The History of a Stereotype

Megan McArdle provides some interesting insight into the history of fried chicken as a stereotype (in the news lately). Here’s the basic point:

So while she may well be right about Birth of a Nation establishing this stereotype, I think she’s reading the racist message backwards.  DW Griffith was not suggesting that black legislators during reconstruction were dragging their poor people food into office with them.  Rather, eating fried chicken showed them getting above their station–gorging on luxury foods.  That is the message that audiences in 1915 would have read into that scene.

An interesting twist.


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