5 min read
Racists really need to update their stereotype references. When it comes to black people at least, they seem stuck on…well, they’re stuck on stupid, as many of us know, but also stuck in the old days. Music evolves, the amount of clothing women wear (or don’t wear) evolves, our language evolves, yet racist Americans don’t appear to take pride in their racism enough to keep up with the times.
For example, Jennifer Olsen, chairwoman of Yellowstone County’s Republican committee in Montana, allegedly shared the following “hilarious” image with her Facebook followers:
She denies any involvement with this posting. In short, she says a hater is responsible. I’m sure her best friend is black, she prays to the black Jesus everyday of Black History Month and loves a scrumptious Kwanzaa cake. In 2000, Montana had a black population of less than half a percent. HALF A PERCENT! Where exactly are all these black people who Jennifer – oops, I mean, “Jennifer’s hater”- sees indulging in watermelon grubfests?
Where do these racists get their black-people-eat stereotypes? Is there a watermelon eating show on BET that I don’t know about? Um, also, because people keep forgetting, President Obama is half-white, so…
These racists need to up their game. If you’re going to decide that all people of one race (ignoring that all of us humans are ridiculously genetically similar) eat the same things, at least be current people! For you racists, I submit three popular black-people-eat stereotypes that are old as hell and implore you to consider modernizing your racist jokes.
This racial weapon has been around since the days of slavery. Watermelon was one of the foods masters deigned to feed their captives. Slavery has ended; this black chick is free and happily riffing on racists. So why does the watermelon obsession persist? Why are some racists so fixated on black people eating watermelon?
Are their hordes of black people across America buying up all the watermelon, keeping them from melon-loving racists? Was there a run on watermelon during the depression and black people were first in line, hogging the watermelon from the other poor, starving, depressed non-black folk? Do some people have a watermelon allergy and are thus jealous of those of us that can easily digest the juicy melon? Do watermelons speak to black people in special language?
Hey black girl, I wanna be in yo’ belly. Let’s do this!
Do we look hotter eating watermelon? Maybe I should try this: sit down at a public place, chow down on some watermelon, wind machine blowing a breeze through my hair, making seductive eyes at my luscious, red fruit and see how many men start throwing themselves at me. Ah, sweet watermelon, thank you for getting me a man!
You know what’s interesting? China is the largest producer of watermelon. The USDA led a super-important study on the lives of watermelon. Know what they found? Asian people actually consume a whole lotta this melon. More than black people. So BAM, racists! Check your stats, fools!
These lame racists living in the past don’t care though. This is why I don’t eat watermelon in mixed company: stereotype threat.
From time to time I’ll order a side of fruit at brunch. Sometimes, watermelon is in that mix. I don’t request it specifically; it just shows up in the bowl. If there are suspect people nearby who seem overly interested in the fruits of my bowl, I’ll loudly say to the server, loudly enough to be overheard, using my best diction: “Excuuuuuse me, sir. I did not ask for this wayward melon. It repulses meeeeeuh. Soooo guh-ross! It’s unnatural. Take it away. I said: take it away, sir! Have you people never heard of apples? Darn watermelon ruining the fabric of our society! Have a good day, sir. I said, GOOD DAY!”
Another old stereotype. Wouldn’t you know, black Americans and eating chicken goes back to the days of slavery? Chickens were one of the few animals slaves were allowed to own.
People eat fried chicken throughout the world: it’s popular in the American South among not just black people, but Southerners of all colors. If you’ve ever go to a Japanese restaurant and order “chicken katsu”, you’re presented with a patty of fried chicken. Koreans have their own version of fried chicken. Visit one of the many fried chicken shops in Los Angeles’s Koreatown and you’ll see not just Koreans enjoying it, but white hipsters too!
As mentioned in a previous post, I stopped eating fried chicken in high school. Fried food = fatty boombatty. No thanks. However. Yes, HOWEVER. I do love Popeye’s, mainly for the red beans and rice, but the chicken is pretty hot and tasty.
I do not enter Popeye’s in recognizable form. My alter ego, Diane, goes. Diane seems like a ethnically-neutral name, right? I’ve met Dianes of all colors. Diane wears a red wig, think Carrot Top’s style:a big curly mop. She also dons a white theater mask (the comedy one, not the sad tragedy one). She speaks in a deep, saccharine, Southern drawl:
“Hey y’all, I’m just a sweet ole girl from Jo’gia. I love me some fried chicken. Mmm, mmm, mmm, deep down in my churchin’ soul. Y’all know how you go to church and you just feel the spirit of the Lawd in ya? That’s how I feel when I get me some Popeye’s. Mmm. Mmm. What’s that? My mask is scary? Well, you know, I got protect myself from the cancer. That skin cancer’ll kill ya. Thanks for the chicken. Have a nice day, y’all!”
Kool-Aid (Oh yeah!)
Kool-Aid is cheap as hell. If you are trying to save a dollar or quench the thirst of a large family who enjoys uber-sugary bevvies on a tight budget, Kool-Aid is an option. If you aspire to have a crayon-colored tongue, get you some Kool-Aid. If you just like the taste of artificial powders: hell yeah, Kool-Aid. Me, I haven’t had Kool-Aid since I was a kid. Though I do love a good Kool-Aid man cameo on Family Guy.
Some more knowledge for you racists, Kool-Aid was invented by a white man in Nebraska in the 1920s. Nebraska had how many black people then? Like 2? And who engineered a cult’s group suicide making the term “Drinking the Kool-Aid” part of our lexicon: Jim Jones. Not black, not even brownish. Kool-Aid started with white people. So suck it.
I am black, therefore I am an expert on what this black person eats. Should you be the type to assume that what one black person does, all black people do, here are some ideas for new racial stereotypes. Try: spinach, low-fat milk, Sour Patch Kids, protein shakes, udon noodle soup, sushi, wonton noodle soup, pasta, coffee, fajitas, crawfish…
If you’re stuck on stupid and find yourself obsessed with what black people eat, ask yourself this: what is so shameful or insult-worthy about eating healthy fruit, tasty chicken or washing it all down with a sickeningly-sweet, cold beverage? Perhaps you are the one with the issue?
Rashida (@DWMBlog)June 20, 2015
I always wondered why there was such a stereotype around black people loving watermelon. I am a die-hard, watermelon-loving black person, and there’s no shame in my game LOL.
Also, I’m not a huge fan of fried-chicken. I prefer baked. So take that, stereotyping dirt bags! 🙂
The Girl Next Door is BlackJune 22, 2015
An Asian friend recently asked me about this: “Why do people make fun of black people for eating watermelon? It makes no sense.”
I told her, that’s exactly it – it doesn’t make any sense! It’s just to some people, anything that black people do is worth denigrating or mocking. Even something as innocuous as liking fresh fruit. Fruit! Which we’re encouraged to eat because it’s healthy and natural. There’s no explaining nonsensical hate.
workingonworkingmomJanuary 19, 2015
I didn’t even know most of these stereotypes existed until I was in college and even then I didn’t quite understand them, I have always been a little slow on the stereotype train. That picture posted by Jennifer Olsen made me wince when I saw it, I don’t know if I’m more shocked that someone feels that way (and thinks it’s funny) or that they shamelessly post it for all to see.
This was a great read, it literally had me laughing out loud.
The Girl Next Door is BlackJanuary 19, 2015
I’m glad you liked the post. 🙂
I think I’m definitely more shocked when people share their ignorance for the world to see. That’s when you know they truly believe it.
AfterTheKidsLeaveJanuary 19, 2015
My (very non-black) (very Jewish) mother-in-law told me that in the month prior to her son’s birth in 1958, she had one overwhelming food craving: watermelon. I’m sure this illustrates something or another. Or possibly not. Ahem.
Great post! 🙂
The Girl Next Door is BlackJanuary 19, 2015
Probably that watermelon is good for us. 🙂 Thank you!
NikkiJanuary 19, 2015
I seriously love your research/history lesson behind chicken and on watermelon! I feel like I learned something today. Thank you!
The Girl Next Door is BlackJanuary 19, 2015
That makes me happy to hear, Nikki. 🙂
MBJanuary 10, 2015
Another great post! I always wondered why people hold onto these ridiculous and pretty false stereotypes. And I love how you wrote, “These racists need to up their game.” Shows how ridiculous and hopeless their “cause” is.
Not that this is at the level at which you describe, but I’m from NJ, and everyone thinks you’re related to a mobster or know the cast from Jersey Shore. Where I grew up, there really weren’t that many people who were like that. In fact, I think NJ probably has an incredibly diverse group of people from all parts of the country and pretty much the gamut of other countries represented, especially being so close to major cities like NYC and Philly. Another one I dislike is that Polish people (of which descent I am) are stupid. I’m sure that came up when Poles were immigrating to the US decades ago and whose language is so different from English that they appeared “stupid”.
This post was written so well and with so much humor without being defensive. And, dammit, I love watermelon! Who wouldn’t want to eat it? It’s healthy, refreshing and delicious!!!
The Girl Next Door is BlackJanuary 12, 2015
I didn’t know that about the Polish. Doesn’t surprise me though; we place a lot of importance on speaking the “right kind” of English.
Thank you for your kind words and great comment!
CamilletaNovember 3, 2014
People are very attached to their stereotypes. It’s ridiculous! I’m Jewish and I love fried chicken and watermelon! Also, I’m not cheap. 😉
The Girl Next Door is BlackNovember 3, 2014
Lol! I almost did a spit-take reading this!
Thanks for your comment. 🙂
poetessSeptember 23, 2014
Why I don’t give a swollen baboon’s a** what white people think of me
I’m an angry black woman (sometimes), love me some watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew; love me some fried chicken, and yes, I occasionally use Ebonics (but am proficient in the Queen’s English as well); I am not ashamed of my brothers and sisters who name their children creatively, or who act “ghetto” or the women who give their bodies up to bear children out of wedlock. Black people are not unique in these aspects. There are myriad people of every race and ethnicity who are loud, act crazy, have kids out of wedlock, burden their children with odd first names (Trig, Apple, Moon Unit). How a certain section of the black population of chooses to live their lives is not a reflection on me, and I refuse to think of it that way. I am an individual who happens to be African American. I simply do not have time to waste worrying about what some random white person (s) think about my culture, my people, the way I wear my hair, or how I conduct myself in public and most of all, what I choose to eat. Whatever stereotypes they are attaching to me are their problem. I will eat whatever I choose to in the shared public space and if somebody finds it fodder for their confirmation biases, well, that says a lot more about them and their racist hang-ups that it will ever say about me. I believe that every ridiculous stereotype the collective racist culture holds about blacks is actually a self-serving conceit created to shame us into silence and submission. When you are in a position of weakness, it’s difficult to push back against injustice; when you think something is the matter with you, you’re too busy with self-blame to turn a critical eye on your true tormenter.
The Girl Next Door is BlackOctober 2, 2014
Thanks for your comment.
You might enjoy this article on Shadown & Act: . It discusses how black Americans are so accostomed to adapting their behaviors to avoid causing discomfort of or ridicule from white Americans, it’s almost subconcious behavior.
Ellen HawleyJuly 29, 2014
My (white) southern partner grew up eating watermelon and fried chicken. Oddly enough, no one sells horrible little statuettes of her and her family doing this. Strange, that.
Julie PhelpsAugust 29, 2013
Hah! You got me choking on the hunks of watermelon I was eating as my late night treat. Yep, have a container of cut up pieces right in the refrigerator, ready for those all important sudden urges.
And I do love Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice.
And the fries at In N Out Burgers? Can’t hold me back….
Food cravings are a universal bond, seems to me.
thegirlnextdoorisblackAugust 29, 2013
Right? If someone doesn’t like tasty food, there’s something wrong! Thanks for reading!