Theses Master's

Tracing Food as a System of Oppression from Contemporary U.S. Food Apartheid Back to the US-North American Slave Era

Epperson, Rhea

In a world where human rights violations occur daily, there is, unfortunately, no shortage of ways in which individuals are tortured. For the Black community, their horrendous experiences of being abused by Western hands began before their initial arrival to the United States in the 17th century - with their hands and ankles in shackles.

This research paper argues that the current U.S. food supply ‘weaponizes’ food against African Americans for profit; and many of the conditions -and their associated impacts- in which many poor African Americans live, which this paper claims is as food apartheid, have been the by-product of systemic and structural racism. Moreover, this research paper investigates how food has been used as a tool of oppression against enslaved people in the United States to maintain the racial hierarchy. The tracing of food regulation by juxtaposing two time periods in the United States, which have resulted in African Americans being most impacted, depicts the evolution of one system of oppression strategically utilized to benefit one race consistently.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Epperson - 2022 - Tracing Food as a System of Oppression from Contem.pdf Epperson - 2022 - Tracing Food as a System of Oppression from Contem.pdf application/pdf 625 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Koch, Pamela
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
August 10, 2022