Is Your Kitchen Racist? Loyola Prof Says Clean Pantries Are 'Status Symbols' For Rich Whites

Brittany M. Hughes | March 17, 2023
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If your kitchen pantry doesn't look like a Costco threw up all over a second-hand shelving unit, you might be a racist.

Or at least, so suggests Loyola University Associate Professor of Marketing Jenna Drenten, who wrote an entire piece claiming having an organized pantry is a hallmark of classism, racism, and sexism.

She calls it "pantry porn," in which women - presumably of the well-to-do and white varieties - take to social media to show off their hyper-organized kitchens and tidy storage spaces complete with matching pasta bins. This public display of "cleanliness," she argues, is a "status symbol" that denotes a sense of superiority - which, of course, must be related to skin color and wealth.

"Cleanliness has historically been used as a cultural gatekeeping mechanism to reinforce status distinctions based on a vague understanding of ‘niceness’: nice people, with nice yards, in nice houses, make for nice neighborhoods," Drenten writes. "What lies beneath the surface of this anti-messiness, pro-niceness stance is a history of classist, racist and sexist social structures."

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Because apparently, black or poor people can't be clean or organized, and any woman whose pantry doesn't look like a bull tore through a china shop is clearly being forced into it by a man.

In fact, even having a pantry in the first place is a relic left over from the days of slavery and servitude, she says. (And here you were just cooking dinner, never realizing your house hated poor people, you bigot!)

"This small space, tucked between the kitchen and dining room, was a marker of status – an area to hide both the food and the people who prepared it," Drenten writes. 

So if you want to make sure your dinner guests don't think you a hateful bigot, it's best to just dump your groceries on the kitchen floor like a commoner. After all, we wouldn't want to give anyone the wrong impression.