Popeyes Chicken – Race and Politics
Popeyes Chicken should be ashamed of itself for the degrading and tired minstrel show put on by the “Chicken Mammy.” Ms. Annie as she’s called takes us back about a century on her chicken coonery antics. Believe it or not, the African-American community is divided on whether the commercial is racist or not. In some quarters of the community, the feeling is hey, “she’s making money and laughing all the way to the bank.” This writer is painfully aware, that some people will sell their soul for a dollar; no matter what the consequences are.
Should companies be held to a higher level of “social responsibility?” Where do we draw the line between funny and insulting? The Chicken Mammy’s antics hearkens back to a time most African-Americans would like to forget. The deplorable minstrel show era is one that is painful and dredges up the oppressive era of “Jim Crow” and brutal segregation that was mandated by law.
This behavior in the era of Obama is particularly painful. There are many pundits, including this writer that believes that there is a segment of the American population that just can’t believe that a Black man is in the White House running the most powerful country on earth. Perhaps the Chicken Mammy gives some comfort to a bygone era where African-Americans were subservient and had no power.
The old axiom that perception is reality is true when you are bombarded with negative stereotypical images that are broadcast over and over. The “Cosby Show” image of Blacks is one that some reject and feel more comfortable with the modern minstrelsy we see ad nauseum in commercials like Popeyes Chicken.
Popeyes Chicken should be held to a higher standard. Obviously, Popeyes Chicken does a lot of business in the Black community as well as the greater community at large. I applaud any business that wants to market their product or service, respectfully to the African- American community. However, let’s please have some standards as to how it is done.
There have already been comments made from those outside of the African-American community claiming we (African-Americans) are being hyper sensitive over Popeyes Chickens commercial. Well, to them I say, offense is in the eye of one on the receiving end of such a slight.
Keep in mind, we are not that far removed from Amos and Andy, Minstrel Shows and Jim Crow segregation. All this ad campaign does is open old wounds in a community that has suffered enough from this type of degrading depiction of an entire race of people. Let’s move forward, shall we?
At the end of the day, Popeyes Chicken is free to advertise their products as they see fit. All we [African-Americans] ask, is to do it responsibly. As we all know media images set the tone for our society in how we act, feel and see one another. Example: young girls watching make up commercials see skinny, blond, blue-eyed models as the arbiter of what is beautiful. This image successfully eliminates anyone else that does not fit that description; you get the point?
To those who say the Chicken Mammy is harmless, I beg to differ. The psychological damage she is doing is very dangerous to young minds. She is subjugating an entire race of people to the back of the bus [metaphorically speaking]. This helps bolster a since of white supremacy and racial inferiority to others. You may see her as funny and cute, personally, I’ll make my own chicken at home. Those of you with a social conscience should consider avoiding Popeyes Chicken all together.