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Are You Racist If You Avoid MSG?


MSG—the preservative monosodium glutamate used in many Asian foods—is not bad for you.  And if you’ve been avoiding MSG, then you’re a racist and afraid of other cultures.

That, at least, is the high-profile message being thrown around on major venues such as CNN by activists behind the so-called “Redefine CRS” campaign.  


The activists (who are sponsored by Asian food corporations) are evidently correct about one thing: MSG is not bad for you, even if consumed regularly.  That’s a widespread misconception in Western societies.


But are you a racist for avoiding or limiting MSG?  Political correctness gets used to push many agendas these days, but this is one where the train comes completely off its rails.

The most common source of MSG in Western cultures is Chinese food.  In the new “Redefine CRS” campaign, CRS stands for “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”—an imaginary malady defined by symptoms such as dizziness and heart palpitations among those who consume lots of MSG.


The ridiculousness of this argument becomes clear on closer inspection.  Today, via an illegal trade worth billions of dollars annually, Chinese consumers are stripping the natural world of much of its wildlife.


Tigers, elephants, rhinos, pangolins, sharks, primates, jaguars, myriad plants, and hundreds of other species, many endangered, have declined precipitously because of illegal poaching for Chinese boutique foods, medicines, sex aids, and trinkets. 


Are the Chinese racist for gobbling up our wildlife and disrupting our ecosystems with their rampant illegal trade?


Of course not.  China’s authoritarian government, which tolerates most illegal wildlife trade, deserves our criticism not for being racist, but for knowingly running roughshod over our homelands and native ecosystems to sustain its massively damaging global trade in blood, bones, and feathers. 

At ALERT, we urge you to avoid Chinese products made from native timbers or wildlife—loudly and stridently.

But not because you’re a racist.  Because you care about our natural world.



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