I was raised in an Evangelical community, which is why I still scream when I see a man holding a microphone while wearing distressed denim. I’ve since left the church, which is rife with problems including abuse, fatphobia, nationalism, and racism. Now, a viral TikTok video attempts to add another entry to the church’s list of misdeeds: mistaking cilantro for marijuana.
The video, posted by TikTok user @alimamii23, shows several members of Redemption United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. The church folk appear to be harassing the TikToker, asking her to leave the building. Why? Because she had a bag of that sweet green stuff on her person. And by “sweet green stuff,” I mean cilantro, not kush.
In the video, which, per Newsweek, garnered nearly three million views over a two-day period, the TikToker tells church leaders that the cilantro was meant for menudo, presumably for some sort of church potluck meal. “That’s cilantro, that’s for the food,” the TikToker tells parishioners in the video. “That’s for the menudo. I promise you. Smell it, I promise you. I’m not like that, that’s why I’m so mad.”
At first glance, the video seems pretty straightforward: a group of white Evangelicals profiling the Latinx TikToker and booting her from their prejudicial community. That’s how the commenters felt, rushing to the TikToker’s defense with comments like, “the way they’re racially profiling y’all is crazy” and “they knew they were wrong so instead of apologizing they refused to smell the cilantro.”
As someone who was raised among white Evangelicals, I can attest to the fact that the community is unparalleled in its racism and faux-puritanical ways. And while cilantro obviously looks nothing like weed, this certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone was persecuted by Evangelical spidey senses.
While I think that’s the more logical conclusion here, I should also point out that this user only has two videos on TikTok, and her bio now reads “will be raising GOFUNDME for a lawyer as soon as I find one in OKC.” We could certainly spend all day speculating—or we could just fire up a bowl of dank cilantro.