Last night Bluestem noted that Hormel enjoyed record profits despite the avian flu pandemic; this
morning we read in the Financial Times article, Peanut butter trumps turkey woes at Hormel, that Skippy rescued the bottom line.
Readers wouldn't know that the peanut butter sector is doing well if they were to visit our favorite venue in Minnesota for unintentional stand-up comedy, the official Minnesot 7th Congressional District Republican Party Facebook page.
Pinned to the top of the page so we won't miss it, they'll find this August screed:
Legendary Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich is now RACIST!
The Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich has now been judged Racist by a Progressive/Socialist Principal, Verenice Gutierrez, of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland, Oregon. Like our page if you also think this is overstepping the bounds of Political Correctness. It seems that White Bread is something akin to “White Privilege”, as reported by the Conservative Post, and Gutierrez wants to eliminate all things that relate this coarse thinking (conservativepost.com).
So the PB & J Sandwich, which is wholesome nutrition for kids and a lot of fun to make and eat, is being taken off the School’s Lunch Menu so it will no longer offend certain Minorities as Somali or Hispanic Students. . . .
The post then goes on to champion the admirable work of brilliant botanist George Washington Carver (who discovered hundreds uses of the peanut and other plants, though not peanut butter itself: indeed, the page admin's own source notes this, crediting the Incas with peanut butter).
Unfortunately, the need to flood outrage over political correctness has gotten the better of the page administrator's critical thinking skills (and those of the 21 readers who have so far shared the outrage). The story of "racist peanut butter and jelly sandwiches banned" was debunked back in 2012 by Polifact Oregon, with the Snopes.com Urban Legends site ruling it false more recently in June 2015 as the fodder continues to have a life of its own.
Polifact Oregon judged the statement "Pants on Fire" back in 2012 in Is Portland Schools spending half a million dollars to declare the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich racist?, concluding after an analysis:
How fair is it for pundits to take a news story that includes the word racism in the first paragraph and boil that down into a headline about a racist sandwich?
The Education Action Group says it’s fair game, given the story and the fact that an educator singled out the sandwich in a lesson about cultural competency. But come on. Read the original story. Gutierrez is quoted as suggesting to staff: "Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?" That’s not an indictment of the sandwich.
Portland Public Schools did not spend half a million dollars to label the sandwich "racist." The principal never called the sandwich racist. The Portland Tribune never said the principal called the sandwich racist. And yes, we don’t usually weigh in on lunch, but who could resist? The statement is inaccurate and silly.
We rate the statement Pants on Fire.
More recently, in Peanut Butter Jelly Crime, Snopes.com conducted a FACT CHECK: Are Portland schools banning peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for being racist?, concluding that the claim in the Conservative Post article--shared by the Minnesota 7th Congressional District Republican Party Facebook page--is false. The entry continues:
Amid a then-current national debate over the Confederate flag (and its historical significance) the web sites Conservative Post (CP) and Joe for America published articles, both titled “Peanut Butter and Jelly Deemed Racist.” (The former was published on 24 June 2015, the latter on 25 June 2015.)
In the context of a debate regarding the reclassification of common items as potentially racially offensive, the notion that something as harmless and American as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches could be next had a ring of truth to some unsettled Americans. But extraordinary claims such as this require extraordinary substance to be considered credible, and this one had some glaring weaknesses. . .
The Snopes post concludes:
As noted, the Portland Tribune reporter who penned the original article (not Gutierrez) was responsible for the turn of phrase “the subtle language of racism.” Gutierrez’s quoted remarks simply observed that children of different cultures might not eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches commonly, at home, and therefore might be more accustomed to different foods. Not only was this brief remark made nearly three years prior to its circulation in 2015, but it was broadly misconstrued as “Portland schools ban peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for being racist” even though the remark in question in no way hinted at such a course of action.
It's also worth noting that the Gutierrez quote concerned using an example used in classroom instruction, rather than the menu in the lunchroom, and even within the context of instruction, the goal was to extend the examples, not ban PBJ sandwiches.
Have some schools banished PBJ sandwiches? Yes, but not for concerns over "political correctness." "Bluestem has discovered news coverage going back to the 1990s of peanut butter bans in schools, but those are related to peanut allergies (a source of controversy, though not one over identity politics; rather the concern is for the safety of individuals living with lethal allergies, as the New York Times reported in Nothing's Safe: Some Schools Ban Peanut Butter as Allergy Threat).
Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District is a perennial target for the NRCC to flip from Representative Collin Peterson's control. Given the silliness posted on social media by the district Republicans, Bluestem suspects that it may stay that way until Peterson's retirement.
Screengrab: Oh noes! Someone is coming for your kids PBJ sandwiches!
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