Last week, we talked about the pernicious defeatism of the yes, but conversation script.
In today's post we're going to discuss a different and slightly twisted version of the yes-but script. And the reason I want to go over this particular conversation script is for one reason: This specific yes-but script prevents more people from embracing healthy and affordable food solutions than any other single cause.
Learn to recognize this conversation script. Know it. And the next time you hear a friend, acquaintance or family member start to play this script, pull them out of the vortex.
I call this conversation script type yes, but by proxy, and I'll give an example below, using the exact same conversation starting point that I used in my last post. See if you can spot the psychological implications behind White's responses, and watch what happens as the conversation quickly goes off the rails:
Yes, But By Proxy:
White [whining slightly]: Healthy food is too expensive.
Black: You could try eating more lentils, or potatoes. They're extremely healthy foods and practically free.
W: Yes, but there are lots of poor people living in food deserts in the inner city who don't have the resources to take advantage of foods like lentils.
B: You can find lentils almost everywhere, even in the inner city. And they are so inexpensive! You can buy a pound for like $1.50 and eat them for days.
W: Oh sure, your solutions are great for you. But people who don't know how to cook, and people who don't have all the knowledge that you have, can't just "whip up" a batch of lentils.
B: You'd be surprised how laughably easy it is to boil up a batch of lentils. Seriously, anybody can do it.
W: Look, people working multiple jobs just to keep their bills paid just don't have the time to cook like that.
B: Okay. But there are lots of other foods which even easier to cook and are also inexpensive: potatoes, beans, carrots, celery, leafy greens like collards and swiss chard--
W [Interrupts]: Sure, easy for you, but people who live 15-20 miles away from the nearest Whole Foods can't take advantage of these foods the way you can.
B: Uh, wait, if you want to cook healthy food for less money, living 15-20 miles from a Whole Foods is an advantage, not a disadvantage--
W [Interrupts again]: Whatever. But just because you can eat healthy for less doesn't mean we all can.
Just like the sample conversation from my last post, you might think this conversation seems contrived and unrealistic. Nobody would be so ridiculous as to repeatedly fire off comments like the answers from White, right?
Uh, think again. In fact, the last three responses from White are actual statements someone wrote in another blog in response to my post The "It's Too Expensive to Eat Healthy Food" Debate. Go ahead, see for yourself. Sadly, this "made-up" conversation is all too real.
Okay. It goes without saying that White is being defeatist, and even a bit ridiculous. But there's a deeper problem with each one of White's statements that makes his position totally indefensible. Can anyone see what it is?
Readers, share your thoughts in the comments section, and I'll come back tomorrow with a follow-up post that discusses the answer.
A Reader Asks for Help
The Worst Lie of the Food Blogosphere
The 25 Best Laughably Cheap Recipes at Casual Kitchen
Spreading the New Frugality: A Manifesto
How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by purchasing items from Amazon.com via links on this site, or by linking to me or subscribing to my RSS feed. Finally, you can consider submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, digg or stumbleupon. Thank you for your support!