Episode 15: The Golden Arches in Black America

Criticisms of fast food often focus on the industrialized system that produces the burgers, buns and fries, or the food’s negative health impacts. Occasionally, criticisms have noted the deep ties between McDonald’s and the Black community, sometimes blaming communities of color for bad choices, sometimes blaming the fast food industry for being predatory with its advertising or store locations. But the relationship between fast food and Black America is way more complicated. In today’s episode host Jerusha Klemperer sits down to talk with Dr. Marcia Chatelain about her Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,” and the history of that complicated relationship.


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“We can't demean where people get their food. We have to understand that if it is meaningful and if it's powerful in terms of its image, we respect that.”

Dr. Marcia Chatelain

Author, “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America”

Episode Guest:

Dr. Marcia Chatelain

Marcia Chatelain is a scholar, speaker, and strategist based in Washington, D.C. She teaches courses in African American life and culture at Georgetown University and is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America.”  When she’s not in the classroom, she’s on the road, talking to audiences about our nation’s pressing and pervasive social issues, including racism, universities and the history of slavery, as well as activist movements.

Additional Reading and Resources

Top photo by singamelodie.