A conversation about race, daily life practices, food and power
This article focuses on the doing and undoing of race in daily life practices in Denmark. It takes the form of a dialogue between two women, a heterosexual Muslim woman of color and a lesbian white woman, who discuss and analyze how their daily life, e.g. interactions with their children’s schools and daycare institutions, shape their racial and gendered experiences. Drawing upon black feminist theory, postcolonial theory, critical race and whiteness studies, the two women illustrate inclusions and exclusions in their society based on gender, race, class and sexuality – and especially pinpoint to how these categories intersect in processes of inclusion and exclusion. The article argues that the lack of a Nordic vocabulary for the term ‘race’ – as ‘race’ is associated with biological racism which dominated in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, and hence is viewed as a historical phenomenon left behind – prevents contemporary people from addressing existing patterns of racial discrimination, inclusion and exclusion in their daily lives, as well as from connecting their contemporary struggles to historical struggles and inequalities. Furthermore, they illustrate how food, class and race intersect with an analysis of the so-called New Nordic Kitchen, exemplified by the world famous Copenhagen restaurant NOMA. The article interprets the New Nordic Kitchen, which has become very popular in the Nordic countries in recent years, as a culinary project performing whiteness, and connects the New Nordic Kitchen’s obsession with ‘the authentic Nordic’ with historical race science in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
European Journal of Women's Studies, 2014, Vol 21, Issue 1, p. 25-42