Obamarama, PopCulturalist, PostRacialist

Obama, It’s What’s For Dinner (Racist or Not)

It’s time for another display in Obama Era Hustlenomics. Please discuss these!

From New York Daily News (via AOL/Blackvoices):

Two city fast-food joints are calling themselves Obama Fried Chicken — and the new names are ruffling some feathers.

Eateries in Brooklyn and Manhattan plastered the new president’s last name on their awnings recently.

And some passersby are cringing, saying the name change plays into old racial stereotypes.

Oh no. Don’t stop reading now! There’s more after the jump!

From New York Daily News:

Two city fast-food joints are calling themselves Obama Fried Chicken – and the new names are ruffling some feathers.

Eateries in Brooklyn and Manhattan plastered the new President’s last name on their awnings recently.

And some passersby are cringing, saying the name change plays into old racial stereotypes.

“Why name it that? Just because Obama is black, they’re going to put his name on a fried chicken place in a black neighborhood?” said Akilah Nassy, 16, outside the Brooklyn store.

“If it were [Republican candidate John] McCain, nobody would make a McCain fried chicken place.”

 From AOL/Blackvoices:

All the German frozen-food company was trying to do was sell some chicken.

And it figured the best pitchman for the fried snack would be the world’s most popular politician, President Barack Obama.

But now, the company, Sprehe, finds itself embroiled in a stewing racial controversy over linking America’s first black president with fried chicken.

From Gawker:

Russians Maybe Racist Against Obama, Or Just Weird

“The Flavor of the Week! Black in White! Chocolate in Vanilla.” This Russian ice cream ad starring a cartoon Obama is…what? Racist? Delicious? Sickening? Creamy? Russians are drunks! Putin’s a whore! Unhand me!

It’s a black man! And he’s eating chicken! With REV. AL!

I honestly don’t get the obsession with this stereotype as fried chicken is a loved food for most Americans, white, black and otherwise. Popeyes and the Colonel aren’t getting rich just off of LeRoi and ’em. Ribs, fried chicken, fried everything is part of the reason why most Americans are so bootylicious. Yet the joke persists! A black man (or woman) selling or cooking your food. From Uncle Ben to Aunt Jemima.

Well, speaking on behalf of my 81-year-young Granny Snob who chose picking cotton and factory work over cooking and cleaning for the upper crust of Southern society:

“Git it ya damn self.”

What do you think?

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21 thoughts on “Obama, It’s What’s For Dinner (Racist or Not)

  1. Tia says:

    You know I want to be outraged. But then so much is going on wrong in the world that Naming a chicken shack after Obama is small potatoes. I wonder would anyone be upset if Obama name was used for a Mexican restaurant etc…

  2. cypher says:

    For people outside of NYC, it may seem racist. But there are other chicken "restaurants" (or spots) named after other presidents…Kennedy Fried and Lincoln Fried. So that doesn’t bother me.But the Obama chicken fingers, ice cream and all these other products…it may be little tasteless but I think it’s more marketing and revenue generation on a popular, world recognized "it" person.Now the a**hole who made the Obama cookies and called them Drunken Negro cookies, that shit was intentionally racist.

  3. Reminds me of Inauguration Day down at the Mall when I heard "Obama peanuts, Git your Obama peanuts!!!" I had no idea what to think.

  4. The stereotype sticks with African-Americans because frying food in oil is a cheap way to cook food, and it plays into the notion that African-Americans are poor and have to rely on frying foods more so that other demographics. It also has a long history in Southern parts of the country where it started out of necessity and just became a staple. I don’t have a problem with them using his name. They are trying to capitalize on his fame that’s all. He’s a popular icon in American culture so why not. As for the Russian ice-cream bit, I don’t think they reached the same connotation that some of us did. I think they meant to imply that Obama is Black and in the White House, rather than suggesting that Obama is an "Oreo", which is an American term that most Russians would probably not be familiar with.

  5. dkan71 says:

    Everybody’s trying to make a dollar and right now and the Obama name brand is what’s selling. It’s definitely tacky, but I’m not going to hate on them for their lame hustle….as for the folks in Russia…I think Naomi Campbell is the only black person they know about, so they get pass. I don’t really care if it’s "racist" or not. I think that boy’s cried wolf a few times too many already.OTOH….I do loves me some fried chicken – whaaat!

  6. Andrea says:

    You didn’t give me an option on the survey to say it is racist and free market enterprise opportunity. Obama endorsed the decentralized practice during the election to exploit him because it promoted his popularity and increased his power to get the public to be his surrogate. He did not care if racists wanted to mock him. He knew that getting product out there was more important because it was brand familiarity of his name and his brand of being the nice, goodwill person. It only was a strength even when those with sheer arbitrary and capricious intentions who clearly show cognitive dissonance muster some franchising idea to promote him. Because he is as big as he is, he has more ability to get on tv by being the focus of the camera lens and discussion to reshape and nudge the crowds when the herds start roaming free range away from him. As much as he looks like a caricature, he will be fine. Now us…we are going to continuously be battered and tattered in this era of free market enterprise practices to bastardize memes of racial stereotypes as acceptable, marketing trends. Because Obama shows that he is not bothered by racism, it gives others license to keep pulling tricks that have enterprise value. For us, it attacks our self-esteem and haunt us. But hey, y’all supported him and those that built his campaign on anything goes free market approaches of building upon the tools of the cult of popularity. That’s why the Sasha and Malia dolls were made. The company knew before the election "anything goes" and hence, Obama still needs people to push him in popularity no matter if we think it is bad. It is still about his wattage. His wattage can herd people and ideas even when it seems to us he has no control of others intentions not in his or our best interest.

  7. svejk says:

    Zdrastvuite, SnobI like the Russian one best, tho I think the package actually says "Chocolate and Vanilla"; the translation given doesn’t seem to match the product. Anyway, I don’t think it means any harm. The German one comes "mit Curry Dip". That has to count for something, doesn’t it?As for "Obama Fried Chicken", yeah, Americans should probably know better, but since half the country thinks he’s an elitist, it’s probably good for his image.

  8. What’s the likelihood that the owners of those two chicken places are actually American? I don’t know New York that well, but if they were here in Washington, they’d probably be immigrants, and I’m guessing the same’s true in NYC. Different cultural tuning forks…..

  9. Winn says:

    I guess now I have no basis to complain about the parody video making the rounds replacing the disgruntled Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at Bush with someone throwing fried chicken at Obama? Or the "new food stamp" flyer circulated by the Republican women’s organization in California during the campaign depicting fried chicken, watermelon and malt liquor juxtaposed with Obama’s face? No harm done, right? Just capitalizing on his popularity and iconic status, and taking note of what sells in the free market economy, correct? In that context, what’s so wrong with the Obama waffles or the Obama cookies? I’m sure perfectly plausible explanations could be given as to why those weren’t "intended" to be offensive. That’s the problem with stuff like this. We don’t want to get outraged about everything, but when we are too dismissive, it creates a permissive atmosphere that just allows more of this crap to flourish, but it grows uglier and more overt in no time. And should I ignore the fact that Russia has the highest exponential growth in organized Neo Nazi activity and has caught the attention of Human Rights Watch for the increase in hate crimes targeting African and West Indian students and immigrants in addition to the usual plethora of non-Slavs like the Chinese and Tajik immigrants they previously focused on? Strangely enough, there’s also been an increasing market in Russia for Jim Crow-era darky iconography, including products portraying thick-lipped blacks stealing chickens and chowing down on the fried results of that thievery, but no, wait, those Russians are just confused, right? I can certainly see the argument that we need to pick our battles. But I also see these associations as part of an interwoven and continuing narrative, that lays the groundwork for much more insidious and dangerous thinking and activity. And I think we are naive to think that in this increasingly globalized and technologically interconnected world, our unique brand of racism hasn’t hitched a ride to other shores, even where people who look like us are in demographically short supply.

  10. hersheyskiss23 says:

    Wow. That’s a lot. It is racist, funny, but sometimes I question why. It can be racist then it doesn’t have to be.

  11. Court says:

    @ WinnI agree. It’s certainly naive to think that German and Russian advertisers are completely innocent and well-meaning.

  12. MrsT says:

    Has anyone seen the Popeye’s Chicken commercial with “Annie” the “Chicken Queen”? Granny Snob needs to have a conversation with that woman. You would think there’d be some sort of law or precedent regarding using the name and or likeness of the President without permission. The NYC Chicken joints should be on the look out for the Secret Service in the drive-thru. And yes I do raise an eyebrow at black folks singing or eating chicken in any form of advertisement. As for the International products, I think it’s a little of both, its highly unlikely they are completely ignorant of the US born stereo-types, but at the same time they know their consumers are not American, so their reaction to it is probably different than ours.

  13. Erika M says:

    I feel like I should be upset but I’m not, mostly just amused. Especially at the Black in White ice cream…wow.

  14. dukedraven says:

    Although I would normally blame it on foreigners having cultural ignorance, I think it’s more than that. I think it’s: racism + stupidity + ignorance + boneheadedness + envy = crappy advertisment.

  15. svejk says:

    MrsT, I don’t know if the "Obama-Fingers" are really a reference to American stereotypes (ok, seems likely), but the last time I was in Germany, you could still buy "Negerkussen". The Russian ad is really quite mild compared to what goes on in the mind of the everyday Russian, and for some reason, I don’t see what stereotype is employed there. I still think that one is harmless. Also, I notice that the first "Obama Fried Chicken" place advertises Halal food… whatever that tells you about their attitudes.

  16. Gill Scott Newton says:

    This is the result of the branding monster created during the campaign.Don’t get mad. Pimping aint easy.

  17. Robert M says:

    When I left Chicago in 81 the best late night food place was a shack off state st Nof the mariana towers(it was all old warehouse then) called Ming Choy’s Pizza Parlor run by what were called heads then. the denizens of the night all ate there and is was safe ground. I’m opening O’bama’s irish pub in the hood. Get over it.

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