Eating Healthy is Racist

Anyone who tells you to eat healthier is -- like everything else today -- racist.

Blair Imani is a professional intersectionalist who has been written up in the New York Times and produces a video series on YouTube and Instagram called “Smarter in Seconds.”

Her YouTube following is, at best, meh -- about 6,000 subscribers with a typical video view rate in the 1-2,000 range.  Her Instagram “influencer” range is far larger with about 520,000 followers; considering Instagram’s demographics skew way younger than anything except TikTok, it is clear her message target is young people.

From topics like the meaning of July 4th -- America was founded on slavery, slavery is still legal as a punishment, liberty is symbolized by the dove of peace, justice by a Black fist, etc. -- to what to do when another person uses multiple pronouns (from what I could gather, it’s contextually driven but insulting to someone who, despite having a penis, uses “they/she” interchangeably if you pick the wrong one when talking to them/her so ask them/her how they prefer to be addressed at that very moment in time as often as you can, I think) -- Imani is the living, breathing punchline to every woke joke you have ever heard.

Her new offering may be even funnier; it’s definitely more physically dangerous but at least it has the approval of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) who sent it out on its social media (ironically) feed.  According to Imani -- and the expert nutritionist she brings in to chat about the subject -- food needs to be approached in a neutral manner.  Food itself is neither good for you nor bad for you and that one shouldn’t “judge (my) food  choices on a false standard of health.”

The nutritionist she brings in -- one Dr. Kera Nyemb-Diop (whose website focuses on decolonizing your plate) -- states that “systems of oppression have created false hierarchies of food” and that people should “eat without guilt regardless of what society says.”

Exactly what prompted this video is rather muddy.  Is it a response to the fact that people at the lower end of the income scale tend to be toward the higher end of the weight scale?  Or that the movement to eliminate inner-city “healthy food deserts” by giving tax dollars to full-service grocery stores so people don’t always just go to the corner bodega is in itself a cover for racist oppression?  (Of course, it is possible Imani might have a point with that one because the food desert matter tends to be a focus of guilt-ridden 104-pound lower-upper-middle class white women who pay $28 for asparagus water at Whole Foods, but I digress.)

But why else -- besides racism, colonization, oppression, bigoted cultural norms, and racism -- would anyone make the claim that eating 12 celery sticks is no different from eating 12 donuts, that deep fried Snickers bars are the same as salads?

First, you can never go wrong -- and your Instagram following and therefore income will grow -- by telling kids that eating a bag of Takis is the same as eating a box of raisins.  Second, since all of the “easy” anti-racism positions have already been staked out, getting out in front of this food thing can help you stay edgy and relevant in the movement in general.

And third, the fact that Nyemb-Diop is a “Senior Scientist - Nutrition & Ingredient Research” at Mondelez International -- whose actual slogan is “Snacking Made Right” -- cannot be discounted.  Formerly part of Kraft, Mondelez makes such things as Oreos, Tang, Sour Patch Kids, and Toblerone bars with nary floret of broccoli in sight

One doubts that Imani would make a video that features an Exxon scientist extolling the virtues of drinking gasoline instead of milk, but if she did one would think the conflict of interest would at least be acknowledged.

While Mondelez seems perfectly comfortable with profiting off of American obesity, the company does want to make sure the world knows it supports the environment and engages in sustainable practices.  Said Christine Montenegro McGrath, the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Global Impact and Sustainability Officer (note -- if you job title has 10 words in it you are an unnecessary employee):

“The issues we are tackling are systemic, requiring supply chain and business transformation. That’s why our integrated approach is not only designed to tackle root causes, but also embedded into our business growth strategy. We are committed to measuring our impact and investing in scalable solutions and innovation so we can drive lasting change."

Good for you.

As to LAUSD’s involvement in supporting the concept, it does seem rather contradictory that an organization that only allows healthy things in its on-campus vending machines, posts calorie, fat, and carbohydrate content lists, has many, many nutritionists on staff, and serves 130 million mostly or completely free meals a year -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- would be approving of the “healthy, shmealthy” message of the video.

Now, food fascists are not fun to be around and everyone has at some time looked with disdainful contempt at the person who tells them “you know that’s not good for you -- try this quinoa salad instead.”  But it cannot be denied – scientifically speaking -- that, at the very least, some foods take longer to kill you than others and that racism and oppression and colonialism have exactly nothing to do with the comparative healthfulness between a glass of water and a glass of clarified butter.

That being said, I am eagerly -- kid on Christmas Eve eagerly -- waiting for LAUSD to send out a video saying I can drink whatever I want, too. 

If God’s from Napa Valley, we may just be in with a chance.

Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Cal. and a former newspaper reporter.  He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at You can read more of his work at:

Image: PublicDomainPictures.Net

If you experience technical problems, please write to