Joseph Ewoodzie Jr., Associate Professor of Sociology at Davidson College, spent more than a year in Jackson, Miss., following a group of socioeconomically diverse African Americans—from upper-middle-class patrons of the city’s fine-dining restaurants to men experiencing homelessness who must organize their days around the schedules of soup kitchens. Now he brings his research to bear on the biggest factors influencing the food choices, not just of Black Jacksonians, but African Americans across the USA. The phrase ‘You are what you eat’ gains new poignance in this fascinating study, as Ewoodzie demonstrates how “foodways”—food availability, choice, and consumption—vary greatly even between the poorest groups in society. Why is it that the ‘chronically homeless’ have more access to food than those who find themselves temporarily on the streets? How have changes to state welfare created a generation gap, where children are more likely to go hungry than their pre-Clinton-era parents? These questions—informed by the people Ewoodzie met during his time in Jackson—set us on the first part of the journey towards a food future which is fairer for all.
Originally published at al.nd.edu.