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Sergio Garcia's Chicken Dance

It's time to retire fried chicken as an insult. Because it's not having the desired effect.

Richard Heathcote

By now you've probably heard about Sergio Garcia's comments about Tiger Woods, an echo of the 1997 Masters' "we'll just serve 'em fried chicken and greens" comment by yuckster-golfer Fuzzy Zoeller (a weak attempt at humor that didn't play well against the backdrop of golf's exclusionary history), but this time Garcia referenced only the fried chicken part of the equation, because you don't want to accuse anyone of liking TWO delicious foods. Garcia appears to have a real disdain for Woods. And maybe he thought he was being funny. Or maybe this is why Spanish soccer fans throw bananas at black English footballers.

There are three issues here.

First, and most tragic, is that I'm forced to talk about golf. A sport I revile and whose advocates I loathe. The Golf Prick has a long history of mockery on Barking Carnival and I won't apologize for that stance. They infect our work places with imaginary hall-putting, they steal good dog park land, and they molest us with their tedious tales of their extraordinary play of an unfathomable obstacle.

In that sense, let's be crystal clear about who the real victim is here: Me.

Second, Tiger Woods has 78 PGA tour wins in his career. Sergio Garcia has 8. They are rivals in the sense that the housefly I just swatted was vying with me for living room supremacy. I briefly acknowledge it's buzzing irritation and then dispatch it during a commercial break of House Hunters International with a rolled up copy of The Watchtower magazine. This is like The Bleacher Report needling F Scott Fitzgerald's literary prowess.

Third, the chicken (or watermelon, or any soul food, for that matter) insult for black people might be one of the least effective racial insults in human history. Though the historical roots of the stereotype are meant to conjure poverty or lack of resources (chickens are cheaper to keep than cattle, sheep, or pigs, and fried chicken allows for easier storage for folks without refrigerators), the universally beloved status of fried poultry across dozens of cultures and all socioeconomic groups renders the attack useless. I love chicken. You love chicken. We all love chicken. We even make songs and dances about it. Just look at these confused white children!

Making fun of chicken is mocking a beloved staple food humanity has enjoyed for centuries. Like bread or Gatorade.

Isn't the power of a good racial insult to somehow separate or isolate the target from the rest of the humanity? To play upon fears or insecurities about a group's motivations, character, or propensities? Pointing out that a group may like fried chicken only increases my admiration for their good taste. Doubly so if it's extra-spicy from Popeye's (side order dilemma: cajun rice or red beans n' rice? - there is no easy answer). Or home-made, hand-battered, fried chicken on top of a delicious waffle. Dear God. Soul food is delicious. And if you're from the South, it's a color blind part of everyone's culture.

Where's the slight? Don Rickles can't believe you think that this is an effective attack.

Committed racists: raise your game. It's 2013. Start depicting black people eating brussel sprouts and salted plums. It'll be inaccurate, but at least it's nasty.

Or try another tactic altogether.

What if Sergio had said,"Tiger Woods is as slow reporting his foul ball tosses as he is crossing a pedestrian walkway." Still racist. But funnier. My point is this - try to be insulting in ways that might at least be entertaining.

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