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View Diary: Racist Obama Sign At Upper West Side Whole Foods Removed (VIDEO) (96 comments)

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  •  Who says there was an intent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb, K S LaVida, Keninoakland

    The artist that created that image probably had no idea there was a problem with depicting black people eating chicken and that he/she would be considered to be disrespecting the President for doing so.  

    The vast majority of people out there just aren't aware of those unfortunate stereotypes about black people eating  fried chicken or watermelon.  

    I myself probably would have liked seeing him depicted that way, since he looks somewhat bad-ass and it affirms my positive image of him.  Moreover the product is an organic whole chicken, not fried.  But I'm sure the thought police here and elsewehere might feel otherwise.

    In any event, I can't see any intent to disparage the President here.

    "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

    by emobile on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:41:39 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Do you reside outside the USA? (12+ / 0-)
      The vast majority of people out there just aren't aware of those unfortunate stereotypes about black people eating  fried chicken or watermelon.  
      I agree the vast majority of human beings are not Americans. But I bet more than a few foreigners know about these stereotypes, being as they have been in circulation for generations.
      •  Generations (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks for bringing up that word ... I think that's another aspect to the question of whether any disrespect or racism was intended.  

        The artist who did that caricature and/or the manager that signed off on it might be too young to remember how bad the symbolism was.  Awareness of the ugly chitlin, chicken and watermelon eating black stereotypes was a lot more prevalent during the Civil Rights era.  Now I'm not so sure.

        On the whole dogwhistle question below, I agree with the poster that says that there have to be dogs.  As for where I live, I was in Hell's Kitchen for years and stayed in the Upper West at length, and I know those hoods and Whole Foods are just not racial dog-whistle locales.

        "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

        by emobile on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:32:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree, it's pretty obscure (1+ / 0-)
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      The whole fried chicken thing doesn't resonate in New York the way it might elsewhere.  Certainly not on the Upper West Side, a dark-blue neighborhood as far from crackerdom as it is from North Korea.  I mean, in that neighborhood, watermelon is a fruit!  And the ad was for whole organic chicken, not fried chicken.  So frankly I think it's a stretch, extremely thin-skinned, to even take offense to this.  It wasn't "funny black man", it was "the president" announcing a good price.

      •  And now we see why dogwhistles were developed (6+ / 0-)

        Deniability is always available when the dogwhistle is used. How elegant.

        •  Dogwhistles require dogs (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund, Keninoakland, emobile

          The point is that if this were a dogwhistle, it would not be heard.  That neighborhood is just not receptive to it.

          Maybe if it were in Georgia.  But UWS New Yorkers are highly unlikely to see any  kind of racist association with chicken -- no doubt their favorite meat, the red kinds being frowned upon there.  Whole chickens are more associated with Jewish Penicillin (chicken soup).

          •  Dogwhistles are meant to not be heard (0+ / 0-)

            By folks such as yourself.

            But if you think no one in your neighborhood hears it then all I can say is the weather must be better in Heaven. (It's snowing here... just barely.)

          •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            emobile, indefinitelee, K S LaVida

            A lot of people are missing the neighborhood context here.  The Upper West Side is defined as 59th Street to 110th Street, from Central Park to the Hudson River.  However, it is actually three neighborhoods: 59th to 72nd, especially the eastern side on Central Park West is yuppie central, very wealthy.  72nd to 86th is the core, with most of the restaurants and bars.  Wealthy for the most part but many younger professionals mixed with long time residents.  86th to 110th is where the neighborhood gets more diverse and less wealthy.

            Regardless of that, the top donations to Obama 2012 in ALL THE LAND were from those three divisions of the UWS:

            10024 (New York, NY)    $2,150,176
            10023 (New York, NY)    $1,782,346
            10025 (New York, NY)    $1,691,696


            The neighborhood is overwhelmingly liberal, from the lifestyle Lululemon set in 10023, to the  radical Columbia professor contingent in 10025.

            I posted below how the Whole Foods staff is overwhelmingly African American and Hispanic, from the neighborhood and nearby and this includes management.

            This is not to say this is not a racist sign.  It very well could be the case.  However, my conclusion is like yours: the context of black folk eatin' chicken as racist dogwhistle will not resonate with many in the 10025 zip code.  Last week the face of Sarah Jessica Parker was used in the exact style as that of the President above to sell some cheese or something in that particular store.

            It could very well be the store was just using the hugely popular President's visage to move some product.

            Hand me my old guitar, Pass the whiskey 'round

            by htat33 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:58:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Who says liberals can't be racist? (0+ / 0-)

              Not understanding your POV, the intent of this ad is questionable at best. Racists always complain about political correctness. I have no sympathy for them.

              •  Absurd (0+ / 0-)

                UWS liberals are generally not racist; certainly a WFM store (which as somebody noted was primarily staffed by African-Americans) would not try to dogwhistle in business that way.  Lots of white New Yorkers are, to be sure, but in a very tribal city with very distinct neighborhood personalities, chicken as a racist dogwhistle is just absurd.  It is heard as a dogwhistle about as well as it would be if it were written in Ainu or Inuktituk.

                It's more of a lesson in cultural diversity.  Showing the soles of your shoes is an insult in the Arab world, we learned when Shrub got shown a pair.  And chicken has racist connotations in some parts of the US.  Imagine!  But none was intended here.

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