Naa Oyo A. Kwate - "White Burgers, Black Cash" - Stacey Sutton

Thursday, April 27, 2023 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Naa Oyo A. Kwate

Naa Oyo A. Kwate will discuss White Burgers, Black Cash: Fast Food from Black Exclusion to Exploitation.  She will be joined in conversation by Stacey Sutton.

This event will be held in person at The Seminary Co-op. At this time, masks are required for in-store events.


About the book: Fast food has historically been tied to the country’s self-image as the land of opportunity and is marketed as one of life’s simple pleasures, but a more insidious history lies at the industry’s core. White Burgers, Black Cash investigates the complex trajectory of restaurant locations from a decided commitment to Whiteness to the disproportionate densities that characterize Black communities today. Kwate expansively charts fast food’s racial and spatial transformation and centers the cities of Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C., in a national examination of the biggest brands of today, including White Castle, KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, and more. Deeply researched, compellingly told, and brimming with surprising details, White Burgers, Black Cash reveals the inequalities embedded in America’s popular national food tradition.

About the author: Naa Oyo A. Kwate is an interdisciplinary social scientist with wide ranging interests in racial inequality and African American health. Currently a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago, she is an associate professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, jointly appointed in the Department of Africana Studies and the Department of Human Ecology. A psychologist by training, her research has centered primarily on the ways in which urban built environments reflect and create racial inequalities in the United States, and how racism directly and indirectly affects African American health. Kwate's research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and by fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the European Institutes for Advanced Studies, and others. Apart from her latest book, White Burgers, Black Cash, Kwate is the author of the short work, Burgers in Blackface: Anti-Black Restaurants Then and Now, published by the University of Minnesota Press, and editor of The Street: A Photographic Field Guide to American Inequality, published by Rutgers University Press. She is currently writing a book investigating the impact of corner liquor stores on Black urban life.

About the interlocutor: Stacey Sutton is an associate professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago, and the Director of Applied Research and Strategic Partnerships at UIC’s Social Justice Initiative. She recently launched the Solidarity Economy Research, Policy & Law Project, which aims to advance interdisciplinary research, critical analysis, and community alliances to fortify solidarity economy ecosystems. Sutton's scholarship and teaching are in community economic development, with a central focus on racial and economic justice; economic democracy and worker-owned cooperatives; movement building and the solidarity economy; gentrification and dispossession; neighborhood small business dynamics; and disparate effects of punitive policy. Her frameworks for research and community engagement entail advancing “cooperative cities” and the solidarity economy and critiquing “punitive cities.” She has investigated the distributional effects of automated enforcement red-light and speed cameras and the economic burden of ticket fines and fees for Black, Latinx, and low-income Chicago residents; racial transition amid gentrification; the impact of business improvement districts for small businesses in New York City; and the effects of municipal enforcement of mundane land-use rules, building codes, and zoning rules for Black-owned neighborhood businesses.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637