The chains around the mind are the hardest ones to break.
Fried chicken came to be associated with Black folks because no one can do it better. Is that a bad thing? Many White people love fried chicken just as much as many of us do, do you see them duck their heads in shame while eating their two piece and a biscuit in front of us?
Some of us have become so conditioned to hate ourselves that we can’t even bear to see a Black woman say “crispy chicken” without being thrust back to the plantation.
I don’t think that’s Burger King’s fault and there is no way in hell they should have offered an apology that was the equivalent to:
“We’re sorry, we had no idea that Black people are still traumatized by the fact that the world knows they enjoy fried chicken, as does almost every ethnic group in creation; we’ll make sure never to assume that we’ve progressed at least that far in the racial conversation again.”
Is that what we want?
Would we rather an apology for a “crispy chicken” commercial than an apology from the Sanford Police Department for their blatant corrupt racism when dealing with the murder of Trayvon Martin?
Would we rather Mary J. apologize for the commercial being “unfinished,” than Alabama District Attorney, Ashley Rich, apologize for keeping Rodney Stanberry, an innocent man, in prison for 16 years and counting for a crime that he didn’t commit?
Instead, some of us would rather be concerned about Mary J. singing her heart out about a Burger King chicken wrap.
This is not to say that I don’t understand where the gnawing fear is coming from – and that’s what it is, fear. We don’t want to be “n**gers” by association. We don’t want to be deemed fried chicken, finger-licking, second class-citizens who sing for their supper. There is a history of judgment and ridicule that comes along with being Black in this country and the outcry is really saying, “Mary don’t make a fool of us in public.”
I get it.
Still, none of us are reflections of the actions – good, bad or otherwise — of Mary J. Blige, who also should not have apologized; nor should we feel guilty for eating chicken anytime, anywhere and any way we want it.
We must evolve to the point where we refuse to let stereotypes define who we are and how we feel about ourselves if we are ever to be truly free in this country – not just in theory, but in truth.