University of Connecticut Law Professor Mathilde Cohen raised the hackles of quite a few French people last week when she told a bewildered audience at Sciences Po Paris and the University of Nanterre that eating French food is an expression of “White Privilege.”
“I would like to tell you about ‘food Whiteness’ in French culture,” Cohen begins, “By this I mean the use of food to reinforce ‘Whiteness’ as a dominant racial identity.”
Apparently unaware of the deeply ingrained tradition of peasant food in French culture, such as cassoulet or pot-au-feu, Cohen proceeded to explain to the French that their cuisine is a product of wealthy White people.
“The French meal is often presented as the national ritual to which every citizen can participate equally. But French food ways are shaped by White middle- and upper-class norms,” Cohen asserted, adding that “the boundaries of Whiteness are policed through daily food encounters.”
“The Whiteness of French food is all the more powerful in that it is unnamed, enabling the racial majority to benefit from food privileges without having to acknowledge their racial origin,” she declared.
“White Christian norms are considered the default much like Whiteness itself is often construed as a neutral, non-racial identity,” stated the white professor.
Cohen insisted that current French laws “marginalize racial and ethnic minorities through the elevation of White, French eating culture as the high-status, legally protected way of eating.”
Many of the French were not amused by Cohen’s attempt to read French culture through the lens of wokeness.
Parliamentarian Eric Ciotti, for instance, an alumnus of Sciences Po, lamented that the school from which he graduated, “once open and excellent, now teaches indigenous, racialist, and totally delusional theories.”
Sciences Po itself sought to distance itself from Cohen’s theories by tweeting that she does not teach there, and that the school endorses “no particular theory or school of thought.”