Cheeseless and Chastised

In May 2012, North By Northwestern published a groundbreaking article titled “Meatless and Marginalized.” It described the life of a vegan NU student struggling to survive in an oppressive meat-eating society. In a belated response to this piece, The Chronicle has discovered that Jordan Minor, one of the Chron’s own columnists, does not like cheese. We have thus decided to interview him about his struggles in what he calls “the Dairyarchy.”

 

When did you first discover that you didn’t like cheese? Is it a lifestyle choice- or were you born this way?

I figured it out when I was in the first grade. I was at a park with other kids and they were serving cheese pizza. I had a piece, and I spit it out- it was gross. It was almost a traumatizing experience.

 

What kind of discrimination have you faced as person who doesn’t like cheese?

Today, it’s not as bad since I cook for myself. But when I ate at the dining halls, choices were very limited. Here are all these cheeseburgers and pizzas. And all these people that are so excited for places like Cheesie’s – don’t they understand?

 

Do you think this society is inherently biased towards cheese?

Yes- we live in what I call a Dairyarchy. And I feel the effects of this Dairyarchy on a constant basis. The discrimination – it’s almost as if I were black or something. From milk to cheesecake to string cheese – it’s everywhere. This society is institutionally dairy-based.

 

Would you consider this a kind of microaggression?

In a way, yes, because people just assume that you like cheese. When you ask the dining hall staff to take the cheese off, it’s inconvenient- something that they’re not prepared for. It’s just weird.

 

What are some stereotypes you’ve encountered of people who don’t like cheese?

That I’m lactose intolerant or some shit like that. It’s not a physical thing- it’s an emotional thing. They won’t understand that I like certain cheese-based things, however, like Doritos or Cheese Popcorn. They just can’t comprehend that.

 

Some vegans say they are routinely called names for refusing to eat animal-based products. Have you been called any names?

Definitely. I’ve been called “prudish,” “anarchist,” “discriminatory,” “a jerk,” and “some kind of a minimalist,” all because I don’t eat cheese.

 

Do you have any sympathy for other groups of people marginalized for their food choices?

No. 

 

Next week, tune in to The Chronicle’s follow-up piece on another oppressed minority: “Left-Handed and Left Behind.”

 

Interview & photo by: Charles Rollet


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