Labour MP Dawn Butler has accused chef Jamie Oliver of “cultural appropriation” over his ‘Jerk Rice’ product.
In a Tweet to Oliver, Butler said: “I’m just wondering do you know what Jamaican jerk actually is? It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products. Levi Roots should do a masterclass. Your jerk rice is not ok. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.”
Cultural appropriation is considered to be dominant cultures profiting from the traditions and produce of other cultures while those cultures are not able to do the same.
In the case of Oliver it is thought that the chef was using the term to market a product which bears little relation to the Jamaican jerk tradition which usually refers to a method of cooking meat and fish.
Many people have questioned Butlers comments, saying that she is implying that Oliver cannot cook Jamaican dishes and by extrapolation is inferring that people should only cook dishes from their own culture.
After reading Dawn Butler’s attack on Jamie Oliver’s cultural appropriate of jerk rice I must own up to the fact that I cooked a Lancashire hotpot last night despite being from Kent.
— Phil Patterson (@phil11936) August 20, 2018
Conservative MP Neil O’Brien said in response to Butler’s comments: “If Jamie Oliver isn’t allowed to make jerk chicken because it’s cultural ‘appropriation’ she’s going to go mad when she finds out about Jamie’s Italian.”
Those in favor of Butler say it is the way he has claimed to make Jamaican food rather than the fact he has made Jamaican food that means it is ‘appropriation’, adding it is not “respectful of the sociocultural history of jerk”.
Is it Jamaican/West Indian peoples fault that the Italians didn’t speak up if they had a problem??
Jamie Oliver needs to stay in his lane or at the very least know what the fuck he’s talking about before butchering recipes and selling them as his own. https://t.co/1SiPcSgKGJ
— miss yami (@NotYamYam) August 20, 2018
Dawn Butler didn't say Jamie Oliver shouldn't make Jamaican food, she said that he didn't know what jerk was, and it wasn't just a word to put in front of a dish to sell it. It contained certain ingredients. I suspect some people didn't read her tweet.
— Carolyn (@tweetycakes78) August 20, 2018