Friday, January 8, 2010

KFC- Black Folk Love The Chicken

[Video description courtesy of Feministe: The video opens with a logo reading "KFC's Cricket Survival Guide." A white guy sits in what appear to be sports arena bleachers, surrounded by cricket fans, all of whom appear to be non-white. They are dancing, playing instruments and singing. He looks annoyed, rubbing his face and looking around like he's confused. He says, "Need a tip when you're stuck in an awkward situation?" Then he hands out a bucket of fried chicken and everyone goes silent and you can hear the game in the background. He says, "Too easy," which is followed by the formal KFC pitch.]

The commercial originally aired in Australia and has since been pulled from the air.  KFC released the following defence of this commercial:

It is a light-hearted reference to the West Indian cricket team. The ad was reproduced online in the US without KFC’s permission, where we are told a culturally-based stereotype exists, leading to the incorrect assertion of racism. We unequivocally condemn discrimination of any type and have a proud history as one of the world’s leading employers for diversity.

So here we go with the whole we hire teh minorities so we can’t be racist; it’s just like the racist who’s best friend as a child is always Black.  I think one of the things I find most upsetting about this commercial is the obvious lie that they had to be told a racial stereotype exists regarding Blacks and chicken.  I am sick and tired of White people pulling out tired racist tropes and claiming they didn’t know they were racist.  If this were true, why weren’t various races soothed by the chicken?   Anyone remember watermelons on the White House lawn?  He didn’t know it was racist either.  Not only is the initial characterization racist the denial is even further demeaning.  Blacks are not stupid and we are well aware of when we are being targeted.

Finally, the assertion that Australia is not a racist country is ridiculous.  Hey Hey It’s Saturday Night proved that with it’s racist blackface.  Australians may have different different social tropes than North Americans, however it is not a racial utopia in which all people are created equal.  Australia in fact has a long history of violence and abuse of its Aboriginal citizens.  This kind of race based hatred does not simply disappear.  It cannot be wished away.  It is no more post racial than any other place on the planet and airing this commercial there only serves to solidify the lie that race is not an issue.