By Robin Stratford | Mobile, AL
Activists staged a series of protests at several local fast-food restaurants yesterday. The group, who call themselves Justice Now!, took to the streets outside two KFCs and a Popeyes to draw attention to what they see as “racist” disparities in the prices of fried chicken.
“These restaurants think it’s okay to charge more for white meat than dark meat,” said Ashley Whittaker, 29, the group’s founder and a student at Greater Mobile Community College. “They’re literally selling white supremacy and saying black bodies are worth less than white bodies.”
Samantha Barnes, 21, earned supportive honks from passing cars as she danced in a chicken suit and held a sign declaring “Cluck Off Racists!” outside the KFC in Orchard Park Plaza.
“It’s unbelievable what these companies are doing,” said Barnes. “Appropriating the food of marginalized people and using it to push their disgusting white supremacist agenda.”
Reactions from customers who stumbled into the protests were mixed. Frank Miller, 51, a mechanic from Newburg, said he thought the demonstrators had “too much free time.” LeAndra Jackson, 32, a stay-at-home mother from Victory Hills, stated, “I guess I can get behind [the protestors]. I’ve got three kids who eat nothing but white meat. It would be great if it cost less.”
Fred Johnson, 46, the manager of the KFC in Orchard Park Plaza said he “fully supports [the group’s] right to free speech” but wishes they hadn’t “hassled and confused” his customers. “They had some guy dancing around in a chicken suit on the sidewalk,” said Johnson. “We had people coming in all afternoon thinking there was this big promotion going on or something.”
There were no reports of violence or disorderly conduct at any of the protests.