Are Blacks Too Quick To Shout Racism?

by Risa Dixon

The recent uproar about the Burger King commercial featuring Mary. J. Blige caused the spot to be pulled off of the air because it was called racist, but is it really? I read an interesting article by Aisha Harris from discussing how the commercial was indeed ridiculous, but not racist. I had to agree and also wonder if Black people are just all but too eager to call something racist.

Race issues have always been a touchy topic with a thin line that advertisers have to try their hardest not to cross. In terms of the Burger King commercial, were we more upset about it being so called “racist” or about how it would make us look to a white audience?

Harris states in her piece that,


“It is short-sighted—and frankly, insulting to Blige—to attribute the Burger King spot to “coonery.” Burger King has been honing its cheesy advertising chops for years, most famously with their creepy corporeal version of the “King”; Blige is clearly in on the camp factor of the commercial. And other recent ads have far surpassed this one in ignorantly deploying racial stereotypes.

So why the uproar this time? Perhaps the answer has to do with the ad’s intended audience. Unlike the many fast-food commercials aimed specifically at black audiences, usually found on black-targeted networks like BET, the Blige ad features a mostly white supporting cast. It is meant to appeal to a “mainstream” (read: white) audience; some of the ad’s critics seem worried about the way it might make black people look to white people.”

This commercial was very stereotypical and just plain dumb. Like Harris points out, there have been numerous other commercials with Blacks singing happily about fried chicken, but they were reserved for Black television channels. If singing about fried chicken is racist than there should be protests about many other commercials and not just this one.

Calling something racist is very serious and the word shouldn’t be used lightly. This commercial was an embarrassment, much like Flavor Flav’s ads for his new fried chicken spot, but racist may be a bit far fetched.

  • Ocean Blue (LaDreaming86)

    Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no

  • Sasha

    Yes; what they should be shouting is ‘prejudice’ so if we pose the question using what it actually is, prejudiceness, then yes Blacks are too quick to shout it. And this interchangeable use of racism and prejudiceness needs to stop.

  • myblackfriendsays

    call everything racist diminishes the impact of the word. That is why I came up with the word racish. It means something with racial overtones that should be discussed further, but not kkk-esque. You can look it up on urban dictionary. And Jon Stewart said it Wednesday on The Daily Show–score!

  • Dalili


  • Ocean Blue (LaDreaming86)

    “And this interchangeable use of racism and prejudiceness (sic) needs to stop.” – I agree. I see the two words being used interchangeable all the time online and off. For example, a trending topic on Twitter about Black people (usually negative), started by a Black person, will get called ‘racist’ by non-Black people and even some Black people. It’s the same as the word ‘ignorant’ always being used incorrectly.

  • Thabo

    Nope – not at all. Since it is the social narrative that carries racism even just plain stupid stuff adds to it overall and so should be examined.

    Implicit racism is by no means obvious and trying to protect by not calling it out is to be complicit. Stupid in a national with a heavy racial narrative is also unforgivable.

  • Val

    The question should be; are Whites to quick to shout it’s not racism.

  • chanela

    two words, HELL. YES

    its ridiculous how black people find everything racist. remember that barbie picture with the little girl?

    “its racist because the little girl is dreaming about being white”


    or those babydolls in which ALL the dolls were in a monkey costume

    “this needs to be pulled off the shelves because they portray black babies as monkeys” STFU!now its this nonsense about mary j blige. worry about the rising AIDS rates instead of trivial crap!

  • JAB

    They refuse to tackle the real issue within their community: Their culture of glorifying criminal behavior, selling and using dope, being moochers, parasites and leeches, not getting educated.

    You get more respect when you come out of prison that college in their community. Asking questions or answering them in school and you are a sell out or trying to act, talk, think like whitey.

    When blacks say “let’s talk about race” what they are really saying is “YOU own me something”

  • Dante

    Wow, really?

    Generalize much?

    First of all, we are well aware of the issues in our community. We are well aware of the damage that has been done to us as a people, both at our own hand and by the hand of non-black people, especially white Americans.

    We do indeed attempt to tackle these issues, but they are the manifestations of hundreds of years of oppression. Not only that, but the issues you listed transcend race. They affect marginalized Americans of all races, and are more economic than anything else. Unfortunately, black Americans are among the MOST marginalized.

    Non-black people seem to simply see the obvious negativity in our community and seem unwilling to get to the root of the problem.

    The only thing owed to us is the equality and freedom you enjoy.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    Couldn’t get a membership into Stormfront, huh JAB? LMAO!!

  • Isis

    Didnt see The commercial

  • mamareese

    SO glad to hear someone say it. Yes! We are too quick….the media equally targets every ethnic group at this point. Al Sharpton is skinny to this day because of all the ripping and running he does to cry foul play on blacks for EVERYTHING. You’d think with our history, we’d learn to have a thickier skin and hold our heads up in the face of adversity. No, we (he) stomp like children pointing and crying……..this BK commerical was not racist at all….it sucked but it was not racist. It was just some chick that happened to be black singing…badly, I’ll add about some chicken wraps.

  • Kim

    I guess if WE learned to love, honor and protect one another, there would be no need for any of it. I guess that goes over peoples heads. HUH?
    Thicker skin? How about protecting our young and teaching them to love themselves and their people. Once again, I guess that goes over some people’s heads.
    Some of us need to take a look at how we choose to live and think. Maybe some of this paranoia would subside if we did not have to live with and interact with some of our own folk who aren’t worth a d&mn and are death to the spirit and death to the soul.

  • Juniysa Serens

    Spot on article. It wasn’t racist, it was just off-color. It was probably intentional to cause controversy-all of this hoopla is what marketers want. If the black blogosphere and Twitter didn’t cause a ruckus, less people would watch the video. Burger King wins- they got the publicity they wanted. They’re back on the radar again. Congrats blogosphere!

  • modern lady

    Why is liking fried chicken racist? I’m with Dave Chappelle on this-I, like most people, like fried chicken b/c it is delicious! Not b/c I’m black. If someone paid me $2 million to sing about it-I’m sorry Black folks, that money would’ve gone str8 into my pocket.

  • Jess

    There’s nothing racist about this commercial. it’s just silly and kinda funny.

  • check

    the truth hurts. how about the community do something about it? Instead of bellyache? Lots of community organizers come out of the woodwork when they think they smell an opportunistic race crime (Trayvon) and are ready to try and convict without all of the facts. But when 15% of the population (less really) is committing 75% of violent crime in Chicago, that conversation is not allowed to happen. It’s racist to point out facts!

    Also, perverted, just call out racism! That will quiet them down, right!? That claim is becoming quickly diluted and is a smokescreen set up to divert attention from facts.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    “Also, perverted, just call out racism! That will quiet them down, right!? That claim is becoming quickly diluted and is a smokescreen set up to divert attention from facts.”

    What facts?! This is the same kind of rhetoric that comes directly from people associated with hate groups and/or conservative idelogosists. Now tell me I’m lying or saying things just to be saying it!

    Also, people like you are showing your collective ass when people of your ilk are coming on here making these statements about race and crime on a post about a Mary J. Blige Burger King commercial!!!!

  • don

    no yall kno yall can call it racism to win to get us back

  • hatelies

    Everytime Blacks lag behind others — and that happens just about everywhere, it’s attributed to their “social, economic political disadvantage”. What disadvantage? Blacks enjoy more govrnment, academic, economic, social imagery pop-up than any other groups and the extent of such unfair previlege is disgusting! Some with Obama’s qualification could never dream of being a prsident if he was not black. Yet, to the blacks it’s still/never enough. Yet the majority of blacks continue to consume state resources and be a huge burden to the country – for generations. We all know girls and boys are differently built from the inside, why would we be lead by liberalism gone wacky to think that all races are exactly the same in everyway? The balcks don’t beleieve it themselves (white men cant jump). We all need to be honest to ourselves in recognizing the real reason why there’s more criminality, unemployment, hatred, disease, dishonesty, ugliness, poverty, jealousy of others… in blacks. Believe me, mistreatment, disadvantgae, historical baggages AREN’T the reasons. Look at the poor, helpless new immigrants who don’t have free housing food, education, healthcare, … all blood sucking advantages the blacks enjoying. Within one generation, look where each would stand (blakcs are strongest opponents of immigrants).

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