In Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance, Bell Hooks (1998) speak about the ‘Other’ and how race and ethnicity become commodified as resources for pleasure. hooks states:
“Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture. Cultural taboos around sexuality and desire are transgressed and made explicit as the media bombards folks with a message of difference no longer based on the white supremacist assumption that “blondes have more fun.” The “real fun” is to be had by bringing to the surface all those “nasty” unconscious fantasies and longings about contact with the Other embedded in the secret (not so secret) deep structure of white supremacy” (181).
In Western culture, ethnocentric statements are pervasive and often overlooked. This is especially pervasive in
Hooks states, (1998), “it is not African American culture formed in resistance to contemporary situations that surfaces, but
nostalgicevocation of a “glorious” past. And even though the focus is often on the ways that this past was “superior” to the present, this cultural narrative relies on stereotypes of the “primitive,” even as it eschews the term, to evoke a world where black people were in harmony with nature and with one another,” (188).
Inherently the problem is that even in mass media that attempts to ‘embrace’ all cultures, what they achieve instead is driving cultures further apart. These films inadvertently reinforce negative cultural connotations and oppression of the “other” through glorifying the past and positioning superiority as consuming the other.
Hooks, Bell. “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance.” Eating Culture, State University of New York Press, 1998, pp. 181–199.