Colorado state Senator Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, invoked political and racial controversy on Wednesday when she mentioned the gormandizing tendencies of minorities, blacks in particular, to eat too much barbecue and fried chicken as she spoke at a meeting of the state legislature’s Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force.
“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race.”
“Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that's prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can't help it.”
“Although I've got to say, I've never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”
“The Mexican diet in Mexico with all of the fresh vegetables, and you go down there and they are much thinner than they are up here. They’ve changed their diet. I’ve read studies on that.”
“I was highly offended by your remarks.”
“I will not engage in a dialogue where I am in the company you are using these stereotype references about African Americans and chicken and food.”
“I will just not tolerate that. It’s not about chicken.”
Now remember, it was pro golfer Sergio Garcia that offered to have Tiger Woods over to serve him fried chicken earlier this year, so this is nothing new.
So whether it was intentional or unintentional, Marble’s comment taps into a longstanding belief that poor, ignorant blacks are far more susceptible to certain stereotypical foods—foods like barbecue, watermelons, chitterlings, pig’s feet, neck bones, grits, fatback, and especially fried chicken.
The stereotypical belief is that poor, uneducated blacks eat a lot of fried, greasy foods, because they are too ignorant, too incredulous, or too impoverished to invest in themselves, in their communities, or in their health, and many of these stereotypical, food myths go all the way back to slavery or at least back to the Jim Crow era, when slaves would allegedly raid the white master’s watermelon patch based on the lack of food availability or treat a chicken like gold because it was cheap, easy to feed, and it was a good source of meat.
This also falls back onto what Fox News host Bill O’Reilly referred to as the “grievance industry” that promotes the ideology of how self-victimizing blacks are perfectly content to wallow in the greasy, fried misery of their self-destructive, poorly decided decisions.
And even though Marble didn’t come right out and say it, many other conservatives have been all too willing to blame the big, liberal government for subsidizing this fried chicken phenomenon through the welfare state, the food stamp program in particular, where the general, conservative consensus is that big, liberal programs like food stamps actually help to encourage cheap, unhealthy, food habits.
In other words, if you cut the food stamps or the welfare, you might actually improve the health conditions of poor, fried chicken eating blacks, Latinos and other poor people, but there is more to this story.
In my hometown of Wynne, Ark., there are two grocery stores that both represent the same company name. The only difference is that one store primarily caters to the poorer more ethnic side of town, while the other more affluent store caters to mostly whites.
In what is commonly known locally as the “black grocery store,” certain ethnically stereotyped foods like pig’s feet, neck bones, hog maws, and chitterlings were found in a much greater capacity than they were found at the same store brand that was on the more affluent side of town, which has traditionally been labeled as the white side of town with many of the cheap, ethnic, unhealthy foods being found exclusively at the minority store.
So if the poor, uneducated minorities should be ashamed of themselves for indulging in these fried foods fantasies, the capitalistic market should also be ashamed for targeting and profiting off of these fried foods, fantasy consumption districts.
This fried chicken or fried foods epidemic is very similar to the epidemic of guns and drugs that have chronically saturated the black community, and the same observation applies, because neither the guns, the drugs nor the fried chicken are getting into these minority neighborhoods without some very effective assistance.
It also makes no sense why some conservatives have been so critical of First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity endeavors—things like her Let’s Move campaign and her organic, White House garden, because based on Marble's concerns about the greasy, food dangers facing minorities and others in this country, it would seem as if the state Senator would be one of the few Republicans/conservatives in total support of the First Lady.