Frank Beckmann, Conservative Talk show host on WJR-AM (760) and U-M football announcer, recently wrote a column in the Detroit News, which appeared to defend the comments made towards Tiger Woods by golfer, Sergio Garcia.
Beckmann’s comments also, to many, appeared to attack those who found Garcia’s “fried chicken” remarks inappropriate:
“To the politically correct, the mention of fried chicken is an immediate endorsement of slavery rather than a testament to the innovative determination of the American slave population to improve its own physical well being by creating a readily available dish which improved their diet.
“Making fried chicken and popularizing it could thus be viewed as an accomplishment that should serve as a testament to the determination of a group of people who found an inventive way to subsist while enduring unimaginable and deplorable living conditions.
“But that would remove the opportunity of the political elite to capitalize by creating an atmosphere of victimization.”
My take on it is that Garcia’s “fried chicken’ remarks were absolutely over the top and inappropriate, at the very least.
That Frank Beckmann would suggest that those who found Garcia’s comments to be offensive are “politically correct” is baseless. I also find Beckmann’s rationale about Black Americans “making fried chicken and popularizing it” as a means to “subsist” to be historically inaccurate.
Fried Chicken has never been solely a “Black” dish, but has been enjoyed by southerners in general for quite some time.
In fact, the Scots, and later Scottish immigrants in the south, had a tradition of deep frying chicken in fat. Black slave cooks, who learned to prepare the traditionally Scottish dish would add their own brand of seasonings and spices, which made their version of fried chicken “a hit” to many.
Furthermore, I grew up in Charleston, SC. I can tell you that there are some parts of the cow and pig that were given to slaves which were eventually popularized by Blacks in the south (i.e., liver, kidneys, tongue, chitlings, etc.), but fried chicken was not one of them!
Black Americans, during the years of Black codes, Jim Crow Laws and Segregation, certainly found creative ways to take care of our families, which included owning local businesses in some communities. However, Beckmann’s comments are a bit of a straw man argument.
Sometimes, in attempting to rationalize a moral wrong, we can find ourselves in a bit of a jam, which is what I believe Frank Beckmann did to himself.
I don’t know Garcia’s heart, so I refuse to call him a racist. I never went there. I simply found his comments to be rather unnecessary and inappropriate. Most of all, Garcia’s remarks were on the wrong side of “moral” correctness, which is the only form of correctness I care about.
Beckmann made a mistake in his assessment. However, I agree with how it was handled, in that Beckmann should not have suffered any punitive actions from the University of Michigan, for his first amendment right should be protected.
It’s Beckmann’s opinion, which is his right to have.
In the final analysis, I don’t have any character judgments about Frank Beckmann, nor do I embrace any notion that Beckmann is himself racist or bigoted.
I simply believe he is incorrect in his assessment and approach to this single issue.
I don’t even believe Beckmann needed to “apologize”. I would have preferred a debate, perhaps, where he defended his position or offered clarity.
Regulated apologies don’t tend to be genuine, no matter who is doing the apologizing.