One of the tenets of capitalism is that the person or business with the best idea wins. The oft-unspoken underbelly of this tenet is that all ideas aren’t respected equally. The history of this country has shown that concepts created by Black and other marginalized groups have frequently been co-opted or straight stolen by the more privileged.
We like to think this behavior stopped in the early 1900s or so. But even in 2020, there are countless examples. We talk about the Kardashians every week. Now, we have an example of White women in another industry doing the same.
This year, Simon and Schuster published a book of recipes from authors Katherine Alford and Kathy Gunst called Rage Baking The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury and Women’s Voices.
The idea behind Rage Baking is that women can use baking as a constructive way to express their collective frustrations—particularly since the 2016 election.
On the about page, she explains the concept, “If life hands you lemons, make lemon bars.”
“Ragebaking is a form of meditation. A way to center yourself and others in the midst of Supreme F**kery and turn anger or sorrow into something beautiful. It’s about transformation and renewal. It’s harnessing fury to tap into the power of home and hearth and holding space for healing and community. It’s making some good sh*t out of some bulls*t, plain and simple.
I’m ragebaking to combat hate, keep my stress levels down and put some good in the world. Seriously. There’s been a lot more ugliness lately and it’s my aim to kill it with kindness, real talk, and loving on folks with baked good aromatherapy and general celebration as much as I can. I want to remind folks that we can put sweetness and goodness in the world whether it takes the form of passing out cookies or just making a daily choice to not be a sh*tty human being. I want to remind folks that there are ways to nourish ourselves and others and that it’s possible for us to all get fed- bellies, hearts and minds.
I think, now, more than ever, it’s important for us to be in the same room with one another, breaking bread and listening.”
Jones has stated that Rage Baking is her response to the racial injustice she’s witnessed throughout the years in this country.
Sadly, the very thing she created to respond to racism was co-opted in the age-old racist practice of ignoring a Black woman’s voice and stealing her idea for profit.
We reached out to Jones to share her thoughts on the matter but she said that she’s limited in what she can say at this time.
But her site provides very detailed context surrounding her thoughts about the book’s publication. Including that fact that one of its authors, Kathy Gunst, followed her on social media
“Being black in America means you’re solid in the knowledge that folks don’t give a true flying f**k about you or anyone who looks like you… Kitchens are sacred, powerful spaces to me. They are places of history and healing, of community and connection, of resistance and revolution, of transformation and truth…While there is some diversity among the book’s contributors, the marketing material on the publisher’s website ties the need, or desire, for rage baking to the 2016 election and does not mention racial justice at all… It’s been really hard to see Rage Baking whitewashed with a tinge of diversity, co-opted, monetized and my impact erased and minimized under the veneer of feminism and uplifting women’s voices.”
Jones concludes her post asking very pertinent questions.
If the intent of the book was to celebrate women’s voices, why wasn’t hers included or even acknowledged?
She states that if Simon and Schuster wants to make this right, not only would she like to be credited, she wants to see “sizable donations made to the Ali Forney Center, The Brooklyn Community Ball Fund, and The Campaign Against Hunger.”
In her blog, Jones wrote what perhaps is the take away from all of this.
“I am not at all surprised that my kindness has been overshadowed by the actions of well-intended white women. That my rage and pain has been claimed as their own and their voices centered, uplifted and prioritized. It just demonstrates whose rage is most valued and who is allowed to express it freely.”