|Vererice Gutierrez: Do not let this ignorant women teach your children!|
Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.Excuse me? I get Ms. Gutierrez' completely in artfully made point that a student from some other immigrant culture may have cultural challenges to learning when coming to the United States--but I also reject it. That is not racism. That is called assimilation. And culture after culture (including millions of Hispanics and dare I guess even some Somalis) have navigated and benefited from that challenge. It is important (for their own economic wellbeing) that immigrants assimilate. But cultural assimilation can go both ways: many born in Portland and the rest of the United States readily adopt the culture and culinary traditions of immigrants. I would suggest that interplay of immigrant cultural assimilation as it has been practiced in the United States is generally a positive thing. E pluribus unum: Ms. Gutierrez should look that phrase up.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.
But what about that so called racist lunch known as the peanut butter sandwich?
|George Washington Carver, self made botanist, scientist, humanitarian, and promoter of the peanut!|
George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Missouri, but (despite real racism and personal health issues as a child) managed through hard work and self education to become a famed botanist and scientist. Carver, as a professor at Tuskegee, promoted crop rotation. Soils in the south had become depleted from years of mono-culture cotton growing. Legumes, such as peanuts, fix nitrogen through their roots and help restore the fertility of depleted soils. Farmers and share croppers, black and white, were resistant to growing soybeans, pecans, and peanuts because of lack of markets for those crops. So Carver worked on finding economic uses for these crops to promote their growing.
Peanuts are native to the Americas. Carver did not invent peanut butter, but he promoted it (along with many other products). Peanut butter is a health food, with anti oxidants and vitamins. Combined with bread it is a complete protein. The Aztecs and Incas used to enjoy peanut butter (why is Ms. Gutierrez denying Hispanic kids their culinary cultural heritage)! We do not know if the Aztecs put chocolate and peanuts together, but we can guess they probably did enjoy that synergistic combination. That white racist lunch that Ms. Gutierrez casually denounced was actually a Native American treat, promoted by a self taught African American former slave to benefit the economic condition of poor black and white farmers and improve the environment.
So to combat racism, to remember George Washington Carver, and to mock Ms. Gutierrez' lunacy, enjoy a delicious and healthy peanut butter sandwich. And if you are in Portland, you should consider adding some local Marionberry or native salmonberry jam to go along with it.