Weekend Parting Shot: Sushi Isn't Racist. Who Knew?

Happy Friday, Gentle Readers,

I am off on a mini-sabbatical for a few days. We all need a break once in a while, and I’m due for one.  I shall return to these pages on Thursday, hopefully relaxed and refreshed. Well, refreshed, maybe. Since the news landscape will likely not change during my absence, I doubt relaxation will be an option.

Who’s up for sushi?

There are a couple of good sushi places not far from me. I enjoy sushi. I am by no means a sushi connoisseur or fanatic, but it makes for a nice break from the dinner routine now and then. After all, man cannot live on cheeseburgers alone, although I came close to proving that he could during my bachelor days. For the record, I love Indian food, too.

Of course, the danger in going out for sushi or enjoying any food that is not a part of one’s own ethnic group is that one runs the risk of being labeled a colonizer, an appropriator, or a racist. I didn’t know we were still doing racism. I thought everyone was transphobic or Islamophobic. Oh well. It’s all pretty much the same at this point, anyway. If you’re guilty of one “-ism,” you’re guilty of all of them.    

But now and then, sanity prevails, and those who want to somehow benefit from or marinate in accusations of racism are yanked back into reality. For an example of that we go to England, of all places. 

The Telegraph reports that an employment tribunal in London has ruled that a white provost at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London was not being racist when she told a Japanese professor that she and her family enjoy sushi. Keep in mind that this incident dates back to 2021. The tribunal found that Provost Claire Ozanne was only attempting small talk when she remarked to Professor Nana Sato-Rossberg that she and her family liked sushi and proceeded to recommend a restaurant. Sato-Rossberg, who is Japanese, likened the comment to someone telling a German that they liked sausage. She has also accused Ozanne of being “unconsciously biased” in the past. Whatever that is. I suppose that meant Sato-Rossberg was probably looking for an axe and a place to grind it. 

Sato-Rossberg took her gripe to the school, which dismissed her complaint following an investigation. She then sought relief through an employment tribunal, which was similarly unmoved. Employment Judge Jillian Brown noted that in 18 months, the topic of sushi came up once, and that was only because Ozanne wanted to find a point of common interest with Sato-Rossberg and never said anything derogatory about Japan. Furthermore:

The tribunal concluded that, even if [Prof] Ozanne’s comments in this regard were partly because of [Prof Sato-Rossberg’s] race … they were not a detriment, nor harassment.

 The tribunal decided that [Prof] Ozanne mentioning a sushi restaurant and her family’s love of sushi was not a detriment because a reasonable person would not consider themselves at a disadvantage when a manager, trying to be friendly and find common ground, was enthusiastic about food from the person’s country of origin.

 A reasonable person would not take offence at such complimentary and friendly words.

In this case, [Prof] Ozanne’s words were not even ‘unfortunate’. They were not reasonably seen as hurtful or misjudged. On the contrary, [Prof Sato-Rossberg’s] objection reflected [her] own hypersensitivity and predisposition to find fault with Ms Ozanne. (sic)

So there is your win for the week.

Wine recommendation

Because I have a plane to catch, and airport drinks are expensive.

For some reason, the local liquor store was suddenly flooded with one brand this week. I don’t think the state has case lot sales on wine, but you never know. So I had to hunt a little bit to find something new. Meet the 2022 Doña Paula Estate Malbec. 

This is another high-altitude Malbec from the Eco Valley in Argentina. It retails for around $13 and consistently scores high with most reviewers. This Malbec has a great balance in acidity and leans, but doesn’t rush toward dryness and tannins. It has just enough of an edge to make it a good Malbec, but not enough to turn off someone who doesn’t enjoy dry wines. It is heavy on the dark berries with a bit of oak, and a hint of pepper. This wine is a great choice, given the price point and the ratings.

That’s it for me. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you next week.

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