Why Fried Chicken Is Still No Laughing Matter
1 year ago
Even in a "post-racial" society, joking about stereotypes isn't cool
The views expressed in this Op-Ed do not reflect that of the Loop 21.
There is something in the water. These past few weeks have been filled with some crazy stories, from the serious, to the head scratching, not to mention the latest in the Presidential race. But today I want to talk about something serious, something of national importance. Fried chicken. I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the mess Burger King and Mary J. Blige got themselves into with a now-pulled ad touting the joys of a crispy chicken wrap.
People are quick to blame Burger King for letting the ad to go air, and they’d be right. I’m unclear how an “unfinished” ad gets on the air – these guys aren’t new to this, they are advertising professionals. So I’m not sure I buy that excuse. I think the more likely thing is this was exactly the ad they intended to run, and no one in a position of power saw anything wrong with it.
Last week I attended the Aspen Institute’s conference on race. One of the panelists made a good point about the importance of diversity in the newsroom. That many poor decisions on coverage of a certain story regarding people of color could have been avoided if an actual person of color had been in the room to say “hey guys, this isn’t right.” The same principle applies to Burger King. I don’t know what the makeup of their decision makers is, but I’m guessing it’s possible that there weren’t a whole lot of diverse voices in the room. But even if there was, that doesn’t let them off the hook.