More on”Super Size Me and the Conundrum of Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Class for the Contemporary Law-Genre Documentary Filmmaker”

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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.  

-Regina Austin

Professor Austin’s article may be downloaded here.

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0 Responses to More on”Super Size Me and the Conundrum of Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Class for the Contemporary Law-Genre Documentary Filmmaker”

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    I think Regina Austin’s analysis makes a lot of sense. I’ve been a vegetarian for a very long time, but I ate McDonald’s french fries when they were advertised as “cooked in 100% vegetable oil,” but learned later that they were “flavored” with lard (see e.g. http://www.vegparadise.com/vegreading39.html ) so I am painfully aware of the way that corporations can lie.

    In addition, in my city and many other Southern cities, if you don’t have a car, your food options are really limited to foods provided by “convenience” stores and fast food places. Anyone who doubts this is welcome to visit and see firsthand how much they feel like walking miles to a grocery store (and then back again carrying heavy grocery bags) on busy roads that have no sidewalks, in 96 degree plus, high humidity heat.