An anonymous commentor responded to the post about Professor Regina Austin’s article,”Super Size Me and the Conundrum of of Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Class for the Contemporary Law-Genre Documentary Filmmaker:”
Being black or any other race does not make it an excuse for bad eating habits. The idea that McDonald’s or other fast food chains that have more stores in poorer areas are responsible is not correct. It’s almost like putting the blame on the convenient stores for selling alcohol. It’s there, why purchase it if you don’t drink anyway? It’s the individual’s responsibility to walk in there and pay money, whether they are rich or poor.
Professor Austin responds:
I agree with two of the points you made. Fast food needs to be healthier and cleaner, and individuals should take responsibility for the food they eat. We should acknowledge, however, that without the Pelman lawsuit there would have been no Super Size Me. The lawsuit and the documentary that followed were vehicles for bringing to the attention of many Americans the need to improve the quality of fast food and to change the industry’s advertising campaigns, especially those aimed at children. In fact, the lawsuit is proceeding with regard to advertising representations made by McDonald’s. Furthermore, if consumers are to exercise personal responsibility, they need information about the nutritional value of food and choices of healthier alternatives to eat. Individual responsibility is inextricably connected to corporate social responsibility. I purposely did not link fast food restaurants to liquor stores or convenience stores selling alcoholic beverages in poor and or minority communities. Unlike alcoholic beverages, fast food has nutritional value; furthermore the relatively high quality and low cost of the fare make some fast food restaurants especially important in places where consumers have limited resources and are struggling to do the best for themselves and their children. The issues raised by the lawsuit and Super Size Me present a conundrum requiring careful analysis indeed.
Professor Austin’s article may be downloaded here.