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Ponderer983's avatar

An observation about Whole Foods...warranted?

Asked by Ponderer983 (6416points) December 6th, 2010

I stopped in Whole Foods today and I noticed a large percentage of the people shopping in there were black. This Whole Foods is not in an area with a large black population, so I am curious to know if there is a reason why this happened. Have other people noticed the same thing at their local Whole Foods? Or is this just an unjustified observance?

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23 Answers

mrlaconic's avatar

just a coincidence? i have three whole foods in my general area and they have a wide mix of people.

Jeruba's avatar

I haven’t noticed any particular demographic patterns among the shoppers I see at Whole Foods in my area of Northern California.

lillycoyote's avatar

Does it matter?

Response moderated
Soubresaut's avatar

Maybe you were just noticing skin color today more than usual? My brain’ll do that all the time. Some days I just notice one specific thing more than anything else. I’ll think wow, is it always this way? Sometimes I look for it on purpose the next day, and it’s exactly the same, or it’s not.

I’m not sure what difference it makes in the grand scheme of things, though… I think it was probably a normal day: some amount of people in the area decided they needed groceries and to go to Whole Foods to get them. Perhaps more of them than usual happened to have darker skin today.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Ponderer983 Have other people noticed the same thing at their local Whole Foods?


DominicX's avatar

The Whole Foods around here is in Redwood City, which has a large Hispanic population, but I mostly see white people there. Then again, I don’t shop at Whole Foods much. It’s Safeway and Trader Joe’s for me.

And I’m not sure what the point of this is. Either A) you don’t want those damn negroes in your whites only store or B) black people like organic food? :\

FutureMemory's avatar

@DominicX Maybe black folks are rare in those parts. Yee haw!

cookieman's avatar

No – but I have noticed the majority of people shopping there are in the black.

they don’t call it Whole Paycheck for nuthin’

lillycoyote's avatar

Come to think of it, lately I’ve noticed a lot of tiny, green skinned people with big bald heads, big eyes and only four fingers on each hand buying a lot of black, blackish, dark or dark brown foods like licorice, eggplant, plums, ingredients for blackened catfish, chocolate, etc. What do you think that means? Should I be worried? Should I make note of it? Should I contact the authorities? I live in an area that doesn’t have a big green-skinned, bald-headed, big-eyed, four-fingered population. I don’t know what to do!

FutureMemory's avatar

@lillycoyote Good thing you posted here on Fluther requesting assistance!

lillycoyote's avatar

@FutureMemory I know!! Thank god for fluther or my important and relevant observations about these tiny green skinned people invading my local ungreenskinned neighborhood grocery store would have gone completely unreported, unnoticed and unremarked upon.

Funny, but my spellchecker doesn’t recognize “ungreenskinned” as a real word. Should I be worried about that? Who should I report it to? Or should I only start to worry when my spell checker recognizes greenskinned or ungreenskinned or nongreenskinned as real words? Yes, maybe nothing is really either good or bad until your spellchecker knows it. Yes, I’m convinced of that now. Don’t worry about something until your spellchecker recognizes it. I feel better already.

marinelife's avatar

@Ponderer983 Why do you care?

I think it is probably because Whole Foods, as a chain, is not as prevalent in all areas. I have to drive a distance to mine. I imagine the people that you saw might have had to drive a distance to yours.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Mine is predominately white, probably because the part of town its in is a rich, mostly white part of town. If they put one in a part of town that was more diverse, I might see more diversity in that one.
Side note: I don’t think you’re racist. I think you’re asking an interesting question about race and the relationship it has with societal constructs.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well most people in my Whole Foods are white because it’s smack in the middle of the city and it’s expensive and mostly people who live in the city (Manhattan) and can afford it shop there. Most people of color here in Brooklyn have never heard of Whole Foods (at least in neighborhoods where I worked re: physical activity and nutrition improvements) and it would be awfully inconvenient for them to travel to Union Square to get to it and everyone knows the unspoken reason why there is no Whole Foods in Brooklyn.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Except those of us who don’t live in NY, so you should speak it…

wundayatta's avatar

My whole foods is in a mostly white area of town, but there are plenty of black people there. The people you see with shopping carts you pull along while you walk home are white. But most people come in cars, and can come from anywhere around the city. I drive about fifteen-twenty minutes to get there.

I don’t know how far others drive. There are a lot of middle-class blacks in my town, and they seem to be just as up on healthy food as anyone else, judging by what they say at the checkout counters—perhaps even more health conscious than others.

I don’t think they fit any stereotypes people might have of urban blacks. I don’t think the neighborhood demographics matter so much for Whole Foods because people are willing to travel a long distance to get there. Probably the thing that matters most is how affluent you are or how important organic food is to you, or how important large, perfect vegetables are to you. They still come from California or Chile, anyway. The fruits and vegies, I mean.

Ponderer983's avatar

Many of you are wondering why I asked this question and if it matters. There is a reason why (not that it matters to me…I don’t care if there are mostly blacks, hispanics, green men, aliens, etc.) Just a few contradictions came into my head when I compared the Whole Foods motto and black society.
(CAUTION: this may sound like I am stereotyping, but these are facts, though generalizations))
1. The black race is notorious for having many health issues related to food consumption (ie high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, etc) to which eating processed foods all contribute. I found it odd to see so many black people buying the kinds of organic food that Whole Foods sells because of this.
2. The money factor. Whole Foods is expensive. Hell, I can’t even afford it (I just ran in for one thing cause I was right there). I was expecting to see (also because of the area I live in) rich, white people with their children running around.

Like I said, it seemed like a contradiction to me. I am all for black people trying to eat better quality foods and having the money to spend for it, but it just struck me as a bit odd. Just like if I walked into an ethnic grocery store and saw mostly people not of the race that it caters to. Let’s face it – Whole Foods is kind of a WASPS grocery store.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@papayalily Nobody cares if the black and hispanic poor people eat well.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Oh, ok. Now I’m with you.

boxer3's avatar

is this a real question?

FutureMemory's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That’s nonsense. Whole Foods, like any other company, opens their stores where they think they can make money. They don’t care if the customers are black or white or whatever else. All money is green. Also, suggesting that non-whites don’t “know” about eating healthy since there aren’t health food stores in their neighborhoods is really racist. The biggest food co-op in NYC is in Brooklyn; when I shopped there, plenty of the members were black.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FutureMemory Well, they know money is where the white people are, even if all they care about is money. And many people don’t know about specific nutrition but health messages about nutrition aren’t targeted, on purpose, to certain races and neighborhoods (which is racist) and while anyone can learn and find out, that’s just not reality – I’m one of those people who doesn’t put all the responsibility for knowledge about health and nutrition on the individual and believes there are specific power dynamics at play. Obviously, plenty of people of color know about nutrition but they have specific access and privilege which white people (unfairly) often have more of.

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