— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) January 14, 2016
This is the all too common story of how 15 words turned into something like 1,500 side-eyes for a brand that forgot to make sure every single thing they tweet is Black Twitter proof.
On Thursday morning, Whole Foods tweeted what I’m sure they felt was just another unique recipe, telling their 4.8 million followers “how to cool collards.” What followed were a slew of responses from Black Twitter which could best be summed up as #WhereDeyDoDatAt, as people all over the Internet wondered what this peanut-laden concoction they never saw in their greens on Thanksgiving was about. See hilarious gifs below.
— FN777-9311 (@wondermann5) January 14, 2016
— Addaperle (@LaVidaDeChels) January 14, 2016
— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) January 14, 2016
— Nathalie Baptiste (@nhbaptiste) January 14, 2016
While most people on Twitter were simply appalled at the thought of putting anything other than back fat, neck bones, pork, or turkey necks in their “collards,” one writer on CNN was especially offended at Whole Foods’ message, writing of the tweet on CNN Money saying:
I was annoyed too, because like other African Americans, I’m tired of people “discovering” things that have been a part of black culture for hundreds of years.
These days everything has kale and collard greens near it, on it or in it, just like quinoa a few years ago. But collard greens, kale, mustard and turnip greens have always been staples of African American culture. Greens are actually part of West African cuisine where the slaves were captured.
Collard Greens are a powerhouse food and easy to cultivate. During slavery, African Americans needed crops that could be easily maintained during their down time since they worked thirteen hour days.
What African Americans reacted to on Thursday is the way their culture has been co-opted.
So white people can’t eat collard greens now because of their West African roots?
Sure, Whole Foods could have gone into the deep, dark history of greens in America but I guarantee someone — actually many someones — would’ve still had a problem with that because this whole backlash is just another example of people wanting to be mad about something. In no way did Whole Foods act like they discovered greens, they just shared some healthy ways (because they’re Whole Foods) to cook the oft overlooked nutritious green even many African Americans outside of the south don’t eat on a regular basis — or at least without all the customary fixin’s noted above. Me thinks this whole backlash is much ado about nothing. You?