A fried chicken stand in Brooklyn, NY changed its name recently from Royal Fried Chicken to Obama Fried Chicken in honor of the United States’ 44th President. The stand’s owner, who remained anonymous but was represented by employee Mohammed Jabbar, thought the renaming would celebrate President Obama’s election and create goodwill in the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, many community organizers and activists aren’t on the same page with Jabbar, who is an immigrant. Within days after the fried chicken stand’s new signs went up, Jabbar started receiving complaints that the new name was offensive and racist, and reinforced stereotypes about African-Americans.
Brownsville, the Brooklyn neighborhood where Obama Fried Chicken resides, is made up of primarily minority populations. Reactions on the street were mixed. Some didn’t see the big deal with the new name. Others thought it was extremely offensive.
Obama Fried Chicken’s competition, located right across the street, has taken advantage of the controversy by attracting customers who are offended by the name. Obama Fried Chicken has promised to rename themselves soon, and Jabbar can’t wait for it all to blow over.
In the end, it appears to have been an honest attempt to honor President Obama, although a White House spokesman did say that the Oval Office has long looked down upon attempts to use the President’s name for commercial purposes.
It’s also a strange phenomenon to see new immigrants who are unaware of America’s troubled past offending older minority groups like African-Americans without realizing it. And it appears that political correctness has won out again.