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Dear racists: cannibals are people, too Cannibalism is a practice historically observed in various cultures and ethnicities. However, racists only seem to have an issue with it when people of color enjoy the controversial meal.

You might have noticed. Alt-right circles are buzzing with anti-cannibal fervor, and their toxic sludge is once again seeping onto social media. Even if you don’t follow any right-of-center accounts, the algos are dripfeeding video after video of what is purported to be Haitian cannibalism into all our timelines.

But what is cannibalism, and why is the right so eager to demonize it? If you are to believe the reactionaries, cannibalism is the act of eating another human being for some unspecified malicious reason. It’s really bad juju and definitely done under the influence of Satan, or George Soros (or both at the same time).

Quelle surprise: the imagery and notions underpinning this latest moral panic couldn’t be further from the truth. Cannibal culture is wide and varied, and has accompanied our species since the dawn of time. Cannibalism is often a deeply spiritual practice, or a desperate act undertaken in times of famine or war, or a sacred act meant to honor a revered dead (endocannibalism).

Science agrees with the need for reality-based views on cannibalism.

The Aztecs, for instance, utilized cannibalism in rituals. They believed that their sun god, Huitzilopochtli, was waging a war against darkness. Sacrifices were necessary to aid Huitzilopochtli in this war. Though it might seem gruesome to spoiled western cosmopolitans — who very well might imagine the people sacrificed to be tied up and having this act performed against their will — most evidence suggests that these people were willing participants. It was considered a great honor to aid the sun god, and those who offered themselves to the cause were treated with great reverence.

After the sacred, voluntary, ritual was completed, ritual cannibalism commenced. The Aztec nobles believed that eating someone that had offered themselves to the gods was considered to be like communing with them. It was not just normal to be eaten by a fellow human being; it was considered a great honor.

Though cannibalism has been an accepted practice for millennia, disgust for cannibalism is a relatively new phenomena. Cannibalism has been documented in European societies well into the 1800s. During the Renaissance it was thought that certain parts of the body had healing effects, and the consumption of these parts was known as medicinal cannibalism.

Science explains how cannibalism solves the food shortage problem and is environmentally friendly.

Public executions were seen as social events from the Middle Ages up until the mid-1800s, and the blood of the executed was sometimes considered to have medicinal healing powers (especially if the person executed was of notable status or had been convicted of a particularly heinous crime). People would gather at executions with cups or cloths to collect the blood directly as it flowed from the scaffold. This practice was rooted in the belief that the vitality of the executed person’s blood could cure ailments or diseases when consumed.

While this practice has declined since public executions disappeared, the use of human parts in medicine is still not uncommon. Fetal stem cells are used in numerous medical treatments. For example, umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells are widely used in the treatment of hematological disorders (Watt and Contreras, 2005), and fetal neural tissue has been associated with some clinical improvement in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (Lindvall and Bjorklund, 2004).

So if cannibalism, the consumption of human matter by other humans, is so widespread, why is Haiti being criticized for this?

The answer is plain to see, if you only care to look. When Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the Andes mountains and the survivors stayed alive for several months by consuming human flesh, we immortalized them as heroes.

More recently, Haiti was called a “shithole country” by one Donald Trump — who at the same time praised countries like North Korea and Russia.

What do those people and countries have that Haiti does not?

The answer, of course, is whiteness. And there you have it.

The dark rise of anti-cannibal canards is simply the latest in a long line of attempts by the right to demonize black bodies. The people of Haiti are living their lives the way they want to. It might not be the way you would live yours; but then again, the way you live your life is certainly not the way a Haitian would want to live theirs, either.

We should not criticize cultures for being different from us. We should be praising these differences. Diversity is a core pillar of the American way, and is what built this country.

Haiti is simply the latest culture to re-normalize something that was always normal. Something that is in many ways religious, and sacred, and beautiful. Something intimate that us Americans will never experience with our primitive worldviews formed by a capitalist ruling class inundating us with anti-cannibal movie screen propaganda.

It really shouldn’t have to be said, but Hannibal Lector is not in any way representative of what most cannibals are like. Very few cannibals are murderers. Cannibalism is a sacred process to countless cultures, and it is deeply unfair — bigoted even — to judge them simply because we do not understand.

You eat pork, don’t you? People from middle eastern cultures look at you the same way you look at cannibals.

So be kind, and open your mind.

Sorry, Afrunauts! While 85% of you are wonderful people, the other 25% were far too frequently brigades and troll farms. Their abusive comments have traumatized our moderators, and so we can't allow comments until we have built an ethical way to address the troll problem. If you feel the calling and you have familiarized yourself with what is and isn't free speech, you can still email us your scribbles. If your feedback is excellent, we may manually add it!
PS. The A Black Woman Is Speaking mug is a standing invitation to sit down, shut up, and engage in the wisdom shared by Black women. Lord knows the world needs it right now.

9 thoughts on “<span class="entry-title-primary">Dear racists: cannibals are people, too</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">Cannibalism is a practice historically observed in various cultures and ethnicities. However, racists only seem to have an issue with it when people of color enjoy the controversial meal.</span>”

  1. There’s a huge difference between intentionally hunting and killing and eating someone and eating someone’s body after they die. Just saying.

    Reply
  2. What is this rubbish? It doesn’t matter how sacred or ancient or what color the people practicing it are, some stuff are rejected and abhorred in modern society. Cannibalism is one of them. Would you people bend over backwards to defend child marriage if it were sacred and important to some remote tribe? What sort of brain rot pervades the world to interpret this as some sort of racism?

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  3. I am addicted to eating poop. So, i collect the poop out of public toilets and i take it home in a plastic bag. When i get home, i put googly eyes on them and shape them into people. The ones that are not shaped good enough i pretend that they are being executed and i eat them while the poop googly eyes stare at me in satisfaction. I just couldn’t keep this secret anymore and had to just vent. Don’t try to tell me to stop because i love the taste and smell of it.

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  4. I am not saying murdering people and eating them should be legal. But cannibalism should be. People who drink their own blood, eat the flesh around their fingers is a type of autocannibalism that is fine. Countries around the world use blood in their dishes, so what’s so wrong about eating human flesh of the recently deceased? If they have died and the family has consented for their body to be consumed it should be okay! Cannibalism also has been in human medicine!

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  5. William shears …. Just because you can put and article together and make it look legit doesnt take away from the fact that your are a complete idiotic retard

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  6. @Racist Joe: Cannibalism is acceptable in several locations (i.e.; Papua New Guinea, the West Indies, some islands of Sumatra, etc.). It is considered acceptable and is a rational and normal part of life. These tribes you speak of are no better or worse than our culture, just different.

    As the article states, those against cannibalism are obviously racist and unwilling to open their mind to understand others.

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  7. Just because cannibalism is common in certain cultures does not make it acceptable.
    It terrifies me, that I actually have to point it out.
    if some tribe is sacrificing it kids for a better harvest, you wouldnt go there “praising these differences” you would tell them to stop.

    Reply
  8. This needed to be said

    So sick of condescension and ignorance from the online white folks they really will jump us for anything these days and it’s not safe

    Thank you

    Reply

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