Be Less Racist – Eat Less Chicken

I’ve been pretty busy with work, so I haven’t had time to blog, but some of the events that have unfolded over the last few days have prompted me to jump back up on my soapbox for a few minutes. I’m going to make a couple of statements, then expound on them. Ready?

Okay…here we go.

Statement #1: Chik-Fil-A can support whatever it wants.

Like it or not, they are free not to support same-sex marriage. They are free to be a religious-based organization. They can choose to only recognize traditional marriage standards. You can boycott them. You can march in front of their restaurants and call them homophobic, evil or whatever you want. But it’s not going to make a difference. Beliefs that deeply rooted are not going to change because of a few picket signs or angry letters to the editor. I would bet the farm that Cathy et al would close the franchise down before they would change their stance. So, don’t waste your energy. Express your disdain by driving past the restaurant and eating someplace else.

Or you could send everyone you know to a Chik-Fil-A, then have them donate a dollar to a local Gay rights advocacy group as penance.  And don’t forget to let the restaurant know you did so.

Statement #2: Racism is alive and well.

Many of my friends seem to be shocked by this revelation. It makes me smile that some of my friends are so pure of thought that these things don’t occur to them, and it makes my heart sad when I have to point this fact out to them. I wish I could have the same idyllic attitude, but alas, it seems my reason for being is to be a litmus test and sounder of the alarm for others. I’m okay with that. But please, when I tell you that outside of your immediate scope, there are people who still hate on the basis of skin color, I’m not trying to be mean. I’m your reality check. No more, no less.

But the debates from the last few days have made me question things, and so, I am going to throw the big question out there: Fifty years ago, would we have been friends? Would you have supported my right to sit where I want on a bus or in a restaurant, or would you have complained that I had an “agenda” as I was fighting for my equal rights as a black person? Or go back further in time — would you have objected to my agenda to have equal rights as a woman?



How are those fights any different from the one being fought now?

Now, before you tell me, “but it’s not the same thing, you’re comparing apples to oranges,” let me stop you. You’re right, they are two completely different issues.

But they are still both fruit. Fruit born from the same seed of ignorance and intolerance.  Just as the fair and equal-minded had to shout down the detractors to equal right for women and blacks then, the same thing is happening now.

Speaking of detractors, let’s talk a moment about Obama haters.

No, I don’t mean those who oppose President Obama’s policies, I mean those who hate the man.

Dislike his policies all you want. Call him out on what you perceive as a lack of experience and inability to run the country. I got no beef with that.

But those of you who hate him because you hate the idea of a black man being in the Oval Office, I’m onto you, and I will call you out whenever I encounter you. I’ve got a big booming voice, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Because if I let you hate him and remain silent about it, it is only a matter of time before you start hating me. Because I’m black. Because I’m a woman. Because I fit some other stereotype you hold dear to your heart.

So, now, friends,  maybe you understand my frustration with some of the things that have been said over the last few days. For some of you, it’s just idle chatter with no immediate implications. But for me, it is so much bigger than that. I cannot allow anyone  to roll back time and force me to fight for my rights all over again. Not gonna happen. Not while I’m still breathing.


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3 thoughts on “Be Less Racist – Eat Less Chicken

  1. Artemis says:

    I agree with both (all three?) points. To the first point, there are a lot of people who are fighting for equality, fighting so that people get the same rights as everyone else, but many of these same people want to deny CFA rights to do business or things like that. It’s saying, ‘We want equality, but if we disagree with you, you don’t have a right to do your thing.’ That seems a bit like a double standard to me.

    Point two… unfortunate, but true. And I really think it’s similar to stuff going on today. Racism, stereotypes, what have you, it’s all brought out by some irrationality, fear or hatred towards something about a person or group, and just when we get over (or make drastic progress) on the hate for one group, another one pops up to get all the attention. We look at our history and say, ‘Well gosh, look at how far we’ve come,’ and then turn around and try to justify acting the same exact way towards other groups of people. What’s so different? It’s a failure to learn from history, or to try to justify some personal issue while at the same time touting how great we’ve become because of the injustices we’ve overcome.

    Whee. tl;dr I like your post.

  2. Will Carpenter says:

    Fifty years ago, I was actively supporting the Civil Rights movement. Forty years ago, I supported the right of my gay friends to go to college. Thirty years ago, I lived on an island where homophobia was treated as an affliction. Twenty years ago, my best friend was diagnosed as being HIV positive. Ten years ago, I stopped a kid from running his car keys down the side of a car with a rainbow in the window. Today, I hear that a cure–and a large dollop of hope–may have been found for HIV/AIDS.

    It starts with Chik-fil-A and a different kind of drive-by, where you actually drive by without turning in. A hundred years from now, though, some witless fool is still going to hate someone for their sexual orientation, race, national origin, religion or any of a dozen other things.

    We might try to bring them into the fold, but they’ll resist with all their strength ’cause “that’s what daddy would’ve wanted.” Hopefully, with each passing generation, there will be fewer of them, but we won’t run out of them.

    In a few centuries, Chik-fil-A will be long gone and maybe there will be fewer people who hate people because of their differences.

    May-be, that’s the lesson to learn from all of this: we accept them, warts and all, but not what they do.

  3. Your question, “Fifty years ago, would we have been friends?”

    My answer, “Absolutely.”

    I am 56 years old and I can remember playing in the bathtub with my next door neighbor when we were little girls about 4 or 5. Her name was Cheryl and her mother, Estelle, and my mother, Bertie, would have coffee and smoke cigarettes every morning while Cheryl and I bathed together.

    Estelle was a beautiful tall, black Jamaican and my mother was a tiny white woman from Kentucky.

    Luckily, my father, a sharecropper’s kid from Arkansas, had the good sense to join the Air Force at the age of 18 to get an education. He also had the integrity to teach his daughters to look at the person, not the skin color. I am forever grateful that my parents, as Southern as they were, never allowed the “N” word to be spoken in our house, allowed us to have friends of every color and religion, and didn’t care when one of my best friends in high school, a popular boy who was the Drum Major for the band, declared his homosexuality. That was 40 years ago in Arkansas, and that boy, now a man with a doctorate and a loving partner, is still welcome in my mother’s house.

    You’re right, Chic-Fil-A has every right to support anything it wants. Just like I have every right not to every buy anything there again, and I won’t.

    You’re also correct about the Obama haters. The night he was elected, my husband and I sat in front of the TV and cried. We thought that finally this country was getting somewhere in the war on racism. Unfortunately, it seems we were wrong in a lot of ways. Much of the vitriol that I read about has nothing to do with his policies and everything to do with his race.

    How sad for America. The one time the people in this country could have actually stood up and made a big difference dealing with the racial divide so prominently displayed for generations, a group of individuals continues to drag us back down in the dirt with them.

    And their numbers appear to be growing.

    Its a sad, scary time for our country.

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