(image source: bisnispost.ga)
Yesterday I had to educate people about the reality of MSG and its deep connection to a half century of racist socialization against Asians.
You all realize that there are no real adverse reactions? If you are having headaches and indigestion from knowingly eating MSG, it’s called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” and it’s the literal connection between how racism can affect people physically and psychologically.
The National Institute of Health has noted that despite several studies even dating back from the 1960s, there have been no proven connection to these reactions and MSG.
When people claim that they have negative bodily reactions to MSG and consume it unknowingly, nothing happens except that they enjoy a savory meal. MSG is meant to be a form of salt and preservative that enhances a food’s already savory flavor. It was originally discovered by the Japanese and the flavor it gave off was labeled “umami.” I’ve had it almost all my life. And I’m sure you’ve even had it most of your life too, and you just didn’t know it. Even if you had been avoiding Asian food due to a fallacious fear of MSG, I know you probably still had it.
Oooh, yes. Yakisoba. (Japanese)
I love tom kha. (Thai)
Salivating for bibimbap. (Korean)
Heck yes to dim sum! (Chinese)
Mmm, pho! (Vietnamese)
100% here for Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese)
banh xeo! (Vietnamese)
Sushi, oooh, girl. (Japanese)
These are some foods that normally have MSG in them and if you’re too busy being racist and/or having a weak, close minded palate, then it’s more food for me to enjoy. (Not targeting you if you’re one of the extremely few people in the entire world who is majorly allergic to MSG or have some other condition that prevents you from eating Asian foods.)
The number of actual people who are really allergic to MSG is so minuscule, but based on the widespread of people who claim that we all have to be careful of Asian foods because of MSG and its unclean and unhealthy nature, I would think otherwise too. But every international and national food safety institution will tell you it’s bullshit.
That doesn’t stop large movements and petitions that exist today with a goal to make sure MSG is banned from the United States. You’ll also notice, if you do the research, that it’s all white people backing these petitions.
The majority of Japanese people eat MSG every day with their meals, and they’re recorded as people with the greatest longevity in the world.
This ridiculous phenomenon with MSG and Asian food is a result of decades of Orientalism and Yellow Peril.
Orientalism: It’s a dichotomy created by the ‘West,’ it builds a view of the ‘East’ along with many elements of this culture that becomes obscured and exotic. Making a whole group of people seen as something monolithic, creating an erasure of actual identities. (See: YELLOW FACE AND ORIENTALISM IN THE MEDIA: CONTROLLING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ASIAN)
Yellow Peril (or Yellow Terror): When the term originally was given birth, it was specifically regarding the Japanese military expansion then broadened to include all Asian groups. I mean, even though this term came out in the early 19th century, we still see it in today’s media. One prominent example would be in the movie Red Dawn (2012), white people vs. Asian occupation.
(image source: frontpagemag.com)
(Notice how all the good doers in this particular film [and the majority of films] are white. I also know several of the Asian extras that were in the movie. They’ll defend the film and their involvement in it, but they also got a pretty good deal out of perpetuating a long time racist notion of Asian people.)
History has shown us real life applications of what Yellow Peril looked like when the West created devilish caricatures of Asian people as people of cheap labor, dirty, opium addicts, etc.
(image source: wikipedia)
Over the years, the phrase grew into being used to describe the fear that Asians would take over western jobs and wages and way of life. (Sounds familiar, right?)
Orientalism others Asian people and makes their culture monolithic in a western perspective of exoticism. At the same time Yellow Peril promotes fear of Asian culture & people. These concepts are practiced even today when people around us continue perpetuating the idea that Asian products, while exotic, are dirty and inferior and will completely destroy American jobs and way of life.