Before I begin, let me clarify that we are not here to discuss Izidora's video, colorism, or dating preferences. I used the above hashtag for a reason. Tonight's discussion will be focusing squarely on chicken tenders.
So pull up a stool, grab the strongest drink from the Bar, and buckle up, kids.
The first time I read this comment, my hearing automatically shut off and I missed the rest of the video. My brain zeroed in on "chicken tenders." This dude was bashing Black women for free chicken tenders, y'all. *cue preacher voice* Now, I know...dear sistas and brothers, that Black people have been doing some hard time in the Sunken Place, but be that as it may, we got melanated menfolk out here hoein' themselves for chicken tenders.
You ever read something so messed up that it triggers repressed memories?
See, the second time I read the above comment, I was in denial. I refused to believe that free drinks, desserts, and chicken tenders were so important to a Negro that he would sell his sisters down the river, spending his evenings spewing misogynoir to strangers just to get fed. And let's be real...we know what kind of "restaurant" this is. Whenever drinks, desserts, and chicken tenders all appear on the same menu, folks are really there for the chicken tenders. The drinks are too expensive and the desserts ain't shit. Thus, the chicken tenders are the real star in this equation.
By the third time I read the above comment, I started recalling shit from years past...memories of behaviors which never...quite...fully added up. Like, they did...but then they didn't. My first summer home from college, I'm having lunch at Bennigan's with the Red-Headed Sis (yes, this was THAT long ago). This brotha from high school was busing the tables there part-time. He recognized us, came over, struck up a convo, focused mainly on me, and laid the compliments on THICK. Red actually thought some sort of romance was about to start so she was all encouraging and ish. But even back then my pygmy sense would tingle when a Black man - or boy - would start talking to me like this. In the back of my mind, I was wondering why this dude had basically pressed pause on his shift to come over and flirt shamelessly with me for nearly half an hour. I was an angry-looking Gothic pygmy back then. In high school, I always either looked like I'd just rolled out of a bed in a mental asylum in hell...or a malevolent medieval maiden - there was no in-between.
And we all know how flattering that first year of college usually is for women.
So I was really trying to figure why this dude was tryna holla at me with a straight face. But then at one point Red caught him looking at our leftover biscuits/rolls, and offered him one. And he was like, "Nah...I probably shouldn't", but then caved 2.36 seconds later. After the roll was safely in his hand, he suddenly remembered he was at work and then promptly disappeared.
I never fully understood what about that exchange rubbed me the wrong way, so I blew it off until almost two decades later...until now.
By the fifth or sixth time I'd read the above comment, I had shared Izidora's video and screen caps of the comment in a private group with some flabbergasted sistas. And while I couldn't - and still can't - stop laughing out one side of my mouth, the other side can't stop repeating the same epiphany over and over again: nignogs are out here dogging the race for some
Because we can set up some peer counseling sessions with them and whoever raised them/whoever was supposed to raise them, and talk about where, when, and how things first went left.
See...by about the tenth time I'd read the above comment, I suddenly remembered one of my Eldest Sis's random stories about getting drunk in the club (her friend was DD). Now, when my sister gets drunk, she likes to hit up Whataburger. So this dude she'd been talking to all night totally perked up, saying he'd absolutely LOVE to go to Whataburger with my sis and her friend. He agreed to follow them on his motorcycle. When they pulled up in the drive-thru, my still very sister drunk placed her order and then yelled for the dude to come pay for her burger. He maneuvered his motorcycle to line up along the passenger's side, silently gesturing for her to lower her window. When she did, he leaned in and quietly told her he'd only brought enough money to go clubbing and couldn't afford to buy her a burger. Now at the time my sister told me this story, we just laughed and blew it off, cuz...whatcha gon do?
But then I was reading the above comment for about the fifteenth time, and I couldn't help but wonder...what exactly did he think was going to happen when he agreed to go to Whataburger? Did he expect her to buy him some chicken tenders - cuz they make them too - then take him home with her AND give him some???
What am I missing here, people?
Y'all, we need to call this what this is: begging. This is just good old-fashioned begging. Yes, there's the temptation to empathize because poverty is no joke; the Great Recession humbled entire nations, and brown people were hit the hardest. In the wake of the Great Recession we're still being hit the hardest. That being said...come on, now!!! A part of me can't stop laughing because this all sounds so ridiculous when you say it out loud. Meanwhile, another part of me is so embarrassed, I can feel the horror cringing in a deep place. Like, is this really what we've been reduced to? Do we need to bring back the Black Panther practice of feeding our own neighborhoods so we can keep all the ashy indigents present and accounted for, and just overall away from mixed company?
And who are these women paying for validation in the form of chicken tenders??? What the hell is that about? We talk about Black people being in the Sunken Place, but if your self-esteem issues run so deep that you gotta bribe a stranger with chicken tenders to make you feel better about your life...you're beyond the Sunken Place, boo-boo. You've hit whatever's below rock bottom. Like, you must have some Klingon Dahar Master-level Daddy issues if the high point of your night is paying some broke, destitute Negro in chicken tenders to tell you you're better than Black women. And just 'tween us girls, once you've reached that point, whatever imaginary, one-sided competition you think you've going with sistas...you lost.