Soul Food Is Killing Black America

Stanley Crouch, NY Daily News, December 26, 2011

“Soul Food Junkies” is a documentary being made by Byron Hurt; he is presently raising money to finish it. My own nickname for him is “Braveheart” because of his willingness to bring complexity to issues that affect black people first, but are bound to become troubling to the country at large because they are not the result of genetics. They are the result of exploitation or misunderstanding.

Hurt first deserved his “Braveheart” nickname after doing a surprisingly serious film about the decadence at the center of the hip-hop phenomenon. It was called “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes.” Though an admitted fan of early hip hop, Hurt was disturbed as the so-called music moved away from community awareness and was taken over by hustlers who reached to the bottom of the barrel for profit-making material that could be placed on the auction block of popular culture.


The one Hurt is now working on–“Soul Food Junkies”–may hit the target much more quickly when finished and released. {snip}


{snip} There is no joke in the film about the frightening degrees of black illness from consuming too much ethnic food dripping in grease and containing too much fat, sugar and butter. Worst of all, people consume too many ethnic imitations in fast food places that are so prevalent in black and Latin neighborhoods.

Thus, minorities contract diabetes and suffer from heart diseases in disproportionate numbers. That alone costs the American economy enough to be concerned about what people eat and why.



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  • Urban Teacher

    I’ve always wanted to try soul food, but I’ve never had the nerve to go where it is sold.

  • highduke

    A great diet for laborers or bodybuilders because physical activity burns calories, builds muscle and cancels out the cholestorol. A bad diet for modern life, especially the life of a nappy-haired welfare queen.

  • stevn

    But I thought it was scientifically proven to be a fact that it is racism that cause negative health effects in the minority populations???

  • Anonymous

    Eat what you want, just don’t ask me to pay the medical expenses.

  • Lauren

    Urban Teacher, I will tell you about Soul Food.

    I HATE it. It’s a big reverse-snobbery thing down here in Mississippi. The same white snobs who eat that garbage are former Frat Rats and Suzies who listen to the Blues stations, drink, smoke, go to Football games, squander fortunes on hunting… basically, they were kids raised by their maids, and a few Yankee ‘intellectuals’ who were taught that classy ‘intellectuals’ lionize black ‘culture’. You know, the kind of people who don’t become nauseated when “Walkin in Memphis” is played on the grocery store’s Muzak. In other words, Soul Food (when consumed by whites) is for Conformist Narcissists.

    The key tenets of Soul Food are Sugar, Lard, and ridiculously long cooking time. Basically, Soul Food is SLOP. Vegetables are cooked until they are a thick brown slime. Barbecue is coated with sugary brown slime that to me looks just like what came out of our black field hand’s mouths, when they would spit Tobacco juice all over the place. I thought that’s what color their saliva was, until I was nearly grown.

    The side of my family who were raised by maids carry on about Soul Food. They are also the alcoholics, the smokers, the fast drivers, the gamblers, the ones who lost family fortunes…the ones who act like black people, because they were raised by black people.

    I have said prayers of thanks for my having been too poor to have been raised by maids. Instead, I grew up learning how to keep house (my newly-bankrupted Grandmother, who kept me when my Parents were at work, and I figured out how to keep house together). And, because we were too poor to have a ‘cook’, I grew up on the far healthier gourmet cooking that white Southern ladies do. (Buy a copy of the Jackson Junior League’s classic, ‘Southern Sideboards’, if you want Southern food that is actually good.)

    But I’d go and play at ‘rich’ friends’ houses and see the brown slop their maids cooked. It all looked like spit to me. Yech. Being poor isn’t always a bad thing.

  • Tom S.

    I personally don’t believe there’s such a thing as “soul food”! I’ve eaten “soul” food many times and to me it’s nothing but good ol southern cooking. I mean, have any of you ever heard of blacks in Africa making ox tails, corn bread, mac-n-cheese, collard greens, ham hocks, pigs feet, chitlins, yams, okra, fried catfish\chicken or seafood gumbo – NO! But yet every one of these foods are considered “soul” food. So just where do you think they learned about these foods and how to cook them? IMO blacks learned about these foods and how to cook them back in the day when they worked in the “boss mans” kitchen probably from the “boss mans” wife. As usual blacks have nothing to claim as their own and instead “hi-jack” others accomplishments/inventions as their own. Before you know it, enchiladas will be considered “soul food”!

  • Anonymous

    The war against American cuisine is just another part of the PC program to criminalize every aspect of American culture. Soul food, along with most other aspects of black culture, is a corruption of white Southern traditions.

    Is “soul food” really any worse than pizza? How about Mexican food loaded down with lard? Or Chinese food loaded down with all kinds of fats?

    Just as the elites can see no other cause than white mischief as being responsible for climate change (i.e., they would never consider the pollution created by China and India as anything but benign), they can see no evil in ethnic foods.

  • Brown-Eyed Devil

    I don’t think soul food is worse than any other “ethnic” cuisine. What may be worse is traditional black folk’s food being replaced by plastic stuff from the fast food outfits you can’t get away from no matter where you live. And soul food barbecue is much less sweetened, and more savory than most people expect, I know I was surprised when I first tried it. There is nothing wrong with eating meat and animal fat. You WILL suffer deficiency disease if you avoid them altogether. It’s probably not good for non-caucasoid peoples to consume dairy, but every race has it’s favorite animal-based foods and does fine with them. I have heard that the highest rates of heart disease in the world are found amongst the populations of largely vegetarian Southern India.

    Better to eat soul food than McDonalds “thick” shakes made with potato starch and KFC Gravy made from oxidized slurry from the bottom of their deep friers. Burger King sells cartons of low-fat milk with sugar added. Just like Nature meant it to be (sarc.)

  • WR the elder

    I like barbecued spare ribs, but I’m not foolish enough to make that a regular part of my diet.

    I have to say that while many black Americans have bad diets so do an increasing number of whites. I belonged to the last generation of American children where Mom stayed home and cooked the meals, and everybody was expected to eat dinner at the same time and didn’t get dessert until they ate their peas or spinach. In those days it would have been unthinkable to serve commercial fast food like hamburgers with fries or pizza as school lunches. I have seen my own siblings’ children get obese at an early age because they were raised on fast food while both parents worked full time jobs. My generation had a healthier diet than middle class children do today. So this is a matter where both whites and blacks need to make improvements.

  • Anonymous

    For black people, every day is a holiday. My chinese coworkers eat sweet potatoes for breakfast. My black co- workers eat fully loaded breakfasts, then go out for a fried fish lunch 3 hours later. They often justify eating out because they have moocher relatives at home, so they don’t want to cook. My ex has a white friend who lives in Africa, she says her black workers are expected to share their salaries with relatives, but they’d rather not, so they use the money for alcohol instead.

  • Mr.White

    It would seem to me that soul food is the least of black America’s problems.

  • This Book of Recipes Is Worth It!

    Urban Teacher wrote:

    I’ve always wanted to try soul food, but I’ve never had the nerve to go where it is sold.

    If tihs is your dilemma, you should order “The Ebony Cookbook.” It is a collection of soul food recipies that is published by Ebony Magazine. This is a Black magazine that has been around for quite awhile. A number of years ago my wife bought a copy from a Black church lady who was promoting the recipe book.

    The recipes are some of the best you will ever find in any magazine. You will not be dissapointed. The sweet potato pie, smothered chicken and macaroni and chesse recipies are a must! The biscuit recipes are to die for as well.

    If you are apprehensive of venturing in a heavily Black or Hispanic dominated area (I can certainly understand,) this book will give you the real experience of soul food witohut having to risk your physical health in the process.

  • madison grant

    The author got in a pretty funny dig at rap when he referred to it as “the so-called music”.

    Predictably, he later blamed obesity among blacks and hispanics on fast food chains. As usual, their problems are always blamed on everyone but themselves.

  • Jeddermann.

    “are not the result of genetics”

    NO, to a certain extent this is a result of genetics! THEY metabolize food differently than whitey, especially the diary based diet which includes any item containing milk.

    That so called “soul” diet is heavy in fat which makes it taste good. And in my experience and observation Bantu people eat a diet better than whitey in the sense it is more meaty and high in protein. They over-do things but the diet of itself is not so much bad as just consumed in portions way beyond normal. A little is OK, but not a lot.

  • John Engelman

    Foods like black eyed peas and corn bread, and black or red beans and brown rice are healthful. I make macaroni with whole wheat macaroni noodles, olive oil, non fat cheddar cheese, and soy milk.

    Collard greens are nice too, just do not cook them too long, and do not put too much butter in them. Olive oil is usually a good substitute for butter. There is really no need to use lard at all. Try to get along without sugar. Use honey instead.

    The traditional black, Southern, or Hispanic diet can be healthful if you use common sense. You can get complete protein by mixing beans and grains. Use about one part beans to three parts grains. Use whole grains whenever possible. I find that whole wheat and brown rice have more flavor. Corn is a useful grain too.

    When you do use animal protein, use small amounts, get as much fat out of it as you can, and supplement it with grains.

  • Harry

    I hope KFC and McDonalds start selling “Soul Food”.

  • flyingtiger

    Damn, they discovered another racist consipracy against them! How did they figure this one out? I think we have a traitor in among us.

  • Anonymous

    Have the blacks get on line, and then go back for seconds. Eat up, there’s plenty more for you.

  • HH

    Who is doing all this “soul-food” cooking in these broken, dysfunctional Black homes? Seems to me that by “soul-food” they really mean KFC and McDonalds!

    “I’m lovin’ it” indeed…

  • Anonymous

    I thought they only ate fast food, Mcdonalds mostly.

  • Anonymous

    Is this another example of a dysfunctional culture that looks to the past for identity (food, slavery, discriminatation), and not that of the more successful cultures that plann for the future. Whites have an obsession with healthy choices. Not perfect, but its part of the culture. Certain types of food in moderation, realization of the effects of certain foods on one’s future health.

    Seems black-on-black crime includes food choices. At least in this cas the “victim” is self-selecting and voluntary.

    Be happy. Eat what gives you pleasure. You know the effects. We all die, some earlier than others.

  • norm

    At least they cannot blame whites for killing blacks with food.

  • Justin

    I am not Black but my favorite restaurant of them all is Popeye’s Chicken. The truth is that their fried chicken, biscuits, cole slaw and Cajun battered French fries have a truly unique taste that just can’t be compared to anything the other fast-food chains offer. Soul food, Cajun food and Creole food are simply variations of Southern cooking and food.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair-minded, it is not unlikely that evolved harmonies in Africa between natural food inputs and (varied) Black metabolism(s) were really ruptured by the coerced transportation of Blacks to N. America as slaves. The larger issue is how much of the contemporary American diet is grossly alien to evolved human needs and aversions. The core emphasis within literate and scientific alternative-integrative medicine is a keen

    awareness of what’s natural to the (varied) human system(s) and what is not. Sound nutrition and exercise form the core of the wellness preservation of “slow/preventive/ medicine”. By and large campus lefties, for example, eat more addictive, man-processed, ornate slop than do political realists on campus, and this reflects to a significant extent the love affair the left has with its own “war against Nature”.

  • Alexandra

    Contrary to what we’ve been told, saturated fat is not bad for you. I eat butter, cheese, and grass-fed meat constantly and I’ve been dropping weight, 2-3 pounds a week–at least.

    What’s making people fat and sick is sugar, processed foods, vegetable oils (especially soy–that can mess up your thyroid if it isn’t fermented and if it’s GM), fast food…the list goes on. Might want to check out

  • EMD

    norm said:

    At least they cannot blame whites for killing blacks with food.


    Oh yes they can..and they will.

    1) No one educated us on fats, oils

    2) Doctors are racist so we don’t “do” cholesterol checks or ANY checkups for that matter.

    3) Due to slavery, we had to make due with what we had, despite all the evidence now that suggests deep frying everything may have negative health consequences.

    They can and they WILL blame institutional racism for their dietary decisions.

    As an aside, and I’m not trying to be facetious, soul food is awful. Soul does NOT mean flavor, that’s for sure. Fried flour with a hint of chicken/fish flavor.

  • Sylvie

    I didn’t know what ‘soul food’ was until I happened to see a show entitled ‘Man Vs Food’ recently. In this show a man travels all over the USA being an idiotic glutton. Anyway, he went to a famous ‘soul food’ joint in New York (I think) and proceeded to drool over the food, gush all over the hostess and stuff himself almost senseless. The food I saw served up at this place was all deep-fried and ridiculously fatty that I couldn’t even identify what was on the plate. Huge serves too. Didn’t look too good to me.

  • Anonymous

    I live in New York City and I can tell you – ‘soul food’ isn’t the only non-White ethnic cuisine that can kill you. Chinese food (at least the swill they serve in restaurants here) is LOADED with sodium, saturated fats and calories! I remember a couple of years ago the Dept. of Health actually got on the news and warned people not to eat it! I seem to have been the only one who remembers it, though, because I see people of all stripes going into Chinese restaurants all the time.

  • John Engelman

    The group says there is no safe harbor from sodium on the Chinese restaurant menu, but it offers several tips for making a meal healthier:

    Look for dishes that feature vegetables instead of meat or noodles. Ask for extra broccoli, snow peas or other veggies.

    Steer clear of deep-fried meat, seafood or tofu. Order it stir-fried or braised.

    Hold the sauce, and eat with a fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind.

    Avoid salt, which means steering clear of the duck sauce, hot mustard, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.

    Share your meal or take half home for later.

    Ask for brown rice instead of white rice.

    There is a Chinese grocery story near where I live that sells canned vegetarian chop suey made with tofu and Chinese vegetables. I eat it with brown rice.

  • Peejan in Frisco

    Hardening of the Arteries is mostly a genetic factor. It varies more from individuals to individuals than it does from race to race.