Fried chicken and watermelon…why all the shame?

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  • #2665

    What other peoples of the world are ashamed of their delicious food? What is there to be embarrised about?

    User Detail :  

    Name : GuyGuyerson, Gender : Male, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 45, City : boise, State : ID Country : United States, Occupation : self employed construction, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #21740

    Mara
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    it isn’t the product itself that embarrasses, it’s the historical, racist connotations that are shameful. Simply put, watermelon and fried chicken were long considered ‘slave’ food. In those days, white people usually baked or boiled their chicken. The southern Scots-Irish introduced oil frying. Later, as slaves were brought into households as cooks, seasonings and spices were added that are absent in traditional Scottish cuisine, improving the flavor. Since slaves were often allowed to keep only chickens, frying chicken as a special occasion spread through the African American community, so fried chicken was seen as ‘slave food’. As for watermelon, the only way a black person could get them was to steal them from the master’s garden (and since pilferage was one of the few ways slaves had to rebell…) It became axiomatic that if you saw a black person with watermelon, they stole it. Fried chicken and watermelon, as delicious as they are, can still be seen as symbols of very ugly stereotypes.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Mara, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 40, City : Atlanta, State : GA Country : United States, Occupation : data entry, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #21614

    Mara
    Participant

    the difference is that Indians, Italians, and Mexicans weren’t enslaved, their diets forcibly changed, and been compelled to rely on the ‘generosity’ of their owners. Nor was their cuisine used to ‘prove’ their lesser worth…as was watermelon (which labeled the eater as a thief) or chicken (which illustrated their dependancy). But you’re right about one thing, it *is* a matter of being educated. If Americans were ignorant of how the foods were historically used in racist caricatures, they wouldn’t be so uncomfortable about it. And don’t forget, you *did* ask…

    User Detail :  

    Name : Mara, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 40, City : Atlanta, State : GA Country : United States, Occupation : data entry, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
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