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omg why do white ppl love cheese so mu-








I actually didnt know that

The answer is apparently “because we’re actually able to eat it”

Interestingly, what actually happened is that people who settled in Northeastern Europe came to rely heavily on milk products, particularly preserved milk products (cheese) from kept livestock as a source of protein and fat through the long frozen winters in the area. Those who could eat cheese lived, those who couldn’t starved. So, we adapted to keep producing the enzymes that let us digest lactose past infancy and into adulthood. 

Other cultures (particularly in warmer climates with shorter winters) that had more varied sources of fat and protein throughout their lean seasons didn’t need to develop this adaptation. 

Give this a few thousand years to simmer, and various European cultures developed hundreds of different types of cheeses that were integrated into cuisine in just as many ways. Using/loving cheese has been handed down to the descendants of those Europeans, and hey presto you have the map above. 

Imma be a downer and add an important note that milk has been wielded, intentionally or not, as a really awful tool of colonialism in North America.

This map doesn’t show it, because it’s post-colonial, but Native Americans, to this day, are also largely lactose intolerant (1) as dairy of any kind wasn’t part of the Native diet after early childhood, so their bodies simply don’t produce the lactase to digest lactose after they have been weaned.  When colonization hit and indigenous kids were forced into white institutions like the boarding schools that were designed to eradicate Native cultures and lifestyles by instilling “good white Christian values” into the Native children, they were made to drink milk as part of the diet they were forced to follow (2).  This obviously made them unbelievably sick and more prone to serious illnesses like tuberculosis and measles that often swept through the schools.

Even to this day, Native folks have a higher propensity toward lactose intolerance: around 80-100% of Native Americans are lactose intolerant (3). This still causes issues, especially in education. Dairy products are an inescapable component of school lunches most everywhere, and milk is often the only beverage served to students with free or reduced school lunches (4).  A 2009 study of 4th graders showed that well over half (68%) of Native students in public school were eligible for the free or reduced lunch program (5).  Being all but forced to drink milk or eat dairy when lactose intolerant (since options like juice or water aren’t readily provided through his program) and then being made to sit in a classroom while fighting severe gastrointestinal issues puts Native children at a severe disadvantage educationally, compared to their milk-drinking peers.  This line of reasoning also definitely extends to children of other minorities with high rates of lactose intolerance and high rates of students living in a low income family who rely on school lunches for a good deal of their daily nutrition, like black students (74% on reduced lunches (5) and 60-80% lactose intolerant (3)) or Hispanic students (77% on reduced lunches, 50-80% lactose intolerant).

It’s just one of the nasty ways the system is stacked in favor of even low-income white folks like me, so I’m gonna do my bit to call it out.


  1. http://web.ku.edu/~aihd/health/lactose_intolerant.html
  2. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/timeline/651.html
  3. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/documents/NICHD_MM_Lactose_FS_rev.pdf 
  4. Personal experience on reduced lunches as a student. 
  5. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010015/indicator2_7.asp


From first grade to eleventh (when a vending machine was installed that sold 16oz bottles of water for $1), I drank nothing with my school lunches because milk was the only option.

In elementary school, there was a water fountain in the cafeteria, but when first-grader me tried to use it I was told it was only for kids who had to take medication.

“Milk makes me feel sick,” I told the teacher.
“Well, do you like ice cream?”
“No, not really.”

She still didn’t let me have any water.

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