Animal Studies Journal


This article analyzes why milk has been chosen as a symbol of racial purity by the ‘alt-right’. Specifically, this article argues the alt-right's current use of claims about milk, lactose tolerance, race, and masculinity can be connected to similar arguments originally made during the19th century against colonialized populations and immigration groups. In the 19th century, colonizing populations classified colonized populations as ‘effeminate corn and rice eaters’ because of their supposed lack of consumption of meat and dairy. This article argues that a similar practice continues today. It also argues that there is a relationship between the dietary racism ideas popularized by the alt-right and similar ideas published in academic journals, taught in some college classrooms, and reproduced in mainstream publications such as The Economist and PBS. In conclusion, this article documents a pattern between an earlier time in which anxiety over falling wages and increasing domestic immigration focused on issues of meat and dairy consumption and current anxiety over stagnant wages, fears over immigration, and a reassertion of the consumption of milk and dairy as a proxy reassertion of white privilege.