Are peanut butter & jelly sandwiches really anti-Latino?

It's no secret that kids in America grow up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Whether you're having homemade peanut butter, the healthier almond butter, or are a fan of the store-bought creamy versus chunky debate, combining it with the jelly of your choice (for me, it's typically strawberry or guava jelly) is one of the biggest comfort food pleasures in life. 

I never thought about the race implications in making myself a PB&J sandwich as an after-school snack when I was a teen, but now a principal in Portland is saying that the classic dish is, in fact, racist.


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The Latina principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland, Oregon, is claiming that the PB&J sandwich is a "subtle form of racism in language", according to a report from the Portland Tribute. Verenice Gutierrez says that it's an easy way to discriminate against the non-American students: 

What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches? Another way would be to say: 'Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?' Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.

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Apparently she's concerned with all the talk about "white privilege" but, I have to say, I think this is all kind of BS. I can sort of understand her point about it being a very American food but come on, lady, we ARE after all in the United States, and in one way or another, all kids are probably exposed to this sandwich whether they've been in the U.S. months or years or were born here. And, seriously, it's just a sandwich. I really don't think it's some subliminal form of racism: I think it's just delicious. Eating a PB&J at school doesn't stop me from also eating a torta or pita whenever I want, it's just another easy, delicious, and cheap option that kids love. And what's wrong with that?

Image via Petit Plat - Stephanie Kilgast/flickr

Topics: kid-friendly food  snacks  school