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Feb 25, 2012 07:40 PM

Ben and Jerry's Taste the Lin-Sanity

Offensive? Delicious? Discuss...

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  1. Good intentions to honor Lin. If he were Irish and they made a Baileys ice cream mixed with lucky charms would that be wrong?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bellachefa

      Yes, such a horrid combination would be wrong.

    2. I find the idea rather cute and delish rather than offensive. People really need to lighten up. Fortune cookies = Americanized Chinese food...Jeremy Lin = Americanized person of Chinese descent. I think the use of Chinese 5 spice would have drawn criticism, too...though those favors are used in Chinese cooking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: attran99

        No, I think Chinese 5 spice would be a cool idea, whereas fortune cookies is just kind of lazy.

      2. The fortune cookie in ice cream isn't racist but it's weird and shows a lack of understanding or an acceptance of racial stereotypes when communicating.

        Lets put this within personal interaction and not a product associated with a media juggernaut. Let's say you're African American or Latino and someone says, "Hey bro I love (tacos, watermelon) and I love your people."

        Why the food reference, can't they think of something better to connect with? Is that all you know about that person? Does anyone say they love mayo or white bread to caucasians?

        It might not be racist but it sure shows a lack of sophistication. As to stereotypes, unfortunately racial stereotypes in the US have been used to keep people down and that's why people are sometimes sensitive.

        16 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          Why is it a racial stereotype when fortune cookis are served in Chinese restaurants by Chinese people here in the US? Are you saying that the Chinese owners of these restaurants are perpetuating the stereotype?

          I'm Italian-American. If someone wanted to name an ice cream after me and put pieces of cannoli shell in it, I would not be offended.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Same reason why watermelon and fried chicken can be an offensive stereotype towards African American...used in a NON-food context.

            1. re: ML8000

              But this is a food context! Aren't we talking about ice cream?

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Although the Chinese invented ice cream, B&J's creation of the flavor was more about PR than food. This wasn't food and culture specific to J Lin, basketball or Asian Americans but rather PR and a form of communication by a corporation.

                As a product is this any different than Nike shoes, besides the obvious that one is food and one is not? Imagine if Nike put fortune cookies and an image of Kung Fu on the shoes they made for Lin.

                I don't think B&J meant anything by it and they apologized but you have to ask what is the message, regardless of the medium.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Because no one even knows if Lin likes Fortune Cookies. Why not ask Lin what sort of flavors he likes with his ice cream? Or do some sort of tie in to the fact he went to Harvard?

                  1. re: PenskeFan

                    And while you're at it you should also ask Jerry Garcia if he likes cherries. Oh wait, too late.

                  2. re: ttoommyy

                    Technically, we're talking about frozen yogurt. :)

                2. re: ttoommyy

                  Fortune cookies were invented by Japanese immigrants to America. Read Jennifer 8 Lee.


                  It is anything but Chinese.

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    But the Chinese/Asian immigrants that run %98 of the Chinese establishments in Eastern Mass have embraced the fortune cookie and adopted it as their own for the past 40 years. Well 40 years is all I can vouch for, but it could be longer.

                    1. re: Bellachefa

                      OK, just because they have adopted lettuce in their lettuce wraps makes lettuce Chinese too?

                      Just because it is convenient for you to remember, doesn't make it so.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        Well, to be fair, lettuce is found at almost every restaurant serving any type of cuisine, so it is pretty silly to make an analogy comparing it to something - fortune cookies - that are almost exclusively served in Chinese food places. Regardless of their origin, if you ask someone where they had their first fortune cookie, their last fortune cookie, and every fortune cookie in between, they are likely going to tell you "at a Chinese restaurant". I doubt the same could be said if you surveyed people on their lettuce eating.

                          1. re: Justpaula

                            I love conversations with people who assume their assumptions are always right and should be the way it is, no matter what the reality is, and they are devoted to defending that erroneous assumption to death. Since fortune cookies are most served at Chinese restaurants, it makes immediate sense to attribute ownership and origin to that culture. Even as many others as well as myself have stated before that the fortune cookie is an invention by the Japanese immigrants to the US. The ubiquity of fortune cookies in Chinese restaurants really has nothing to do with the Chinese cuisine, which is what B&J and some of you are assuming.

                            Should all restaurants that serve French fries be termed French? Or all IHOP be Belgian because they serve Belgian waffles?

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              "Should all restaurants that serve French fries be termed French? Or all IHOP be Belgian because they serve Belgian waffles?"

                              The point you are missing is that just about every fortune cookie served in the US is served from a Chinese restaurant. Whereas you can get Belgian waffles and French fries at many different types of restaurants. I concede that I may have made some wrong assumptions in my first few posts on this topic, but your post above is missing the mark.

                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                Pei Wei has fortune cookies.

                                And, please, don't try to convince me that's a Chinese restaurant.

                              2. re: Phaedrus

                                It is interesting that you would assume that I am misunderstood about the "ownership and origin" of fortune cookies (I am quite familiar with the history of fortune cookies), when I merely stated the fact, and it is a fact, that fortune cookies are almost exclusively served in Chinese restaurants and that lettuce is not exclusively served in Chinese restaurants - so your analogy is silly (although that last part is just my opinion). I agree that you are missing the mark with irrelevant comparisons and it strikes me as odd. Belgian waffles, french fries, and lettuce are served in a restaurants offering many varieties of cuisine. Fortune cookies are pretty much only found in Chinese restaurants, which even if it is not appropriate, is WHY people immediately associate the two - can that even be denied?

                  2. Lin-Sanity would make more sense if it were based on wacky food preferences of Lin himself. I assume that is not the case, though I may be incorrect. To me, that would make for a stronger product.

                    1. I think people should lighten up a little, Jeremy Lin is Chinese-American so what is wrong with a Fortune Cookie? I think if he was any other Asian ethnicity and they used a fortune cookie then it would be an issue.

                      26 Replies
                      1. re: gmk1322

                        Because of course all Chinese Americans like fortune cookies? Why go with stereotypes?

                        1. re: PenskeFan

                          "Because of course all Chinese Americans like fortune cookies? Why go with stereotypes?"

                          Fortune cookies are served at EVERY Chinese restaurant I've ever been to and I believe the staff and owners of those restaurants were all CHINESE. I'm not saying every Chinese person likes fortune cookies. I'm just pointing out that they are part of the Chinese-American cuisine, like it or not. Why is everyone so upset about this? Talk about going out of the way to be politically correct. Like I said earlier, would people be outraged if B&J made an ice cream for a famous Italian-American, say Robert De Niro, and they included bits of canolli shell in it?

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            Is Lin a restauranteur? He plays basketball.

                            Would people be upset if they made a watermelon flavored ice cream for Obama ? You bet they would, and they should. and if some right leaning group did that instead of progressives like Ben and Jerry, the outrage would have reached a fever pitch by now.

                            Remember when a cafeteria served Fried Chicken on Martin Luther King's day? There was certainly outrage then. Are racial stereotypes only wrong for one race, or are they in poor taste for all races?

                            I am not outraged, I am merely saying it is wrong and people need to be consistent. Either stereotypes are wrong for everyone, or they are fine. And that includes Cannoli, unless of course, DeNiro said that he loves cannoli shell in ice cream?

                            1. re: PenskeFan

                              "I am not outraged, I am merely saying it is wrong and people need to be consistent. Either stereotypes are wrong for everyone, or they are fine."

                              So TV shows like The Sopranos are wrong then? Not EVERY Italian-American likes or condones that show. But it has achieved a high place in the canon of classic TV shows.

                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                Was the Sopranos made to honor Italians?

                                1. re: PenskeFan

                                  We can take this further: The programme wasn't made to honour a single person's achievements.

                                  The flavour is problematic because it reduces Lin to his ethnicity and not to his achievements.

                                  1. re: PenskeFan

                                    No. But I was commenting on the statement, "Either stereotypes are wrong for everyone, or they are fine."

                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      Which was said in the context of the discussion, which is about a flavor of ice cream to honor someone by reducing their essence to their ethnicity (as Lizard aptly put it)

                                      1. re: PenskeFan

                                        So, stereotyping (as most of you see it in Lin's case) is a bad thing but it is OK by many people in the case of a show like The Sopranos, because it entertains a lot of people and makes the actors wealthy and famous.

                                        I'm outta here. I can't win this one.

                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                          Actually I thought the show was detestable and disgusting, but it was never made to honor anyone.

                                2. re: PenskeFan

                                  Wow. I had a reply all typed up and then I read your post, which basically echoes exactly what I wanted to stay. It's not about whether it is racist or insensitive or not. Some may think it is, others may not. But there needs to be consistent application of racial etiquette.

                                3. re: ttoommyy

                                  Fortune cookies are served at EVERY Chinese restaurant I've ever been to ...

                                  Really? Every Chinese restaurant??

                                  If that's true, you need to broaden your Chinese restaurant options.

                                  I can't remember the last Chinese restaurant that offered me a fortune cookie. Maybe Panda Express, but then I don't really consider that a real Chinese restaurant (more like a Americanized Chinese fast-food place ... Panda Express is to Chinese food as Chipotle is to Mexican food, if you will.)

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    "Fortune cookies are served at EVERY Chinese restaurant I've ever been to and I believe the staff and owners of those restaurants were all CHINESE"

                                    Please use the complete excerpt if you are going to quote me. We have about 10 Chinese restaurants in the city I live in and they all offer fortune cookies: eat in or take out.They are not part of a chain and are Chinese owned and operated from what I can see.

                                    Listen, I know stereotyping from first hand experience. I live with it every minute of every day. I would not condone this ice cream flavor if I really thought it was stereotyping.

                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      Who cares if they are owned by Chinese folks or Martians?

                                      The point is you are saying that every Chinese restaurant you've been to offers fortune cookies.

                                      That's rather astounding.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        "Who cares if they are owned by Chinese folks or Martians?"

                                        Because if a Chinese owner of a Chinese restaurant offers fortune cookies, then are they guilty of stereotyping?

                                        If I've been to 100 Chinese restaurants, I am positive 90 of them offered fortune cookies. Maybe it's a regional thing; that can be where the misunderstanding is. In the NYC metro area, it is commonplace to have fortune cookies offered after the meal and with take-out. Yes, in 2012.

                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                          Neither Joe's nor Nan Xiang offer fortune cookies.

                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            I live in the Boston area (where this flavor was available) and I haven't been to a Chinese restaurant around here that didn't offer fortune cookies at the end of the meal. I haven't been to all of them but they are very VERY common here. Of course, it's only in the last 20 years that Chinese restaurants around here stopped offering fluffy white rolls so take that for what you may.

                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              Yup, I'm from the Boston area and agree with Chris. And let's face it everyone, this was a small local batch to honor a Harvard grad, not a mass marketed nationally distributed flavour.

                                              Fortune cookies on a tray with the bill at the end of a meal are a norm in Boston and the suburbs. Fortune cookies in a tiny bag are always in the takeout bag. Some people have an odd way of twisting things to make them racially motivated. How are fortune cookies offensive but lichee not?

                                              Rather then lower themselves to this kind of dialogue, the local rep apologized for any ill concieved interpretation of their intent.

                                              Furthermore, they switched to waffle pieces because the fortune cookies couldn't stand up to the cream and went all soft.

                                              The only opinion on this subject that matters to me is Lin's.

                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                Thank you Bellachefa for stating so eloquently what I, in my heated state, could not. I promised myself for Lent that I would not let things like this bother me and to channel that energy into something more positive. I apologize to anyone who I may have offended.

                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                  Well maybe you should have done one of those self serving Lental traditions of giving up ice cream instead of trying to be a better human being...LOL!!!! Cheers and Happy Lent to you!

                                                  Oh, and until I hear otherwise, I'm willing to bet that Lin thought it was cool to be recognized for his Harvard and athletic endeavors.

                                            2. re: ttoommyy

                                              Here in NJ ( Bergen County) all Chinese take-out come with Fortune Cookies. And nobody is upset about it.

                                              1. re: RUK

                                                Pretty much everywhere I've lived, your run of the mill Chinese restaurants offer fortune cookies. It's hard for me to imagine someone arguing that they are not ubiquitous. Of course, this is the internet.

                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                  You probably haven't been to Chinese restaurants where the vast majority of patrons are Chinese. This tends to be more common in areas with large Chinese populations such as New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those restaurants tend to give you oranges (or red bean soup, etc.) instead of fortune cookies after dinner.

                                                  This whole Linsanity flavor reminds me of Bahlsen's Afrika cookies -- biscuits covered in dark chocolate. I'm surprised that people haven't made a ruckus over it yet.

                                                  Having been called things like "chow mein" and "egg foo young" by random men on the street, I am definitely sensitive to this whole race-food issue. I don't get upset but find it mildly amusing. Next time I'll retort with a dish of the catcaller's country of origin.

                                                  That said, I think there are some bigger fish to fry. I cant believe there's a certain cheesesteak shop still in existence. Unfortunately CH prefers we don't discuss this place on this board because it will probably turn really ugly.

                                                  About the whole Linsanity ice cream issue, I think Bud Light flavored ice cream with malt balls made to look like basketballs would have been a good one.

                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                          I think you're being silly. Fortune Cookies aren't Chinese, and neither is Jeremy Lin -- they're both American things that are associated with China (you're not really going to argue that fortune cookies aren't "associated" with China by Americans, are you?). And let's face it, one of the reasons behind "LinSanity" is the novelty of a top-flight Asian-American basketball player. It's simply a fact that Lin is unique. If he were African American like the vast majority of basketball stars, the level of interest wouldn't be nearly as high.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Wait, Ruth, are you replying to my post?

                                            I'm not even sure how that responds to my inquiry as to how/why a Chinese fortune cookie is served at every Chinese restaurant that ttoommyy has been to.