In this supposed post-racial society, it seems certain foods still carry racial significance and the sting of degrading stereotypes. Watermelon is one of them. Going back to slavery days, African-Americans were depicted as ignorant, small-minded people who are predisposed to liking the fruit.

Fried chicken is another. Black people are seen as having an inordinate fondness for the food, dating back to restaurants like Sambo’s that used finger-licking, chicken-loving black caricatures as their mascots. In reality, black people account for a small portion of the watermelon-buying American public and people of various races and ethnicities enjoy fried chicken. But that reality fails to strip these stereotypes of their potential to offend, degrade and upset.

Tiger Woods became the butt of a racially-tinged fried chicken joke recently when Sergio Garcia, a professional golfer from Spain, said on record that he would invite Tiger Woods to his house and serve him fried chicken. Recognizing how very weighted that food association is, Woods called Garcia’s remark “wrong, hurtful, and clearly inappropriate” on Twitter:

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Woods sees his comments as racist in nature and I do also. What other reasoning, besides race, would Garcia have to like Tiger Woods to fried chicken?

The incident sparked a debate on Twitter about foods that were historically imbued with racial significance.

If our society is truly post-racial, do the associations between black people and watermelon or fried chicken no longer hold any weight? Should we be offended when non-black people associate us with these foods or should we assume their comments have no deeper, race-related meaning? What are your thoughts, Clutchettes?

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  • LemonNLime

    Sergio Garcia, a professional golfer from Spain… Seriously, have you been to Spain? None of this is surprising and believe me the Spanish aren’t post-racial anything and don’t pretend to be either.

  • Ask_ME

    I get that folks here don’t have much respect or sympathy for Tiger Woods, who is MULTIRACIAL and has NEVER disowned his black heritage (just because he doesn’t identify SOLELY as black doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate his black heritage). However, I personally think that hurling racially motivated insults at anyone is wrong period.

    Tiger Woods has a right to identify anyway he likes. If he doesn’t want to deny his Asian and White heritage just to claim his black heritage that is his business. I don’t understand why this is a personal affront to anyone.

    Yes, I understand that bigots will only see one color (black) but it’s a shame that so many black folks want to box him in as well. Let this man live his life in peace. He doesn’t deserve to be hit with racial slurs no more than the rest of us.

    • Julie

      Bless. I don’t understand why so many people seem to be offended that he might not identify as “black.” So what? What Tiger Woods chooses to Identify with is his business and no one else’s and I’m sure he has his reasons. I don’t feel any kind of way about it and it’s not an affront to me as a black person. It just reeks of insecurity when people get angry that he doesn’t choose to identify as black. Why is everyone taking it so personally?

      I bet if he did identify as black there would be a thousand folks in this comment section undermining his blackness like all the other mixed celebrities, but when he doesn’t. OH that’s a problem too! Folks can’t win here.

      I don’t care for Golf or Tiger Woods but at the end of the day, the comment was inappropriate and I imagine the experience was not pleasant for him. No one should have to experience that, no matter how he identifies.