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Let Rick Ross sell chicken

Let Rick Ross sell chicken
By Byron Crawford • Issue #434 • View online
It was only a matter of time before the war against black men pursuing careers in real estate metastasized into a war against all forms of black entrepreneurship.
They already came for selling your body on the street in exchange for drugs, and the fact that we didn’t take that as a sign is emblematic of our failure to understand the concept of intersectionality.
Now they’ve come for selling fried chicken, an entrepreneurial pursuit that knows no gender or employment status.
While few black people own several Wing Stops like Rawse, a lot of black people sell fried chicken.
Back in the ‘80s, there was a rumor that KFC and Taco Bell were owned by the same company and they made all the black people work at Taco Bell, while all the Mexicans worked at KFC, so the employees didn’t eat all the food.
Anecdotally, that seems like it might be true. Regardless, black people didn’t let that keep them from selling fried chicken.
At Warehouse #1, there was a guy whose wife used to come up there and sell plates of fried chicken on Fridays. I singlehandedly kept him in Air Jordans that remained remarkably pristine despite the fact that I’m pretty sure he walked to work.
The fried chicken would arrive in a box in the back seat of, you guessed it, a Nissan Altima. It was served on paper plates wrapped in aluminum foil. Water would condense on the underside of the foil, and your chicken would get a little bit soggy.
Having done my post-graduate work in food safety, at White Castle, I can tell you this was less than ideal. But I never once developed a food-borne illness. Chipotle could learn a thing or two from girls who sell plates.
Fortunately, the Department of Health never caught wind of Altima Chicken Friday. It would have been pink ranch dressing all over again.
The Department of Labor has come for Rick Ross, and perhaps needless to say, the allegations are baseless.
In five of his Wing Stop locations, in Mississippi, they say he charged employees for uniforms, safety training, background checks and cash register shortages. They’re also claiming he violated child labor laws.
I believe none of it.
Well, I believe he did those things, but I’m sure he had a good reason. He was trying to provide jobs for people who might not otherwise be able to find legitimate, gainful employment, and I wonder if the concern was that he was employing too many black people.
I’d also be curious to know if there was a problem with the employees eating too many of the lemon pepper wings. That would explain why he had to charge them to watch the safety training video. How else was he supposed to turn a profit?
I wasn’t even aware that it’s illegal to charge employees for uniforms. That was a fairly common thing when I was in fast food. It was called Shoes for Crews. They’d give you a pair of all black non-slip shoes, so you didn’t break your neck trying to walk past the deep fryer, and then deduct $20 or so from your first few paychecks.
If the register came up short, they’d simply send your ass packin’. Or if it really was a matter of you not being able to count, they might have you sweep the parking lot. Rawse, on the other hand, gave his employees the opportunity to pay him back via deduction from their paycheck. Essentially, his crime was that he was too generous.
Similarly, I’m not concerned about him employing children, except that I wouldn’t want them making the chicken. You never know a young person’s situation. They might have kids of their own to feed.
It’s highly presumptuous of the Department of Labor to suggest that Rawse has done anything wrong just because his business offered a nontraditional form of compensation, and I question their motives. Since when has the US government cared about black people being paid fairly? They just don’t want us selling fried chicken.


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