Elizabeth Warren Says Americans End Up ‘Eating Dirt’ Without Regulations, Insults Proud Southern Tradition Of Eating Dirt

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Benny Johnson Columnist, Viral Politics
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Elizabeth Warren said Americans eat “dirt” without economic regulation, though that phrasing may be offensive to Americans who eat dirt.

During a segment on MSNBC Thursday, hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle worried aloud that Democrats are making a mistake by promoting democratic socialists when regular Americans may “feel like capitalism is working for them” after months of booming economic numbers.

Warren responded, saying that she believes “in markets” right down to her “toes.” “I also believe markets have to have rules,” Warren said, “Otherwise rich and powerful just keep sucking up all the value and everybody else ends up eating dirt.”

However, Warren’s comments may be insensitive to the proud southern tradition of eating dirt. According to a New York Times report on the practice from 1984:

It’s after a rainfall, when the earth smells so rich and damp and flavorful, that Fannie Glass says she most misses having some dirt to eat.

“It just always tasted so good to me,” says Mrs. Glass, who now eschews a practice that she acquired as a small girl from her mother. “When it’s good and dug from the right place, dirt has a fine sour taste.”

For generations, the eating of clay-rich dirt has been a curious but persistent custom in some rural areas of Mississippi and other Southern states, practiced over the years by poor whites and blacks.

But while it is not uncommon these days to find people here who eat dirt, scholars and others who have studied the practice say it is clearly on the wane. Like Mrs. Glass, many are giving up dirt because of the social stigma attached to it.

“In another generation I suspect it will disappear altogether,” said Dr. Dennis A. Frate, a medical anthropologist from the University of Mississippi who has studied the phenomenon. “As the influence of television and the media has drawn these isolated communities closer to the mainstream of American society, dirt eating has increasingly become a social taboo.”

Warren continued in the interview, lamenting low unemployment numbers, saying that they are low because people are working up to four jobs.