Cornell Guest Speaker: The Food Pyramid Is Racist

USDA food pyramid
Getty/Joe Raedle

A guest speaker at Cornell University told students that the government-created food pyramid and related dietary guidelines are racist.

To the average American, the notion that dietary guidelines could be racist is absurd. However, it’s not so absurd to Dr. Morton Mills, who recently spoke at Cornell University about how the food pyramid discriminates against America’s minority groups.

Mills speech was covered in a report entitled “Policy expert explains that yes, food can be racist,” by the Ithaca Times. It covers Mills’ thoughts on government-issued health and diet guidelines such as the food pyramid, which is often displayed in school classrooms. The food pyramid is a triangular diagram that represents how many servings the average person should each eat day from each food group. So how exactly is the food pyramid, which was introduced by the USDA in 1992, racist?

“The premise is simple,” the report explains, “with an absence of minority voices involved in the process, their dietary needs have been ignored in favor of recommendations that mostly benefit the white majority of the population.”

Mills argued before an Ithaca crowd that the food pyramid and other government-issued dietary guidelines are racist because they fail to account for the needs of specific minority groups.

“It turns out that when we look at minority communities within the United States there are some endemic problems that occur over and over again and are troubling,” Mills said. “If you look back at governmental policy and the way the government has dealt with minority communities throughout our history, patterns emerge that it becomes apparent can account for a lot of what we see of these endemic problems.”

During the speech, Mills also warned against the consumption of dairy products. “I look at dairy foods like crystal meth,” Mills said playfully during his speech. “It’s something you can do for fun, but it’s not necessary for your health and there’s a lot of harm in it.”


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