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Image Source: Getty / Marianna Massey

While appropriation of any part of culture is always a tricky subject - with critics arguing that appreciation is always the intention - the conversation surrounding culinary appropriation specifically is one that's often not taken seriously. "It's just food; it's not that deep," people might say. Yet for Asian Americans, and Asian American immigrants in particular, food is that deep. It's personal.

"When people take the food that you were made fun of and ostracized for, and start monetizing and profiting off of it, it's just a different level of pain."

Joanne Molinaro, who's better known as The Korean Vegan on TikTok and Instagram, said it best when explaining that there are two layers to why food might be so personal to our community - one that's common to all immigrant families, and another that only speaks to immigrants of color. "When you've been uprooted from your native ancestry, you're told you have to assimilate," Joanne told POPSUGAR. "You have to learn English, you have to wear the right clothes, you have to learn American mannerisms and American etiquette. When you start accommodating to those kinds of assimilative mandates,...


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