In a scene reminiscent of the infamous ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ incident when Harry Conick Jr. lost the plot when one of the red faces skits featured an actor in ‘black face’, Sydney rag The Daily Telegraph is copping a large amount of flak for an article recently published in their Sydney Confidential column.

The offending piece writes about hip hop artist Kanye West, who is in Australia as part of the Big Day Out tour, and follows him around Sydney as he prepares for his headline performance tomorrow at the Sydney date for the festival.

But it isn’t what the journalists have written about that has people up in arms, but rather the way they have said it, with social media lighting up with allegations of insensitivity and some calling it outright racist. Have a read of the extract from the article that has people talking:

WHAT does the self-titled “new king of pop” do on his day off, you might ask? Well, shop, of course. While his contemporaries tend to head out for a fried chicken feed, Big Day Out headliner Kanye West made a beeline for Sydney’s fashion hub within hours of landing.

Some Australians may be unaware but in the United States associating African Americans with fried chicken is a negative racial stereotype and a big no-no. Why is it negative? The stereotype derives from the fact that fried chicken dishes were popular with slaves on Southern plantations because in most cases chickens were the only animals slaves were permitted to raise.

Around that time a number of racist whites used the association to depict African Americans as simple-minded people and ridicule them through the use of humour, minstrelsy, and print. Since then a cultural cringe has existed about the association.

The article comes just days after the ABC was accused of promoting sexist stereotypes for their review of PJ Harvey in Perth. The national broadcaster has since re-edited the piece and removed the controversial material.

Every few months in the US a story flares up racial tensions, with the most recent scandal about a friend chicken store renaming itself ‘Obama Fried Chicken’ catching the ire of civil rights campaigner Al Sharpton who said at the time  “It’s insulting, offensive, and plays to racist stereotypes.”

So what do you think? Is the article racist, insensitive, or just stupid? Sound off in the comments and tell us what you think in our poll.

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