Are Fried Chicken & Watermelon Racist? | Decoded | MTV News

Are Fried Chicken & Watermelon Racist? | Decoded | MTV News


– Why do alarm bells go off
whenever people talk about how black people just love
fried chicken and watermelon? (upbeat music) Hey, friends, it’s Franchesca, here to confirm once and for all that yes, everyone loves fried chicken. Damn. But chances are you’ve
heard the black people, fried chicken, watermelon stereotype before. Recently a prom proposal
went viral on Twitter because apparently the correct way to ask a black guy to prom is to
woo him with fried chicken and racism question mark? Now let’s get this straight,
there’s nothing wrong with liking fried chicken or watermelon. I mean, there are over 4,000 KFCs in China and watermelon is quite
possibly the most perfect fruit. Mm, oh my god. But no black person is
safe from this stereotype. Tiger Woods has had fried
chicken dinner comments thrown his way by two separate pro golfers and in 2014 The Boston Herald came under fire for running a
political cartoon asking President Obama about
watermelon toothpaste. So if everyone loves fried
chicken and watermelon, not just black people,
where the heck do these stereotypes even come from? Let’s start with fried chicken. From the late 1800’s onward, fried chicken was used to portray
black people as savages. Films like Birth of a
Nation and Jim Crow imagery seen in cartoons,
postcards and ads featured black people as rowdy
barbaic slaves gleefully eating chicken with their bare hands. Fried chicken became the go-to way to make black people look like animals. But the savage chicken-loving black person wasn’t just a stereotype
of the distant past. Until the last 1950’s,
there was a successful restaurant chain literally called The Coon Chicken Inn. No, that’s not cool. And watermelon was used to show black people as lazy and simple. Postcards, cartoons, books, and advertisements featured black folks happily eating watermelon
in spite of slavery, the idea being black
people don’t need rights, they’re happy just as long as they have some watermelon. Mm, tastes like oppression. So are we just supposed to stop eating certain foods because of history? Of course not, but when
homegirl asks her black classmate to prom using
fried chicken and this, that’s almost like saying,
“Will you go to prom with me, “you lazy, savage animal?” Oo, not cute. Look, when you automatically
link fried chicken and watermelon with black people, you’re bringing all of that baggage along with it even if
you don’t realize it. But it’s also important to remember that not every stereotype is created equally. Take, for example, white
girls and Starbucks. Now not every white girl loves Starbucks. Mm, non-fat skinny mocha
latte no whip, so good. But that joke isn’t keeping anyone from having equal rights. The difference is when
you mix stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and institutional power like schools, government, police, and laws. Those elements combined is what makes a stereotype racist. So next time you’re heading out to lunch or you need something for your barbecue, you don’t have to skip the fried chicken and watermelon. Just make sure you’re not doing it because black people are gonna be there. The only reason that you need is because it’s delicious. Mm, okay. Yes. Can you think of any
other food stereotypes? School me in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe. And if you want more
information, there are tons of great links in the description box. See you next Wednesday. Wait, this is tofu? Mm, yes. (upbeat music)

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