally racist, I will agree with the presenters in the sense that the way supermarkets stock food items based on "ethnicity" is mostly arbitrary, and really does depend on what the white majority considers to be "normal".

    For example, in my local supermarket, there will be a big "ethnic aisle", but besides curry, Chinese vermicelli, and canned hummus, there will also be Italian food and Greek food, and then I'd find the store brand soy sauce, or local brand of pasta, in the "normal" aisles. I'm sure the way food is stocked depending on "ethnicity" will also depend on the ethnic as well as social-economic makeup of an area as well.

    As a final note, as a person of color myself, I rarely shop in the "ethnic" aisle because they're usually a paltry and expensive selection of what I'd buy in an "ethnic" supermarket. In the end, the purpose of that aisle is to introduce new things to the white people of that area, as opposed to the people of color that might shop there, so take from that what you will.

  2. Omg, people are hard pressed to make an racism issue out of everything. These products ARE different-in some cases, we wouldn't even know they existed. Is that bad?
    Why call them Chinese, or Italian then? Isn't THAT racist?
    I GET that ethnic food IS different! I love it when all the Chinese food is all together in one place so I can easily find all the ingredients I need when I'm making Chinese for dinner, instead of having to traipse through the whole store to gather up everything, not knowing in some cases even where to look!
    As a Greek,I GET that Greek food should be grouped together somewhere for the convenience of the consumer. Why have to go through the ENTIRETY of the supermarket and look at EVERY SINGLE THING to see what Greek foods this supermarket carried? How would someone know to look in the soup section to find Greek trachana, or in the bread section to find tsoureki, or the spice section to find Kozani saffron? They wouldn't. And if a certain food has become so popular as to have earned a more international "status" like Greek yogurt, Kalamata olives, olive oil and feta, then let them hang out with the "American" kids over in the yogurt, oil or cheese counter. Or, even better, put them in both places…But then someone might say that they're getting preferential treatment…pfff.
    We have much more serious racism issues to address than this. Let's stop trying to find racism where it doesn't exist and focus on wiping it out where it blatantly rears its ugly head.

  3. 5:01 how many people buy it really decides it. If it’s such a hot commodity that it is always selling out then the store will devote more space to it. I don’t understand how you can call a store racist. They aren’t trying to shield people from other cultures, they sell what the largest amount of people want because it’s business.

  4. It may not be racist, but it definitely introduced unnecessary problems to many people, especially to people who is new to the US. For example Sriracha, some stores put it together with all other hot sauces while some stores put it in the Asian isle. Once when I went to store to buy some raw red beans, and I wasted a lot of time looking for it because I forgot to check the Asian isle, then why aren't chickpeas in Asian isle too? There are a lot of contradictions and inconsistencies on how some food should be labeled/categorized. However, when I got used to it, and learned what's considered Asian and what is not, I can now navigate without problems.

  5. This is so stupid. I’m not white and find nothing wrong with the international section. It isn’t a forgotten, dingy aisle at the back wtf? In my store it’s a huge aisle fully stocked that has amazing varieties and is super convenient. Save the the outrage for REAL racial injustice smh.

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  7. There are thousands of different cultures in our world. Do you think it's practical to have 1000+ aisles dedicated to every single culture's food when an American grocery store caters specifically to American foods cuisine? I don't think in South America or Asia that they're going to have a dedicated aisle for every single culture in their grocery stores. I'm pretty sure they'll label any Western or African foods as "Other / International". Stop trying to look for racism when there isn't any, Business Insider.

    Here's a practical explanation: American grocery stores are not going to carry all of the Asian, African, Middle Eastern, or other cultural ingredients when the average American consumer normally shops for everyday American groceries like carrots and broccoli. That average consumer does not buy wild rice or coconut milk as often as they do carrots and broccoli. If your average American shopper is craving better selection in order to make authentic green curry over rice, they're not going to find it in an American grocery store's international aisle which is limited. Again, because the American grocery store's average customer doesn't usually buy those ingredients. An American shopper who's craving cooking up a non-American dish is better off going to a "for a lack of a better word" "ethnic" grocery store, whether that be Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Afghan, Pan-Asian, etc.

    I think keeping the most popular international items that Americans tend to buy in the international aisle is just fine. Maybe calling it ethnic is outdated so just call it international…unless you think the word "international" is culturally insensitive and offensive rolls eyes

  8. This is such a bad idea. If I am Mexican and want to make Hummus or Thai Green Curry for the first time I would rather have things close together for each cuisine instead of going all over the store. If shopping at the international foods isle gives you shame, you need therapy

  9. I never felt like the ethinic food aisle was racist. I think to think we have to get rid of it and blend into the rest of the supermarket is like saying that ethinics foods needs to be approved by white people….I always thought the ethnic food aisle was the most interesting aisle and it should be celebrated not suppressed.

  10. I get the point of the video, is saying basically if this is a staple or part of USA cuisine, why is this on ethnic aisle?
    Doesn't make sense something that is a creation of USA, like for example hard shell tacos, or those fried noodles be on ethnic or international, is basically saying that this is not part of USA… Here in Brazil the International aisle is basically imported goods that aren't manufactured on the country, and we have other tipes of supermarkets designed to center around ethnic cuisine and foods, so is racist? In some manner yes, because it's saying that a large group that make some of the staple foods of USA isn't part of it at all…

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