Comedian Aamer Rahman has called out a Melbourne restaurant, FAT Fried and Tasty, for using posters and signage that perpetuate racist stereotypes of African American people.
Rahman posted images of the interior of the Brunswick restaurant to his Twitter and Facebook page, including an image of US rapper the Notorious BIG, also known as Biggie Smalls, eating fried chicken. Smalls was murdered in 1997.
Not, though, for eating fried chicken…
There is also a vintage Aunt Jemima advertisement in the store. The advertisements were first used in the 1880s and have been widely criticised for perpetuating racist stereotypes.
So, is ‘Uncle Ben’ still safe, or do I have to undergo racial awareness conditioning every time I cook rice?
Rahman is best known for his work with Fear of a Brown Planet, and for his standup routine on reverse racism.
There’s no such thing. There’s just racism. And that’s not defined by ‘opening a fried chicken restaurant’, unless you are one of those hyper-sensitive SJW types eager to see ‘racism’ in just about anything.
A co-owner of the restaurant, who did not want to be named, told Guardian Australia that while he was not opposed to people questioning the restaurant on social media, the situation was getting out of hand.
“In terms of the way some people have gone about it, they’ve just trolled our Facebook and social media with no regards for us as a small business, and without hearing our explanation or our side of the story,” he said.
“We by no means were trying to be racist, we were merely showing Biggie Smalls as a figure and how much we love him.”
The Aunt Jemima poster was “1950s artwork”, he said. “It’s showing people how far we’ve come since then.”
The restaurant would need some time to consider its next move, and would not necessarily take the posters and mural down, he said.
Translation: ‘We’ll be taking them down soon. Please don’t hurt us!’
Ahmed Yussuf, an East African writer in Melbourne who co-hosts a podcast on current affairs, pop culture and politics through a critical race lens called Race Card, said to excuse the Aunt Jemima ad as artwork was ignorant.
“A lot of 1950s art is very, very racist, and paying tribute to someone by putting up what is effectively propaganda that shows African American people as basically less than human is disrespectful,” he said.
“What exactly are they paying tribute to by doing that? And they don’t just have Biggie Smalls on the wall, he’s holding fried chicken, and there are racist connotations around that.”
What sort of racist connotations?
Is it now ‘racist’ to note that, as the number of black people in an area increases, so to do the number of fried chicken outlets? And that this doesn’t happen with health food stores, coffee shops or Chinese takeaways?
Or to note that a crowd of young black females routinely raises the decibel level to rival Concorde taking off, a feat only achieved by young white females after drink is taken?
If so, I think ‘racism’ has finally jumped the shark.