Says KITS Live 105 & "The Woody Show": Racism & speciesism brings the lolz!

January 18th, 2009 11:21 pm by Kelly Garbato

pattrice jones, writing at the Eastern Shore Sanctuary Blog, alerts us of an alarming stunt that a team of San Francisco radio hosts have planned for Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day.

MON: The Woody Show is off for MLK Day . . . or as Woody & Ravey call it…the day after the Steelers beat the Ravens to go to the Superbowl.

TUES: Tony (in a chicken suit) will try to catch chickens in the studio! Plus The Woody Show wants to find out if chickens will eat….chicken.

THURS: Comic Doug Benson will stop by during SF Sketchfest!

pattrice notes,

Without doubt, being carted to and then chased around a radio station will be extremely distressing to the birds in question. Moreover, mockery is a means by which people distance themselves from animals, in order to make their abuse less ethically troubling. Thus, this event, if allowed to go forward, will not only harm the two birds but also contribute to the callous disregard for animals that facilitates both everyday and extreme abuses of animals. […]

There is, of course, one more cause for concern about this particular event. Why, on the day that our nation’s first African American president will be inaugurated, will radio hosts be making jokes about eating chicken?

The answer is obvious, but allow me to state it anyway. Clearly, by introducing chickens into their Inauguration Day “joke,” the hosts of “The Woody Show” are invoking an age-old stereotype involving African Americans and chicken:

This section of the Authentic History Center’s “Teaching Diversity With Multimedia” collection focuses on stereotypes of people of African descent from the end of the American Civil War in images of blacks with themes of chicken and watermelon. Analysis of a large collection of artifacts with racist African American imagery reveals several common themes. One is the linking of Black people in a negative way to chicken and watermelon. The origins of these stereotypes are unclear. They may have begun as Southern stereotypes and then evolved into Black stereotypes. It’s also possible that these evolved out of American slavery. Numerous primary sources chronicle Black resistance to slavery through “silent sabotage,” or, day-to-day acts of resistance. Stealing from the master was one example. It seems logical that, given that food would be among the most desirable of items a slave would pilfer, and chickens and watermelons would have been commonly available. […] The connecting of Blacks to chicken and watermelon was done in a way to dehumanize Blacks and subject them to ridicule. This process helped contribute to prejudice and discrimination. Surprisingly, many young people are unaware of the long history of these stereotypes, while some older Black people refuse to eat watermelon because of that history. And yet the stereotype still exists. In 1989, while stationed at a Marine Air Station in Yuma, Arizona, I was standing in line at the chow hall and noticed a particular theme in the day’s cuisine. The main offerings that day were fried chicken, black-eyed peas, and watermelon. I soon realized, to my horror, that it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. I do not know if this gesture was intended as a racist joke, or if the head cook really thought that offering such food was a way of honoring Dr. King.

Here, the “The Woody Show” staff is using animal abuse borne of speciesism in order to make a racist “joke” at the expense of African Americans. To add insult to injury, they’ve specifically chosen to do so on a day which is especially historic for people of color – indeed, all of America – that is, the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

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Real, live animals will be harmed during this “skit” – and possibly even forced to cannibalize their own. Meanwhile, the racial aspect of this “joke” will contribute to the casual/”softcore” (and overt) racism which is all too common in this country. Indeed, Obama’s candidacy and subsequent victory seems to have triggered a retrogressive racist backlash, in no small order. Racism and speciesism collide in one ugly spectacle.

pattrice suggests,

Don’t wait to protest after the fact. Stop this event before it happens. Call the producers of LIVE 105 at (415) 478-548 and insist that in-studio animal abuse is not funny, on Inauguration Day or any other day.

There’s additional contact for “The Woody Show” here, though I’m not sure calling in live will do much good. Probably your righteous indignation will only elicit additional racist (sexist, homophobic, sizeist, etc.) slurs, along with more than one cry of “I’m no racist!” I’m sure at least one host will even claim to be a “liberal,” “progressive,” or otherwise “tolerant” guy (or gal). And I think it’s a given that every last one of ’em will crack a defensive joke about enjoying tortured and tormented chicken dishes.

(Crossposted to.)

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13 Responses to “Says KITS Live 105 & "The Woody Show": Racism & speciesism brings the lolz!”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    It has nothing to do with racism. It has to do with one of their radio personalities being afraid of chickens.

  2. Kelly Says:

    And it’s pure coincidence that they just so happened to stage the stunt on the same day our first African American President is being inaugurated, right? Gotcha.

  3. Tim Says:

    The notion of eating fried chicken on the day of our first black president in a coincidence. You created that one in your own overly sensitive mind, on your own. Please grow a pair and try not to take things so literally. It’s all just a joke. Oh and as far as people eating chickens.. I’m sure you figured out that alot do and it’s not going to stop any time soon.

  4. Kyle Says:

    Yeah, it is.

  5. Kelly Says:

    Staging a stunt involving chickens on Inauguration Day – and a day after MLK Day, to boot – is, at best, culturally and racially insensitive. The stereotype about African Americans liking chicken (um, and who said anything about “fried chicken,” Tim?) is well-known. I grew up in a mid-sized city in New York, and even I’ve heard of it (i.e., it’s not just a Southern thing). Given that Inauguration Day has been held on January 20 for more than 70 years, “The Woody Show” and KITS Live 105 had plenty of advance warning of when Inauguration Day would be held, and who would be taking the oath. They could have chosen *any* day to stage the event, and yet they conveniently chose Inauguration Day. At best, it was unintentional but still grossly insensitive; but I don’t really buy the whole coincidence excuse.

    Either way, there’s still no excuse for using animal cruelty as a form of entertainment. The “people” who need to “grow a pair” are the men and women who get off on terrorizing animals for fun.

  6. Mitchell Says:

    PUNK’D!!

    Typically, you people go off on some tangent without knowing all the facts. Tony has a phobia with chickens, so to mess with him Woody suggests to have Tony catch a chicken while dressed as a chicken. As for chicken eating chicken, a listener called in and said that yes, chickens will eat chicken. That was enough for Woody and that “part” of the stunt was not done. BTW, how did you like Tony “killing” a whole ROTISSERE chicken? I enjoyed them pulling your collective chains.

    If you extremists would put 1/10th the effort into some really worthwile causes and not worry about a chicken’s feelings being hurt, this would be a better world. I laugh at your gullibility!

  7. Kelly Says:

    Typically, you people go off on some tangent without knowing all the facts. Tony has a phobia with chickens, so to mess with him Woody suggests to have Tony catch a chicken while dressed as a chicken.

    And coincidentally it just so happened to be on Inauguration Day, when they could have done it any other day of the year? As I said above, at best it’s culturally and racially insensitive, especially given the racist backlash inspired by Obama’s election.

    BTW, how did you like Tony “killing” a whole ROTISSERE chicken?

    Obviously, I don’t – hence the name of this blog.

    If you extremists would put 1/10th the effort into some really worthwile causes and not worry about a chicken’s feelings being hurt, this would be a better world.

    Yawn. I put my time and effort into a variety of causes. You, on the other hand, enjoy animal cruelty as a form of entertainment. If anyone needs to devote more time towards making this a better world, it’s you and yours.

    I laugh at your gullibility!

    I laugh at your reading comprehension, as I already addressed the “this isn’t racist because one of the personalities is afraid of chickens” comment above. The phobia doesn’t change the coincidental timing of the event one iota.

  8. Dbird Says:

    The fact is, Woody was a total racist, misogynist, anti-gay you name it ignoramus that didn’t belong on a San Francisco radio station. Good riddance. Sorry about Ravey, tho. I liked her.

  9. Tony Says:

    You make vegetarians and vegans sound bad. You make me agree with the “other” side for once. I don’t eat meat. It doesn’t give me the right to go around bashing everyone who does. Get a life. I suddenly understand some of the crap I get from meat eaters now. It’s because of you and PETA.

    And as for the Chicken (racism) I would think, you are the racist. Why would you even put the two together in the first place? So please, do me a favor. Walk away from your computer, and go hug a tree.

  10. Kelly G. Says:

    Um. So I guess the historians to which I link in this post are also racist for studying and discussing the history of racial stereotypes?

    *headdesk*

  11. Tony Says:

    You are correct that there is a stereotype with African Americans and chicken. It’s a stupid and yes racist assumption. But for you to say, it’s in any way directed towards our president (because he is African American) is completely unfounded and irresponsible. Did Woody say anything like “Hey everyone tomorrow is January 20th the day Obama will be elected in his honor, because he is black we are going to have chickens in our studios…No, he never said ANYTHING like that. It still makes me think… What is going on in your head first of all to need to make a connection with African Americans and chicken. You’re not apart of the solution, you are a problem

  12. Kelly G. Says:

    What is going on in your head first of all to need to make a connection with African Americans and chicken.

    Ummm…it’s a common racial stereotype, maybe? And Obama’s election triggered not a little race-based backlash? It’s not a huge leap, dude, and I’m not the only person who made it.

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