I just had to write this one, because I thoroughly enjoyed the silence and expressions on everyone’s face when the co-worker of an old friend of mine asked me during lunch conversation, “Do I like fried chicken?”
OMG, it was so funny. Well to me it was funny, because even the people at the table beside us turned around to look. The look of shock on my friend’s face (she was an old co-worker of mine that happens to now work near my building) was priceless.
I thought she [my friend] was going to curse the woman out. The subject of race never really came up, we just got along. Later she called me to apologize for her co-worker, but knew I wasn’t upset with her. She was more embarrassed than anything. I’m sure she ‘expressed’ her discomfort in colorful detail with her co-worker after lunch. I could just see it on her face.
Now back to my response to the question.
She was actually innocent in asking the question, but I smiled and chuckled a bit before I answered.
I simply responded with, “yes, I do like fried chicken. I often eat it with watermelon chased down with ‘red’ Kool-aid”. My friend started to smile and shake her head, probably because she knew what I was up too.
As I watched the ‘balloon’ float over her head I noticed that she looked puzzled by my answer, so I decided to let her and everyone listening off the hook.
I politely answered her question first, “yes, I do like fried chicken although I choose not to eat it often or cook it at home. I actually do not like watermelon, but if you offer me some Kool-Aid I’m sure to say, Oh Yeah.”
I’m actually a silly person that enjoys talking about serious topics.
Then I explained my initial response. “You’re lucky that you asked the question to me and not some other Black person who may not have found the innocence of your question. You don’t ask a Black person do they like fried chicken, it’s assumed they do. No seriously, that’s why I said I eat it with watermelon and Kool-Aid to point out the absurdity of a stereotypical question. You noticed how quiet everyone around us got.”
I know you didn’t mean any harm, that’s why I laughed. Ignorance is bliss. My problem is to not always laugh at it, but I’m working on that. I say things that I shouldn’t too, so you’re not alone, we’re all human. Just be careful because the next person may not be so understanding of your intentions.
Now I want some Fried Chicken.