Chick-Fil-A: Nobody likes a bully and gays can be bullies too

imageBy Jasmyne A. Cannick, Community Contributor

Gays 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 Cadillac, 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 gays, 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.

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.

Chosen as one of Essence Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World, Jasmyne A. Cannick is a radio and television politics, race, and pop culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @jasmyne and on Facebook at /jasmyne.

OpEd: The Accidental Hero - Remembering Rodney King

By Jasmyne A. Cannick

Rodney King’s sudden death on Sunday caught us all by surprise. After embarking on a media tour to promote his new autobiography “The Riot Within” that was released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Civil Unrest, King had once again become a part of our lives as we all reflected back on where we were on April 29, 1992.

While we know that King wasn’t the first Black man to be beaten at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, the fact that it was caught on videotape – at a time when cellphones didn’t come equipped with cameras and video capability—forced America to deal with something that Black people for generations were facing everyday.

A struggling alcoholic who had numerous brushes with the law before and after the March 3, 1991 beating, King, like many others involved in the incidents that led up to Florence and Normandie, became an accidental “hood” hero.

And just like the L.A. Four+ involved in the beating of white trucker Reginald Denny that lit the fuse for 1992’s rebellion, King, wasn’t looking for the spotlight. In fact, on more than one occasion he said that he didn’t want it and didn’t deserve it.

But there was nothing he could do. That train had long left the tracks the moment that George Holliday sold that video to KTLA for $500 and they aired it.

For everyday people who aren’t looking for their next opportunity to be on television or in the news media, the amount of pressure of being suddenly thrown into the limelight brings can be intense. It means never being alone, and being recognized everywhere you go. For those who make a living chasing TV news trucks in the way that some lawyers chaseambulances, it’s almost a dream come true. But for people like King, it was a nightmare having to relive what was probably the worst day of his live over and over again every time some recognized him.

It’s for that reason that I thank Rodney King. He didn’t have to make his life an open book. He could have easily followed in the footsteps of people like Reginald Denny, George Holliday, and the four cops who beat him almost lifeless and just disappeared off of the face of the Earth – but he didn’t. King allowed his private life to be fodder for conservative radio jocks – but more importantly, even after the money was long gone, he continued to honorably serve as the face of police brutality for a community of people who needed him to do so – whether they realized it or not.

While Rodney King’s beating wasn’t the cause of the 1992 rebellion, it certainly played its role just like then L.A.P.D. police chief Daryl Gates, the killing of Latasha Harlin by Korean-American store owner Soon Ja Du, the acquittals of the officers involved in beating King, Reginald Denny and the L.A. Four+ – Anthony Brown, Lance Parker, Antoine Miller, Gary Williams, Henry Watson, and Damian Williams. Those were all people who had no idea that their lives would crash and intertwine in the way they did forever becoming an indelible part of Black Los Angeles’ history.

And while some would have you believe that George Holliday and Reginald Denny are the real hero and victims of 1992 – they are wrong. The real heroes were the people like King because the reality is had he not been beaten senseless that night, George Holliday wouldn’t have had a video to sell for $500, and add to that the L.A. Four+ who, like thousands of other people in South Los Angeles at the time, expressed the rage and frustration of being Black under tyranny and just happened to be caught.

For me King’s legacy wasn’t “Can we all get along?” Because for me, the short answer to that question is no. It was no in 1992 and it is still the same in 2012 and will remain so until we as Blacks are no longer suffering from the effects of slavery and centuries of institutional racism.

At 34, reflecting back to 1991 and 1992, I would offer that King’s legacy is a simple one. For every Black man and woman in Los Angeles who has ever been pulled over for driving while Black since March 3, 1991, a debt of gratitude is owed to Rodney King for the beating they didn’t get. Whether he knew it or not, King helped to shape the changes made in the LAPD. as it relates police brutality and while the LAPD isn’t perfect, today it’s definitely not Parker’s or Gate’sLAPD and for that we can thank Rodney King. Thank you.

Author Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne A. Cannick is a political communications strategist after having worked in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Legislature. She is also a radio and television politics, race, and culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @jasmyne and on Facebook at /jasmyne.