I didn’t know this needed explaining before this week, but apparently it does: When someone refers to “your community,” they’re almost certainly referring to “your town” or “your area.”
Unless context clearly indicates otherwise, nobody is referring to your race, creed or ethnicity. In fact, absent any other tip-offs that indicate a racial animus, it’s the ultimate bad-faith argument to paint a company as bigot for using those words.
Except, of course, when that company is Chick-fil-A. I forgot about that caveat — since they’re a bunch of conservative Christians, after all, and there’s no perfidy the company won’t sink to — including invoking the racial stereotype that black people love fried chicken on Twitter.
The trouble started brewing on Friday, when Twitter user @KANYEISMYDAD, who goes by the first name Don on his profile, was annoyed his location had yet to get Chick-fil-A’s spicy chicken nuggets:
— Don (@KANYEISMYDAD) September 9, 2022
The company got back to him and promised they’d be getting the nuggets out to more locations soon:
Your community will be the first to know if spicy items are added to the permanent menu, Don!
— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) September 9, 2022
“Your community will be the first to know if spicy items are added to the permanent menu, Don!” they wrote.
If you’re a rational human being, what you can assume is that the Chick-fil-A’s in his area will advertise the spicy nuggets and other spicy chicken items when they become available. Whether that community happens to be in Baltimore, the rolling farmland of New Jersey or the Atlanta suburbs, the restaurant is pledging to ensure that community knows.
The problem, unfortunately, is that Don is black, Chick-fil-A is Christian and left-bubble Twitter saw an opportunity to pounce. Here’s blue-check publicist Tenille Clarke insisting the chain “explain yourself – QUICKLY.” A short clip of a black man saying, “What do you mean by that?” was attached:
explain yourself – QUICKLY. 🤨 pic.twitter.com/AaFeMqfuEn
— Tenille. (@tenilleclarke1) September 10, 2022
Oh, and she wasn’t alone. Lordy, was she ever not alone:
Every black person when they seen “your community “ : pic.twitter.com/3ZPMRF8Kea
— ShetooŚheistyyy🅱️__ (@Jayyshiestyyy__) September 10, 2022
If anyone does not think this company is not filled with hate and racism……AND secretly goes about it look up Chik-Fil-A in the news. The founder and his supporters are filled with hate. I will never eat their food.
— TroisBoi 🏳️🌈 (@azzabar2003) September 11, 2022
Exactly why I don’t eat @ChickfilA this company has been racist for the longest.
— Nat (@Mzlasy404) September 11, 2022
Yes, it seems like plenty of trigger-happy Twitterers put the original poster’s race and the fact he was asking about fried chicken together, along with the word “community,” and conclusively deduced Chick-fil-A was being racist.
This is preposterous, sure. But no matter how ludicrous the offense taken, they’re going to take it. Part of it can be explained by ignorance in the service of cultural warrior cupidity. However, this kind of deliberate obliviousness to Chick-fil-A’s clear meaning here — where “community” refers to their actual physical community, not a diasporic community of aggrieved co-racialists — is a familiar process that dates so far back into antiquity that Dostoyevsky referred to it in “The Brothers Karamazov,” a tome that predated the 21st century by 20 years and Chick-fil-A by another 66:
The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offense, isn’t it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill — he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offense, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it.
Nevertheless, the company thought the best way out of this was to prostrate itself before the pitchfork-wielders.
“The response was a poor choice of words but was not intended in any way to be insensitive or disrespectful,” a company representative said, according to the New York Post. “We often use the term ‘community’ in a broader sense to talk about places where we operate restaurants and serve the surrounding community.”
Did this help even a whit? You tell me. Here was NBC News’ headline about the chain’s apology: “Chick-fil-A says tweet that seemed to refer to the Black community was a ‘poor choice of words.'”
Except it wasn’t — provided, of course, the person passing judgment didn’t want to exploit it to erect a sustainably farmed mountain out of a molehill.
The mob can’t be placated, and its irrationality isn’t a bug but a feature. Apologies are futile. Sackcloth and ashes don’t work, either literally or metaphorically.
Thankfully, there’s a way to quietly offset the targeted pile-on Chick-fil-A is facing. As the ads used to say, “Eat mor chikin.” Let Chick-fil-A know you’ll stand by them even as professional Twitter snowflakes with gender studies degrees keep manufacturing fake outrage.
Revenge, in this one case, is best served hot, delicious and with waffle fries.
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