Should this be considered racist?

Black people tend to like fried chicken and fruit flavored drinks. To me it is more or less an observation than a racist remark. Is it because its a generalization or stereotype? Sure not all black people like fried chicken and kool-aid but a lot of them do.

I think we have become a bit too touchy about subjects of race. For example you might remember watching the show Kenan and Kel on Nickelodeon back in the day. It had a running gag in which Kel loved orange soda. Nowadays I don't think you would find something like that.

What is your take?

By whom, and in what context?

The people best judged to determine if it's racist or not tend to be in the race it might be racist against.

Personally, I'd say such things aren't racist as such, but have the potential to be. If you write a TV show, and have one single black character who just happens to spend all their time eating chicken, this is something you might be called to task for.

...

I'd also say that it's not that people are too touchy about race, it's that it's a massively complicated issue that many who don't choose to ignore it completely, find convenient to oversimplify.

How exactly did you determine the stereotype was in fact a trend? I doubt there's lot of fried chicken and fruit flavored drinks in Africa.

It's also questionable why you'd identify them by race. If they like those things it's doubtful that their blackness has anything to do with it.

When such remarks are made in jest, I do not believe they are harmful. I love watermelon and chicken, yet I am not colored. I occasionally make racism-orientated jokes, but purely to be funny.

If someone were to make a ginger or skinny white guy joke, both of which describe me perfectly, I would laugh just as hard.

instantly i thought of this add that was banned in australia, mainly because of complaints from america, not australia or the west indies

now the reason most of the complaints was not from aussies or west indies is simple, we understood the context. it had nothing to do with the fact that they were black, the only reason they were black is because australia happened to be playing the west indies at the time (in cricket obviously). if they had been playing england the crowd would have been english, if they had been playing india the crowd would have been indian. the fact that they were black had nothing to do with the idea that black people like chicken, it was because the were the supporters of the opposition, that just happened to be the west indies at the time.

I started a thread about the definition of racism a weeks back...

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.337953-Racism-Good-definition

Danyal:

I always thought racism was treating people from different races worse than your own race.
I once heard a beautiful definition that I always forget but it basically stated that racism is taking race into account where it isn't relevant.

You aren't treating black people worse than other races.
You aren't taking race into account where it isn't relevant; you are asking whether liking fried chicken is influenced by race.

It's a bit racist because the wording means it isn't technically an observation.

If you actually measured two groups of people, one white, and one black (this could be really informal, just with your friends), then you could record how much chicken & soda everyone consumed. You could then state that black people eat/drink more chicken/soda than average, but saying they like it more still extrapolates to something you haven't actually measured.

Black people like fried chicken because fried chicken kicks ass.

Hmm it depends on how its handled. Fried foods including fried chicken, are popular in the American south and since with slavery you had the largest concentration of African-Americans in the south and eating southern style foods its only natural that this would remain part of African-American culture in general (though obviously this becomes less so with each generation born outside the south). Also there is a practical reason why African-Americans are associated with fried chicken, namely that chicken is a relatively affordable meat source and African-Americans, especially after the Civil War, were very poor meat sources like beef and fish would have likely been too expensive. Furthermore, fried chicken legs in particular were a popular fixture in lunch boxes (which for the working man in the late 19th century usually were literal boxes) due to the simple fact that it has a handle built into it allowing it to be easily consumed on a lunch break with minimal mess and no need for a knife or fork. Isn't history fascinating?

Ando85:
Black people tend to like fried chicken and fruit flavored drinks. To me it is more or less an observation than a racist remark. Is it because its a generalization or stereotype? Sure not all black people like fried chicken and kool-aid but a lot of them do.

It's halfway between an observation and an overgeneralisation. Saying that certain cultures eat a lot of a certain food isn't necessarily demeaning - very few people would get angry at the statement "Chinese people eat a lot of rice" or "Boy, do those Indians love spicy food" as it just reflects a) the food typical of their country or region and b) the idiosyncrasities and defining features of a certain culture's cuisine.

In addition to Afro-caribbean cuisine having a preference for chicken (but not exclusively - Jamaican curried goat is delicious) they also do a lot of cooking using yam, sweet potato, plantain... you know, "exotic" fruit and vegetables that are native to the West Indies. So far, pretty unsurprising.

I'd say it would only become truly racist if somebody started making unsubtle digs about black people eating watermelon and bananas because "LOL black ppl live in the jungle" or "LOL they r liek monkeys".

Many races and cultures have associated food-based stereotypes. The French are sometimes referred to as "frogs" in incredulity that anybody would want to eat frog's legs. In return, the French call us British "rosbifs" (roast beefs) because the stereotype is that British people eat roast beef on a daily basis. It's mostly just harmless banter.

Ando85:
Black people tend to like fried chicken and fruit flavored drinks. To me it is more or less an observation than a racist remark. Is it because its a generalization or stereotype? Sure not all black people like fried chicken and kool-aid but a lot of them do.

That's racist.

Unless you can find world wide statistical proof of your claim, I would suggest that racist stereotype is based on cultural norms for both blacks and whites in the area of the US where making fun of blacks is most common.

For example, its probably true most black people in Georgia eat fried chicken, but so do the white folks.

Up here in Canada more white folks probably stop at KFC than black folks and deep fried chicken isn't part of their culture. (Jerk chicken and flying fish on the other hand...yummy)

As for koolaid and cheap soda drinks, I haven't noticed any difference in that consumption in Canada either. If it exists at all in the US, it may be tied to the fact those drinks are generally cheap and black people in the US are disproportionately poor. I bet if you isolated for income that would level out between racial groups.

Danyal:
I started a thread about the definition of racism a weeks back...

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.337953-Racism-Good-definition

Danyal:

I always thought racism was treating people from different races worse than your own race.
I once heard a beautiful definition that I always forget but it basically stated that racism is taking race into account where it isn't relevant.

You aren't treating black people worse than other races.
You aren't taking race into account where it isn't relevant; you are asking whether liking fried chicken is influenced by race.

No. Being racist or bigoted is applying a stereotype to a large group based on preconceived (and often wrong) notions. You can be racist without treating people worse.

When you take actions to treat people worse, those are just racist actions/behaviors.

You know who else loves fried chicken and kool-aid?

White people.

Mortai Gravesend:
How exactly did you determine the stereotype was in fact a trend? I doubt there's lot of fried chicken and fruit flavored drinks in Africa.

It's also questionable why you'd identify them by race. If they like those things it's doubtful that their blackness has anything to do with it.

I think, given the context of this situation and the fact that the OP explicitly stated they arrived to the conclusion through casual observation, it's safe to assume they are referring to the black people they come in contact with on a regular basis. So unless the OP has simply neglected to mention that they live in Africa, I really don't see a reason to be so obtuse. They have simply noticed that a lot of the black people they see like those things. Not that all black people are like that, but just the ones they see in their specific community and culture are. So what?

Lilani:

Mortai Gravesend:
How exactly did you determine the stereotype was in fact a trend? I doubt there's lot of fried chicken and fruit flavored drinks in Africa.

It's also questionable why you'd identify them by race. If they like those things it's doubtful that their blackness has anything to do with it.

I think, given the context of this situation and the fact that the OP explicitly stated they arrived to the conclusion through casual observation, it's safe to assume they are referring to the black people they come in contact with on a regular basis. So unless the OP has simply neglected to mention that they live in Africa, I really don't see a reason to be so obtuse. They have simply noticed that a lot of the black people they see like those things. Not that all black people are like that, but just the ones they see in their specific community and culture are. So what?

Oh, so he's going to stereotype most black people based only on the ones he's encountered. I think that makes the question oh so much easier to answer. He said black people tend to. But let's just be fine with making stereotypes based on limited observaction.

Mortai Gravesend:
Oh, so he's going to stereotype most black people based only on the ones he's encountered. I think that makes the question oh so much easier to answer. He said black people tend to. But let's just be fine with making stereotypes based on limited observaction.

It's human nature. He never said he treats them any differently, or even that he sees the "stereotypes" as a negative thing. It's just something he's noticed. I've noticed most of the kids in my high school who had pickup trucks liked to think of themselves as rednecks and southern rebels. I've noticed most of the foreign students who have classes in the same building as me have a lot of difficulty understanding how elevators work, and that most of the MIddle Eastern ones smoke. I notice these things, but I don't treat them any differently. It's perfectly natural to make assumptions about certain groups. It's how we classify people, and if you think you are completely above noticing such things then you are either lying or not aware of the fact. As long as he isn't mocking or disparaging them for it, what exactly is the harm?

I'm fat, and I am fairly certain there are people out there who assume I'm lazy and care nothing about my health. The fact is I've lost 20 pounds in the last year and a half, but as long as they aren't telling me to my face how fat and disgusting I am what should I care? Sticks and stones.

everythingbeeps:
You know who else loves fried chicken and kool-aid?

White people.

Speaking as somebody who's whiter than the Abominable Snowman, I can confirm this.

Lilani:

Mortai Gravesend:
Oh, so he's going to stereotype most black people based only on the ones he's encountered. I think that makes the question oh so much easier to answer. He said black people tend to. But let's just be fine with making stereotypes based on limited observaction.

It's human nature. He never said he treats them any differently, or even that he sees the "stereotypes" as a negative thing. It's just something he's noticed. I've noticed most of the kids in my high school who had pickup trucks liked to think of themselves as rednecks and southern rebels. I've noticed most of the foreign students who have classes in the same building as me have a lot of difficulty understanding how elevators work, and that most of the MIddle Eastern ones smoke. I notice these things, but I don't treat them any differently. It's perfectly natural to make assumptions about certain groups. It's how we classify people, and if you think you are completely above noticing such things then you are either lying or not aware of the fact. As long as he isn't mocking or disparaging them for it, what exactly is the harm?

I'm fat, and I am fairly certain there are people out there who assume I'm lazy and care nothing about my health. The fact is I've lost 20 pounds in the last year and a half, but as long as they aren't telling me to my face how fat and disgusting I am what should I care? Sticks and stones.

What's with this 'harm' thing? It doesn't need to be harmful to be wrong. It's nonsense and a poor way to judge people.

Mortai Gravesend:
What's with this 'harm' thing? It doesn't need to be harmful to be wrong. It's nonsense and a poor way to judge people.

So what if it's wrong? What are you going to do about it? Make it a crime to jump to conclusions based on faulty evidence? Police people's thoughts? God forbid people be harmlessly wrong every now and again. Then next we should make sure kids never spread silly myths like how there's sewage in the cafeteria food or there's a monster living in the teacher's lounge.

Lilani:

Mortai Gravesend:
What's with this 'harm' thing? It doesn't need to be harmful to be wrong. It's nonsense and a poor way to judge people.

So what if it's wrong? What are you going to do about it? Make it a crime to jump to conclusions based on faulty evidence? Police people's thoughts? God forbid people be harmlessly wrong every now and again. Then next we should make sure kids never spread silly myths like how there's sewage in the cafeteria food or there's a monster living in the teacher's lounge.

Is there some problem with NOT putting words in my mouth? Or are you perhaps seeing phantom images of me saying that something should be done about it besides my big scary words just pointing out that it's wrong? God forbid I point something out without someone being reactionary and screaming that I'm trying to make it a law. Because a bit of intellectual integrity would be too much to ask.

You all have made some good points. Even if saying black people like fried chicken is racist, I hope we can all agree on that it should be taken a lot less offensively than some throwback jokes about slavery and lynching. Sure a good argument is that white people like it too, but you can't deny the common association that black people, kool-aid, and fried chicken have.

"You be dippin' yo finger in da kool-aid and you ain't know what flavor it be."

There is a fine line, and in my experience Americans tend to be more overly cautious about the line than a lot of people in other countries. But then, we also have a rather perverse history of racism. Sure there is racism in all western countries, but in how many countries would someone put on a bedsheet and burn a cross in someone's yard over racism. It's just a bit much, in'nit. Considering we've had more than one Republican candidate make a gaffe suggesting black people are criminals in the current election cycle alone, I can understand why we would be cautious.

A lot of it comes down to how the observation is used. For example, if I am helping at a party where one of the guests is Saudi Arabian, I'm not necessarily being racist if I observe that they probably don't want bacon on their sandwich.

A big thing to remember is not to confuse race with culture. I know a black woman who comes from a very similar slice of American culture to where I come from. Actually, she probably comes from a significantly higher-class family. If I start making jokes associating her with "ghetto" culture, I'm a racist douchebag. I was actually in a party where something similar happened (in reverse). We were trying to barbecue with an improvised grill and there was a black guy from Chicago there who was good friends with a white guy from Denver. And as a joke the black guy cooked food for a bunch of people but refused to cook for the white guy, saying, "I know you don't touch a white man's steak." The joke being that supposedly white people are very particular about how to "correctly" cook a steak. Except I don't come from that culture, and I don't really care how my steak is cooked. If he had said that to me, I'd have been pissed. But since he said it to a friend and both of them understood the context, no one was offended.

In the end it all comes down to context.

Ando85:
You all have made some good points. Even if saying black people like fried chicken is racist, I hope we can all agree on that it should be taken a lot less offensively than some throwback jokes about slavery and lynching. Sure a good argument is that white people like it too, but you can't deny the common association that black people, kool-aid, and fried chicken have.

"You be dippin' yo finger in da kool-aid and you ain't know what flavor it be."

That's pretty racist too.

And no, I don't agree that fried chicken jokes are less racist than slavery jokes.

I'd say it's racist.

My family is white, middle-class, and decidedly non-racist I'd like to think. I spent much of my childhood with my mother attempting to marry me off to her Indian coworker's daughter (no complaints there - she was pretty as a girl and downright stunning when she got older!), my best friend in primary school was Lebanese, and I have lived overseas for roughly half of my 32 years, and on top of this my wife is a Japanese-born North Korean who is culturally a mix of Japanese and American (lived in USA for high school and uni).

And frankly, it wasn't until I'd seen Full Metal Jacket and the Gunnery Sergeant screams something about 'fried chicken and watermelon' and I started to wonder why - when you consider all the horrible things he said to everyone else - why did he talk about fried chicken and watermelon, two of the most wonderful things in existence ?

And that's the key. It didn't occur to me as being racist because I had never been around people who would instantly equate the two with oppression or villification.

Ando85:
You all have made some good points. Even if saying black people like fried chicken is racist, I hope we can all agree on that it should be taken a lot less offensively than some throwback jokes about slavery and lynching. Sure a good argument is that white people like it too, but you can't deny the common association that black people, kool-aid, and fried chicken have.

"You be dippin' yo finger in da kool-aid and you ain't know what flavor it be."

I also can't deny the common association people will put between black people, slavery, and lynching. And those connections are more real =/

And you know what's so terrible about that kind of joke? People go and say that it's not as offensive as if it means something. As if that makes it okay. Ignore that it is racist, it's less offensive so that makes it alright =/

It's all about power, history and context.

I grew up in the Scottish ghetto, which we call housing schemes. There is a term used to describe people from those areas and it is "schemie" and there are stereotypes, too.

Schemie is largely a negative term.

Now I can use the term schemie as it means that people like me from the housing schemes (ghettos) took ownership of it and altered its meaning to mean something of a shared collective understanding of what it is like to grow up in a scheme - both negative and positive - and an element of satire of the non-schemie middle class types who use the term in an entirely negative sense.

Now when "schemie" is used by someone from the middle class it takes on AN ENTIRELY different meaning. It means a condescending and elitist and imo a spitting in the face of my class, my family, my relations and my friends who grew up in housing schemes. It becomes overdog pissing on underdog. It becomes toxic when used by anyone else other than someone from working class housing schemes. This same thing works with many stereotypes.

I have ALWAYS understood this. Instinctively and intellectually. Which is why I see through the whole "I'm not offended and so why should they" kinda BS.

I see parallels between this and racist crap in the USA. You just substitute class for race.

Now if I say "middle class wankers" it has none of that power or venom. Because of the context. Their class benefits and mine doesn't. My insults don't have any socio-economic or cultural-linguistic edge to them while theirs does. The sting of the insult is relative to the actual socioeconimic and racial strata to which one belongs: to the actual power imbalance. Salt stings open wounds.

So yeah, the whole fried chicken and flavoured drinks specifically associated with black people is racist imo and you should cut it out. Like cut it out starting from now.

Regards

Nightspore

Observing a correlation of a certain behaviour and a race is fine. It's what you do with it that makes you racist.

If you:

- assume that correlation is entirely attributable to the fact that they're of that race
- use that statistical observation about a race to make a claim about an individual of that race

Then IMO, you're engaging in a racial prejudice.

It's not racist, it's racially insensitive and prejudiced. And probably just all kinds of wrong.
Racist, to me, implies a claim of superiority or difference in value between races. So claiming someone probably likes a certain thing on account of their race is not racist in my mind. It is, however, most likely a gross overgeneralization, and inconsiderate.

I've seen a lot of people equating being prejudiced to being racist. I resent this notion.
Prejudice is a natural human attribute. We can't deal with every single person in the world on a personal level, so we categorize people and generalize in order to be able to cope.

For example, if I see a middle-eastern person on the street, I'm going to think that he is likely to be of lower than average income. Why? Because almost all middle-eastern people in Norway are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants: war fugitives. In other words, a group of people that due to low education and language problems have a hard time finding well-paid work.

I possess some level of prejudice towards middle-eastern people, in other words. I do not, however, think that any of the qualities that are responsible for my prejudice are inherent to their race.

 

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