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I was a tad disturbed by Sister Citizen’s first contribution to the pages of The Nation.

I was a tad disturbed by Sister Citizen’s first contribution to the pages of The Nation. I found her logic flawed and elementary. She at first derides the white American exceptionalism of the missionaries who kidnapped the thirty-plus children in the wake of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. I agree, although I think she mistakenly excluded the evangelical Christian component. White, rich, Protestant and American is not inherently better than black, poor, quasi-Catholic and Haitian. Family is ultimately more important than anything else. That I said, I found it odd that Harris-Lacewell later took up the very same argument she previously bemoaned when dealing with nutrition in our country’s poor black communities. She infantilizes the entire community in arguing that they have no control over their own food choices and health. No, organic may not be a possibility. The same may be said for basic healthcare choices. On that, you will find no argument here. What we each control, however, are the lives we live, and there are low-cost alternatives to deep-frying and sedentary lifestyles. Mrs. Obama is right. Food is a matter of culture; activity a matter of parenting; and while the government can help in terms of education, it is ultimately the choice and decision of the parent to care for his or her child.

Jim MacBride

Greenville, SC

Mar 6 2010 - 12:29pm