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Old October 21 2011, 12:36 PM   #9
Locutus of Bored
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Re: Racist Commercial

Roger Wilco wrote: View Post
Doesn't everybody like fried chicken?
Yes, but because of how it originally became a popular Southern meal and the way it was often associated with blacks in a negative stereotypical way in advertisements, it can be a potentially sensitive issue.

When it was introduced to the American South, fried chicken became a common staple. Later, as the slave trade led to Africans being brought to work on southern plantations, the slaves who became cooks incorporated seasonings and spices that were absent in traditional Scottish cuisine, enriching the flavor. Since most slaves were unable to raise expensive meats, but generally allowed to keep chickens, frying chicken on special occasions spread through the African American communities of the South. It endured the fall of slavery and gradually passed into common use as a general Southern dish. Since fried chicken traveled well in hot weather before refrigeration was commonplace, it gained further favor in the periods of American history when segregation closed off most restaurants to the black population. Fried chicken continues to be among this region's top choices for "Sunday dinner" among both blacks and whites. Holidays such as Independence Day and other gatherings often feature this dish.

Since the American Civil War, traditional slave foods like fried chicken, watermelon, and chitterlings have suffered a strong association with African American stereotypes and blackface minstrelsy. This was commercialized for the first half of the 20th century by restaurants like Sambo's and Coon Chicken Inn, which selected exaggerated depictions of blacks as mascots, implying quality by their association with the stereotype. Although also being acknowledged positively as "soul food" today, the affinity that African American culture has for fried chicken has been considered a delicate, often pejorative issue. While the perception of fried chicken as an ethnic dish has been fading for several decades, what with the ubiquity of fried chicken dishes in the US, it persists as a racial stereotype.

As far as the Australian ad in the OP, it appears to me that they probably intended it to mean it was an awkward situation because you were stuck amongst the opposing team's fans, and therefore you offer them some KFC as a "crowd pleaser" (after the name of the meal) to ingratiate yourself with them. The fact that the opposing team's fans were black (West Indian) was just because that's who was being played at the time and was incidental to the point being made. It hopefully would have been made the same way had they been playing England or New Zealand in cricket.

But that depends on if the makers of the ad were Australian and never ran it by any American counterparts in the American-owned company, so that's a big if. I don't really think KFC would intentionally risk that kind of negative publicity in the age of YouTube when a video can be easily spread around, though.
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