Archive for May, 2009

Why I’m boycotting the KFC coupons

May 17, 2009

Did you get your Kentucky Grilled Chicken? Are you one of the 10,000,000 downloaders of the Oprah coupon? Were you just so happy that KFC could actually use the word “chicken” in their advertisements again and just had to support them? While the country was going crazy over KFC, I found myself being more disappointed at Oprah’s gesture than content with her latest endeavor in helping those in need. While I believe her intentions were genuine, her efforts will ultimately contradict her message of living your best life.

Let me be clear. I know that there were many families in America who benefitted from the coupons because of our economic state. Anyone who is in a predicament where food is scarce has to do what she has to do. This article is not about that group of people who are the people I know Oprah was intending to assist. Based on the e-mails I received, however, most people were just looking for a free meal. Friends of mine with jobs and of means would end their e-mails saying “I’m off to get my free KFC.” The problem that is occurring is that an entire new group and generation of people are being turned on to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Going to KFC is not going to a Panera Bread or Whole Foods. The side orders at KFC are greasy fries and oily biscuits made with deadly transfats and partially hydrogenated oils, as well as red-40 flavored baked beans. This is tantamount to being given a free coupon for orange juice but having to redeem the coupon at a liquor store. Winfrey should have partnered up with a healthier food company such as a Panera Bread, Boston Market, or Whole Foods. The first critique that I will hear from this is that “poor people don’t shop at those expensive stores.” I counter that by stating that many people who we label as poor are actually only poor in the choices they make, not their income.

I grew up poor in Boston. Poor to me meant having on occasion no hot water, no electricity, living in a rat-infested home, covering up my stove with blankets to keep warm in the winter, wearing the same clothes daily, having a near-empty fridge, and using food stamps. Today, however, many of those we call poor have cell phones, ipods, PlayStations, fancy clothes, big screen TVs, and fancy cars. I remember once walking into the home of a woman living on Section 8 and she had a wall-to-wall big screen TV that stood taller than me. Are these people poor or making poor choices?

Again, I am not talking about those who are living like I lived. Back in my poorer days, I would have used Oprah’s coupons in a heartbeat. The group I am talking about could get to a Whole Foods or Panera Bread if they wanted to. They could choose healthier options even at the McDonalds and Burger Kings they dine in. the issue that we must deal with is the poverty mentality that exists across so many of our communities. Our new president and his family have been helping to set a new standard of fitness, healthy eating and exercise. Though most of us won’t have the ability to plant an organic garden in our backyard (if we have one), we can slowly begin to make changes in many of our daily practices that lead us to a downward spiral spiritually, physically, and economically. My hope is that those who are exploiting the KFC coupons will be drawn more over time to Oprah’s “Best Life” philosophy as opposed to KFCs worst life menu.

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Why I won’t thank President Bush for President Obama

May 3, 2009

Everyone who knows me knows that I was extremely pleased to see President George W. Bush leave office on January 20th, 2009. He was the worst president that I have studied. He and President Obama are polar opposites in style though obviously legacies can’t be compared yet. Over the last few months, however, I have heard something on radio and television from personalities such as Michael Baisden that has been disturbing. These individuals have actually thanked President Bush for making the country so bad that it had to elect a black man. Though I understand the logic behind this thinking, this is the wrong philosophy to have if we are truly trying to advance as a nation.

Under President Bush, our economy crumbled and we made opposite strides in education. Despite these two tragic missteps, the unnecessary deaths that have occurred under a war under false pretenses and the catastrophic response to Hurricane Katrina, make me glad that he is gone, but in no way “thankful.” I am just not that person who believes that mass death and destruction have to occur in order to see a brighter day. We must remember that the times we live in right now are not brighter for everyone right now and I’m not referring to Obama’s political rivals. I’m talking about real everyday people.

As this blog is being written, there are families right now who still haven’t grasped the fact that their son isn’t coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan. There is still someone’s daughter trying to find the remains of her mother who was lost years ago to Katrina. While we can argue back and forth about who is really responsible for creating the economic disarray that we find ourselves in, we can clearly link the deaths and displacement that occurred in Iraq and in the Katrina aftermath to Bush’s policies.

As much as I have been inspired by our new president, if someone asked me if I would endure what we have over the past 8 years in order to live to see the first black President, I would have to say no. I would have to think about losing one of my own family members in an unnecessary war or in a failed response strategy to a hurricane. As we usher in a new day as Americans, we need to be humble in the excitement we have for our new president. We need to make sure that we are moving forward as one country as opposed to cursing prior administrations because “our guy” won and not shove fingers in each other’s face. We are all in this together.