Fried chicken in the cafeteria

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subtitler

Senior Member
Finland
Hi!

I've got a cultural question.
In a tv reality show about african american models in Hollywood, two women pick on the third one for being mixed (Her father is black and mother is white). She also has a more privileged background than the others and has gone to university whereas the others haven't.
One of them says:
"You have 1% black in you, you’re black. You’re supposed to have fried chicken at ten months. You waited 12 years of your life. What black person doesn't eat fried chicken? Don't they have fried chicken in the cafeteria?"
The other one says:
"That was funny, though. I ain’t takin’ no sides."
The mixed woman says:
"No, but I bet I won't be having heart problems."
The first two laugh at her.
Why is this funny? Do they normally serve fried chicken at school? Or is it funny cause it's usually not the case? Thanks again!
 
  • mangoman

    Senior Member
    British English
    They are referring to a negative stereotype that white people in America hold, that African-Americans live on fried chicken (and even more negatively, watermelons). They are ribbing her for "not being Black enough", and when she comes up with a witty reply, (I guess) they're acknowledging her as one of them.
     

    subtitler

    Senior Member
    Finland
    They are referring to a negative stereotype that white people in America hold, that African-Americans live on fried chicken (and even more negatively, watermelons).
    Yes, but it seems that the other two expect that the mixed girl should've eaten fried chicken because it's "a black thing to do". I'm just wondering whether they mean that, for example, they had fried chicken very often at their school whereas the mixed girl didn't (she grew in a predominantly white area) or if it's just a joke and that they didn't have fried chicken at school either.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    There may indeed be school cafeterias today which never serve fried chicken, but traditionally school cafeterias in the US would serve fried chicken on a regular basis. (Not every day, though.)

    Addition: On rereading the original post, I see that the woman asking about the cafeteria is referring to some sort of cafeteria other than a school or university cafeteria, probably a cafeteria at work. Nevertheless, the woman she is questioning would likely have had the choice of eating fried chicken at some time in her life, including at school.
     
    Last edited:

    temple09

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Addition: On rereading the original post, I see that the woman asking about the cafeteria is referring to some sort of cafeteria other than a school or university cafeteria, probably a cafeteria at work.
    I disagree. She says "you're supposed to have fried chicken at ten months" - in other words - if you are black then you are expected to eat fried chicken as soon as you're able to eat solids. She then goes on to say that she waited until she was twelve before she had any, before then asking about the cafeteria, so I think she did mean the school cafeteria. Bearing in mind this is a quote on reality TV, I think that her confusing use of tense for "don't they have fried chicken" is either unintentional, or she is using "they" to refer to the type of school in general.

    As stated, the "humour" focuses around the stereotype of African American's dependency on fried chicken.

    As an aside, I don't know about other English speaking countries, but in the UK, we would use the phrase "dual heritage" or "mixed race", rather than "mixed" on its own.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Here in the South, we have cafeterias that are restaurants (Furr's, Luby's, etc) which serve fried chicken (and a great many other things) to people of all ages. In other words, you don't have to go to school or work to eat at a cafeteria.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    First of all, it's a standard stereotype in the U.S. that blacks love their fried chicken.

    The important word here is fried. Food fried in fat clogs your arteries and makes you more prone to health/heart problems.

    They're joking here that blacks start this unhealthy pattern at a really young age, so the fact this woman who's half black didn't have any until she was twelve was almost unbelievable. She's telling them that's a good thing. Her diet won't cause her to drop dead from a heart attack.

    Actually, it's almost a staple for young children of any color: fried chicken nuggets, served at every fast food joint and school cafeteria over here!

    This exchange is really very lighthearted in tone. They're teasing her about her lack of black culture, at least when it comes to fried chicken.
     
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