Chick-Fil-A: Gays Can Be Bullies, Too

chick fil aGays upset about Chick-Fil-A’s supporting the anti-gay marriage movement have just as much as right to be upset as Chick-Fil-A does to share their money and support where they want to—and this is coming from a lesbian.

There are lots of things I could be upset about, but what Chick-Fil-A is doing with its profits is not one of them. You see, for me the answer is easy: I just won’t eat there. One piece of greasy chicken is as good as the next — and these days there’s plenty to go around.

But consider this. What do gay cigarette smokers think is being done with the money they spend buying a product that they know isn’t good for them? It’s not like Big Tobacco is taking all of that money and using it to find a cure for lung cancer. No — they are using it to make more of a product that will eventually kill them — and I’ve got news for you, there’s no getting married from the grave.

And then there’s the churches, where Sunday after Sunday the preacher man tells his congregants, many of whom are gay, gay marriage is a sin, but yet doesn’t separate out gay tithes from heterosexual tithes when it’s time for a new Bentley, zoot suit, or mini-mansion. Knowing all this, we still show up every Sunday with tithes in hand saying, “thank yuh Jesus!”

We all know where the Boy Scouts stand on all things gay, but that hasn’t stopped parents — both gay and straight — from enrolling their sons or young gay men from themselves joining and assuming leadership positions in the organization.

It’s all about choice and every day we choose whom to support with our money. We do it without fanfare, without protest, and without engaging in tasteless demonstrations like kiss-in’s to make our point.

The Chick-Fil-A protest is not the same as in 1965, when African-Americans in Montgomery boycotted public buses for racial segregation. Blacks didn’t have a choice of what bus to take to and from work and, even if they did, they were public buses funded with public dollars. Chick-Fil-A is one of a dozen fast food chicken chains. If you don’t like what’s on the menu, go somewhere else. Write a Facebook post, send out a tweet, but most importantly, just don’t patronize them.

Engaging in bully-like demonstrations don’t help the cause. They especially don’t win any points in the Black community where the gay rights movement is already seen as an inferior copycat movement using the tactics and strategies of the 1965 Civil Rights Movement, only without any of the civility and rationality it’s known for.

While it’s clear that very few Black people are leading the gay rights movement, it would be nice if for once, they’d stopped and ask themselves how people like myself, being Black and lesbian, feel about some of the campaigns waged allegedly on our behalf.

If I did research on every company that I spent my money with to see how my money was being used, I’d probably be very disappointed and my options on where to shop would be severely limited. I’d have to first track the history of who profited from the U.S. slave trade and who supported apartheid in South Africa, before I could even consider who’s currently aiding and abetting in the demise of Blacks, how many African-Americans work and are leaders in the company at question—and then maybe I could begin to consider companies who are against gay marriage. And let me tell you, I seriously doubt the gays upset over Chick-Fil-A would be willing to give up shopping with a company because they profited from the slave trade just to be in solidarity with their African-American gay counterparts.

The reality is that everyone doesn’t have to support gay marriage. As a lesbian, at times I don’t even support the tactics and strategies used by the gay mafia to achieve world domination—I mean gay marriage.

jasmyne cannick

This idea that everyone has to support gay marriage or else risk coming under attack is why gay marriage is not federally mandated now. Nobody likes a bully and gays can be bullies too.

Gays whose feathers have been ruffled by Chick-Fil-A need to demonstrate a little common sense—find somewhere else to eat and take ten of their best friends with them. Staged flash mobs of gay couples kissing is not going to do much to win public support for gay marriage—in fact, it might just have the opposite effect.

Jasmyne Cannick
JasmyneCannick.com

Posted: Thursday, 2 August 2012

Published by the LA Progressive on August 2, 2012
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About Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the intersection of pop culture, race, class, and politics as played out in the African-American community. An award-winning journalist who previously worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as a press secretary, Jasmyne was selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and is a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s “News and Notes.” She is currently working as a political consultant in California on local and state campaigns.

Comments

  1. Tyrannus Evisceratus says:

    I agree.

  2. Furthermore, and I hesitate to bring this into the discussion because I doubt Jassmyne has anything but further disdain for the animal rights mafia, but:

    We are talking about a fast food company, part of a violent industry that exploits and kills billions of individuals annually. In terms of numbers/lives, the modern food industry is the most violent in history (from a position of non-speciesism, of course).

    Industries of violence and exploitation such as fast food have no moral compass; it should surprise no one that the company engages in other forms of oppression. And as in all other social justice movements, some degree of militant, civilly disobedient tactics are necessary in this struggle – even if they may make you temporarily uncomfortable or make you feel bullied.

  3. Kezia Jauron says:

    Well, this got my attention – and then enraged me (as a non-black woman married to a man). First, is she saying do nothing because you can’t do everything? Not much that’s progressive about that.

    Second, since when is a nonviolent tactic like a protest a “bully-like demonstration?” Forgive me but it sounds like someone has been co-opted by the oppressor. If anyone is doing the bullying, it’s the corporate chiefs and the hate groups they’re funding that want to keep gays and lesbians less than full members of this nation in the name of their religion.

    Third, she not only defends that company executives’ right to support hate groups, she considers it equal to the consumer’s right not to support the company by eating there. (I suppose she agrees that corporations are people too.) These are hardly equal. Gays and lesbians are not trying to invalidate or criminalize their marriages/relationships – not even the “Gay mafia,” as she calls it, is trying to do that. The hate groups that are receiving his largess are actively engaged in campaigns, here and outside the U.S., to make same-sex relationships illegal and endorse violence against those who engage in them. To say this is about gay marriage – a privilege of first-world householders – is missing a very key point.

    I acknowledge her bitter disdain for the “inferior copycat” gay rights movement dominated by white (and male) voices – that’s a shame. If only there was a black lesbian with political savvy and a fresh voice who could possibly make a difference in the movement…oh well. I guess there isn’t.

  4. That’s your view, Jasmyne, and you are entitled. But I am the queer parent who researches companies, who kept her son out of the Boy Scouts and patiently explained why to anyone who asked, and who chooses not to give her money to businesses that fund her own oppression. I also like the occasional “kiss-in.” See, I don’t feel a need to moderate my behavior so as not to piss off the hets. They have equality, things are golden for them. Silence equals death. Silence prolongs inequality. And as Black lesbian Audre Lorde famously said, “Your silence will not protect you.”

    And the black community doesn’t like gays using “their” tactics? Did they ask Gandhi for permission to use those same tactics first? Sorry, I don’t cater to or coddle bigots, whatever their melanin level.

  5. Gary Chomiak says:

    This reminds me of the time when the evangelicals called for the burning of the Beatles albums after John Lennon said the band was more popular than Jesus Christ. This hit a visceral nerve in the white evangelical community and did nothing to advance the rights of the LBGTQ community. It was a feel good event and a call to solidarity for evangelical white folk, nothing more. I’m glad it happened now and not in late October.

    The question I have is, ‘How do we proceed from here in our efforts to bring equality and justice to all people?’ How do we show the people who lined up to eat chicken sandwiches that the people they’re rallying around are manipulating their emotions and that the people they’re standing against are their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, aunts, uncles, offspring and friends?

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