For twenty years, John T. Edge has worked as the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), an organization based at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. The mission statement on the SFA website reads, “The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South,” and it holds events, discussions, and promotes films on black culture on their website. 

But now, people are calling on Edge to resign.

No, he doesn’t have any scandals,  controversial statements, or racist actions. In fact, the opposite is true. The New York Times reported:

He opened doors for countless writers, and became a regular commentator and writer on Southern food and culture, including in the pages of The Times and his ESPN show, “True South.” He led a charge to help rebuild a Black-owned New Orleans restaurant after Hurricane Katrina, and has honored important cooks who might otherwise have missed wide recognition.”

In other words, Edge has dedicated his life to sharing stories of black cooks and educating about the history of southern cuisine. None of this is enough for the woke mob. 

People want him to resign because of one thing: he’s white. 

Those calling for him to step down claim the SFA is built on the backs of black people and black stories. Consequently, the organization should be directed by an African American.   In a June 17 webinar, chef Tunde Wey requested for him to resign and hand his power over to a black woman.  

The webinar was a discussion over an article Edge and Wey had co-written. The article was entitled “Who Owns Southern Food?” Although it was Edge’s column, he shared his platform with Wey to discuss white privilege and focus on it’s impact in southern food culture. 

Edge responded, “I’ve been in the position 20 years, It’s time for me to get out of the way. I recognize and embrace that.” 

Through fundraising Edge has raised over $13 million to pay the salary of the director who will succeed him. 

Lolis Eric Ellie, a cofounder of the SFA, spoke about the issue. “I view him as a dear friend and a close ally, but principles don’t mean anything until they cost you something, And John T. is a man of great principle who may end up paying a great price in this context.”

His principles are not just an idea. He has used his platform to promote black voices, help those affected by hurricane Katrina, and create a more unified south. Edge should be the prime example of a white person doing their part to fight racism.

Instead people are calling for him to lose his job. 

Let the lesson be learned: you can spend your entire life attempting to preserve history and create a better nation, and still be asked to resign. 

Not everyone wants Edge to have to resign over his skin color. The first president of the SFA, Toni Tipton-Martin weighed in on the controversy. “What I’m concerned about is that systems in general that uphold white men in positions of power find themselves faced with a noisy group of young people that are calling for changes and the same kind of protesting we are seeing in the street. They are willing to burn the institution down to start fresh. I just don’t happen to be of that generation. I want us to channel this into more opportunities to develop future leaders.”

We can all agree to fight racism, without having to fight those fighting racism

Edge may lose his job over his skin color. 

Tell me again who really cares about racial progress?


Hat Tip: The New York Times, Southern Foodways

Image Credit: Gary Stevens on Flickr

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.