The Privilege Chat – and the ethos of this blog

Since this blog is young, it’s time to talk privilege.

Privilege absolutely impacts food. It’s ingrained super deep: from what foods we’re aware of, to what we choose to make versus pay for, to the level of service we receive, even how we mentally judge if a menu item is a ‘good value.’ We aren’t actively thinking about them all the time, sure, but that’s the background impacting all our decisions.

As a food writer and YouTuber, I’m coming at my work with a high level of privilege. I’m white, cis-bodied, straight-passing, and within the conventional standards of attractiveness and body shape. I dress solidly middle class, and my illnesses are fairly invisible. I have a graduate degree. And all of that will absolutely impact the quality of service I receive at restaurants and hotels. And ignoring that impact is unfair to those who will not receive similar treatment.

In addition, I’m kind of a known entity in Seattle food. (Maybe not on this blog, but definitely on Instagram.) I’m not The Seattle Food Writer, but I can’t be anonymous, especially with my work on YouTube, and that further impacts things.

So, in order to do my best for you here on this blog and beyond I’m posting my goals here. And if I waver, here’s where I’ll come back to. My goals are:

To follow the guidelines recently posted by Soleil Ho on words she will not be using at the Chronicle. I embarrassingly hadn’t even considered the impact of ‘authentic’ until now, and while I already strive to be more inclusive and aware in my writing there’s clearly room to do better.

To be aware of my privileges as much as possible. I will continue to evaluate my work from how my privilege impacts my experiences. I will continue to listen and search for voices of color and queerness and everyone who has different privilege than myself. I will continue to highlight those voices first when I can.

To try to get outside opinions about restaurants from others who have different levels of privilege before releasing a review. While I have some awareness of some accessibility limitations in a restaurant, it’s been a while since I was in a wheelchair or a knee scooter and my memories are imperfect. And I have definitely heard about different levels of service experienced by my friends because they weren’t white. I can’t always get that information before releasing content, so if I hear something after a release I’ll retest and/or add an update.

To bring others to a restaurant or experience to get a second opinion when it’s an option. They will be named only if they are comfortable being named.

To continue to follow the guidelines set by the Association of Food Journalists. It’s a bit of a mess for a public Instagrammer and YouTuber, but I’ll follow it wherever possible. Because restaurants deserve the chance to shine, and a bad day on their end doesn’t mean they should be pulled from the running for recommendations. I will also continue to announce when I’m doing first impressions versus full reviews.

Okay, intense stuff over! Back to silly ideas involving onigiri.

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