*Comedian-blogger Franchesca Ramsey is tackling the serious topic of race as she looks at the age old stereotype surrounding black people and their love of fried chicken and watermelon.
Although many people enjoy these foods, a new video featuring Ramsey, titled “Are Fried Chicken and Watermelon Racist?” notes that watermelon and fried chicken have long been used as stereotypes to degrade and demoralize African Americans while forming ugly connotations that portray them as “lazy and simple.” As a result, the three-minute video, which was published Wednesday (June 3) acknowledges how these stereotypes are racist and explores how the associations are harmful.
“When you automatically link fried chicken and watermelon with black people, you’re bringing all that baggage along with it, even if you don’t realize it,” Ramsey says in the video.
“Are Fried Chicken and Watermelon Racist?” is the first episode of “Decoded,” a new weekly MTV Web series hosted by Ramsey that will air on the brand’s newly launched MTV News YouTube channel, The Huffington Post reports, adding that Ramsey will tackle social issues and pop culture with an honest and comedic spin, in addition to race.
“A show like ‘Decoded’ highlights why we need to break these subjects down, because there’s a lot of people who don’t understand and get uncomfortable when we talk about race,” she told the Post. “There’s still a lot of discomfort, there’s a lot people who need to learn things, but we’re trying to focus on people who are confused and want to learn and comedy helps to infiltrate that.”
Ramsey’s decision kickoff “Decoded” with a look at the fried chicken and watermelon stereotypes is a step in the right direction for her goals with the series as she provides a brief history of the stereotypes for viewers. In addition, she cites Tiger Woods and President Barack Obama as examples to illustrate ways the stereotypes been applied to African Americans over the years.
“I think it’s a lot more impactful if [viewers] understand that this is just not my opinion,” Ramsey said. “It’s important to understand you can’t remove the historical context of racially charged stereotypes or slurs as much as we like to pretend that we can.”
“Decoded” isn’t the first time Ramsey has used her intelligent, funny and digestible method to examine race. The Post notes the funnywoman utilized the same technique in past videos on race, including her 2012 YouTube video, “Shit White Girls Say To Black Girls.” According to the publication, the video ended up going viral as it collected more than 11 million views. Other issues she’s touched in her past work include body image, sexism and cultural appropriation.
“I just hope people can have some teachable moment or frame of reference for what they can do to treat other people better, have conversations about them and help educate people in their community,” Ramsey said.
To see “Are Fried Chicken and Watermelon Racist?” check out the video below: