10/25 The Intricate Ties Between Fast Food And Black America w/ Marcia Chatelain

October 25, 2021

Sam sits down with Marcia Chatelain, professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University, to discuss her recent book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, on McDonald’s, fast food franchises, and their ties to the success and failures of Black capitalism. Professor Chatelain discusses how McDonald’s came to occupy a state-like role in Black communities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., becoming the face of economic stability and occupation, and even acting as a community center. Starting in the 1960s, she and Sam trace McDonald’s rise from an up and budding suburban fast-food chain, to a central element in civil rights organizations’ shifting strategies following a period that centered nonviolent action and socialist vision, looking also at this tactic of jumping into communities in discord as a form of disaster capitalism. Next, they jump into the role of the Nixon administration in really solidifying this revolution, as he centered his small business loans to franchise owners as a revolution for the Black community (despite his other policies regarding these communities) and take on the passing of the torch from MLK to Ralph Abernathy as the head of the SCLC and what it meant for their tactics. Entering the ‘70s, Marcia explores how McDonald’s found rampant success in Black communities, yet questions began to arise about how much that actually affected the community members, as well as the remaining discrepancies in the treatment of Black versus white franchise owners, before she and Sam discuss the ’80s and Reagan’s role in solidifying these elements. They wrap up the interview by moving back to the present, as Professor Chatelain discusses her disappointment in the resurgence of this “Black-owned business” based tactic, reflects on the continued discrimination against McDonald’s franchises owned by Black people or in predominantly Black areas, and explores the three faceted strategy of free college, Medicare for All, and free child care that she sees as the best accessible solution. Emma also dives into the reconciliation bill that is definitely just down the road this time we promise, and Biden’s commitment to his “nothing will fundamentally change” proclamation.

And in the Fun Half: Alex from NY talks MAGA infiltration and gives his fight club matchups, Teak from Salt Lake promotes DSA stamps, and Emma and the MR crew discuss Glenn Youngkin’s recycling of decade-old culture war attack ads for CRT fear-mongering, before looking at the “Free Kyrie” protest outside the Barclays Center this weekend. Little Mack calls in about limited libertarianism and repercussions for Manchin, a Fox interviewee’s “Epstein didn’t kill himself” inspires a discussion on the importance of looking into conspiracy, and a CSPAN white-collar caller asks the bold question “what if workers didn’t deserve fair pay in the first place?” Plus, your calls and IMs!

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