‘Obama Fingers’ — Surprise, Food Has Race

Obama fingers.jpg

I thought this was old news. The link to the report from Deutsche Welle I’m adding here is dated March 10. But the story hasn’t been widely seen.

In short, a frozen product called “Obama Fingers” has appeared in German freezer cases: just pieces of fried chicken (with curry sauce, yikes). When asked if anyone was aware that a racial, uh, problem arises when you link an African American “brand,” even a presidential one, to a fried-chicken product, the Fingers spokeswoman basically shrugged her shoulders and said, “Warum?”

We Germans don’t pay attention to such things.

Now, it could be that such non-culinary distractions are easy to overlook — if you believe that food doesn’t have meaning. But it does.There’s no such thing as value-neutral food. Food and race, for example, go together like … rice and beans, gefilte fish and horseradish?

“They could have made a full Obama Finger dinner if they added Wassermelone, lol.” 

It’s not exactly a secret that blacks have borne the brunt of Aunt Jemima Uncle Ben advertising as well as wildly racist food “humor” for decades and decades — you may know what “alligator bait” is. And that hasn’t been limited to the U.S.: guess what some folks call Cadbury bars (phrase starts with an N).

Nasty fingers will poke everywhere, so it’s smart to poke back.

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  1. says

    Well, it’s bad taste, even though I’m not sure it was meant racially. After all, you have “chicken fingers”, too. People have this idea of a “fingers” dish being some sort of chicken strip. At least Obama HAS fingers, LOL.
    I suspect this company would have created the product, even if Obama hadn’t been a black man. I think it’s simply his popularity (not his color) that caused this.

  2. Julie says

    Obama symbolizes hope throughout the world. I believe that it was his world wide appeal that generated this idea. My experience, as an African American, with Europeans, generally speaking, is that they do not fully understand the impact of America’s historical context and how it “plays out” in all aspects of American life. I would not impose our American biases/prejudices on Germans. Until we shine the light on our own prejudices and tackle them, who are we to admonish another country for what they do.