The Guardian has been mocked for branding apple pie racist after one of its writers said the treat was linked to ‘a vast and ongoing genocide of indigenous people.
Writing in the famously liberal publication, food writer Raj Patel claimed the all-American dessert was born of colonialism and slavery, after highlighting how apples had first arrived in the west from central Asia 4,000 years ago.
The piece, titled ‘Food injustice has deep roots: let’s start with America’s apple pie’ by author and documentary maker Raj Patel, claims the pie has ‘bloody origins’ and is ‘as American as stolen land, wealth and labor.’
Explaining his issues with apple pie in greater detail, Patel wrote: ‘Apples traveled to the western hemisphere with colonists in the 1500s in what used to be called the Columbian Exchange, but is now better understood as a vast and ongoing genocide of Indigenous people.’
The author went on to say that English colonizers used apple trees ‘as markers of civilization, which is to say property,’ in new lands where they settled.
He added: ‘John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, took these markers of colonized property to the frontiers of US expansion where his trees stood as symbols that Indigenous communities had been extirpated.’
Turning his attention to the pie’s crust, Patel continued: ‘Not that the sugar on the crust is uniquely American.’ He then detailed how sugar’s arrival in the United States in the 1700s was inextricably linked to the French slavery trade in New Orleans, and that the Big Easy ‘had become a concomitant hub of the slave trade’ as the sweet stuff’s popularity burgeoned.
The Guardian piece, titled ‘Food injustice has deep roots: let’s start with America’s apple pie’, claims the pie has ‘bloody origins’ and is ‘as American as stolen land, wealth and labour’
And not even the traditional checked cloth on which an apple pie is traditionally left to cool escaped Patel’s gaze, as he implied that it was the result of cultural appropriation.
Patel said: ‘Not that the gingham on which our apple pie rests is uniquely American.’
He explained that Native Americans were already wearing cotton by the time Christopher Columbus landed in America in 1492, with the pattern itself likely originating from southeastern Asia.
Patel branded the British Empire’s cotton trade ‘war capitalism,’ and said that it ‘enslaved and committed acts of genocide against millions of Indigenous people in North America, and millions of Africans and their descendants through the transatlantic slave trade.’
He added: ‘In the process, cotton laid the basis of finance, police and government that made the United States.’
Patel’s lengthy piece went on to target the ‘violence, exploitation, poverty and profit’ he says is involved in the production of items as innocuous as a bar of chocolate, tuna sandwich or a chicken nugget.
The writer also targeted America’s tipping system, saying it was originally created to persecute black people, as well as the beef and pecan industries, which Patel say exploited their workers.
He concluded: ‘The history of the US food system has always, however, been one of struggle. “Food justice” is a term that is intelligible only because oppressed and exploited communities have organized for redress against the predations of US capitalism,’ it reads.
Social media users have continued to target the piece, which was published last month, with one writing: ‘According to The Guardian newspaper(London), apple pie is racist too. These people are nuts,’ one person tweeted.
Food writer Raj Patel (pictured) claimed the all-American dessert was born of colonialism and slavery, after highlighting how apples had first arrived in the west from central Asia 4,000 years ago
‘Oh FFS. Now apple pie is being attacked? Well, it is the Guardian. Lol,’ added another.
Another person tweeted: ‘Good grief, the article should have been titled, Going for the Gold in the Oppression Olympics. Of course gold is problematic as well, I’m positive of that.’
‘Good grief, this article should have been titled Going for the Gold in the Oppression Olympics. Of course gold is problematic as well, I’m positive of that,’ said one reader.
Another tweeter, whose tone appeared to be sarcastic, wrote: ‘Apple pie is so problematic for so many reasons. It perpetuates patriarchal and cis heteronormative oppression.
‘And what about the people with gluten sensitivity? Apple pie is glutenist AF!’
‘This is why we can’t have nice things,’ chimed in another.
Others hit out at the piece last month when it was published with one person accusing the ‘woke cancel culture mob’ of trying to ‘destroy everything that is American.’
‘The ‘woke’ #CancelCulture mob seeks to destroy everything that is American and/or good. Now going after ‘Apple Pie.’,’ one person wrote.
‘The Guardian, ‘Food injustice has deep roots: let’s start with America’s apple pie.’ It’s so absurd it sounds like a parody of #CancelCulture. No such luck…’
However other social media users agreed that the apple pie’s past is problematic.
‘The apple was brought to America by European colonists. So yes, apple pie is racist,’ one person wrote.
‘Apple pie is made with apples, which is a fruit just like a cherry & George Washington chopped down a cherry tree & he owned slaves which makes him a racist. So therefore apple pie should no longer say “America”,’ wrote another.
Social media users have hit out at the ‘woke cancel culture mob’ who have now torn into one of America’s most iconic symbols – the apple pie
Others chimed in slamming what the piece for suggesting ‘apple pie is racist’ and accusing the ‘woke mob’ of trying to ‘destroy everything that is American’
Others hit out at the piece last month when it was published with one person accusing the ‘woke cancel culture mob’ of trying to ‘destroy everything that is American’
However other social media users agreed that the apple pie’s past is problematic
Americans have long made the apple pie their own dish and it has cemented its status as a part of the national culture.
The country’s first cookbook American Cookery featured two recipes for the sweet treat and soldiers in World War II would proudly say they were fighting for ‘mom and apple pie.’
The saying ‘as American as apple pie’ goes back centuries to typically express patriotism.