Bitchin’ Chicken Memes: 27 The BIPOC Edition

One of the things I dislike about online groups is the constant polarized opinions, name-calling and downright rudeness. The internet is great in so many ways but the anonymous nature and speed at which you can post also means that it often brings out the worst in folks.

Something I have enjoyed about having my own blog and Facebook page is I am the only one who can initiate a post. Others can comment, which I encourage, but I’m the one who sets the tone. And that tone has been one of civility to encourage the best in folks, to cross our differences to meet on common ground and to uplift each other in our love of chickens.

I’ve been making memes for a little over two years and they, too, reflect my philosophy of life. They are rarely snarky or done at the expense of others. I’ve tried to represent a broad range of folks depicted in those images: various genders, ages, sizes and ethnic backgrounds. I want my work to represent the cross-section of folks interested in chickens.

I was scrolling through the hundreds of memes I’ve made and I was surprised that there weren’t more featuring people of colour because I’ve consciously been collecting images for that purpose. In order to rectify that I posted on my Facebook page asking if there were BIPOC folks (Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour) that would like to submit photos of themselves with their birds that I could turn into memes. I saw this as a way of celebrating communities that sometimes don’t get the attention they deserve.

Of course, I knew that there could be some detractors and I wasn’t wrong. Here’s a sample: “So we’re making this a racial thing now? Too bad.” and “I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that race, religion or LGBTQ had anything to do with raising chickens. I didn’t think animals were concerned with race. I’m not sure this is the group for me.” You get the picture.

I was heartened to see the positive responses from most folks and some people of colour explaining the importance of representation:

Being Hispanic I get “Have you ever been to a cock fight before?” Or even better because I have a few roosters. “You don’t fight them do you?” This isn’t about people being surprised I own them, it’s about people assuming what I do with them based on my race.

“Last year I went into my local Tractor Supply store wearing a Black Lives Matter mask. A black cashier was ringing me up and he quietly said to me that he doesn’t ever see support and representation for him at work, and asked me to be careful because some customers wouldn’t be kind to me. I saw him at a local fast food place later and he said he had to quit because so many customers complained they didn’t want him to ring them up.”

“This is why we need representation within this hobby.” – Cris Rodriguez

Unfortunately we live in a world that has made race a ‘thing’. Whether we like it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, we’re organized into a hierarchy based on race and class and gender. And sometimes when you’re in the majority group you can’t see the trees for the forest.

Full disclosure: I am part of the LGBT community and am white. I did an Ancestry DNA test and, as I thought, I am total ‘white bread’. My mother was from England and my father’s family came to Canada from Ireland in 1837. I’m a Canadian who identifies with my British roots. I also consider myself really fortunate that I grew up in Toronto, a large multicultural city that, in many ways, celebrated the diversity of its residents.

I was exposed to foods, languages, music, history and culture of other places. Those things weren’t just token experiences, but are the stuff that shaped who I am today. I’ve had neighbours, friends and partners from different countries and cultures and value what they brought to my life. Living with people from other backgrounds means that you get a glimpse of how those people are different from you and the way they do things is just as valid as how you’ve been raised. In short, the way you’ve come to see the world might not be the default.

I’ve made a concerted effort to use my WordPress blog as a vehicle to share the spotlight with other folks. I’ve written a series of 45 profiles on chicken keepers and another series called ‘When Art Meets Chickens’ about artists, crafters and writers who celebrate chickens in their work. I’ve invited guest contributors to share their perspectives and humorous stories on chicken keeping. I’ve never felt that sharing the stage has taken anything away from me. On the contrary, I’m happy to give someone the opportunity to use my platform to express themselves. I think the eclectic and diverse nature of my blog is what makes it unique.

When I decided to make a series of memes featuring positive images of BIPOC people it wasn’t tokenism, but a heartfelt acknowledgement that those folks often are marginalized. Regardless of all the disparate parts that make up who I am, I aim to be a decent person who treats others with respect, dignity and inclusion.

I usually don’t write much when introducing my monthly collection of memes, but this time I felt compelled to. It’s sad, that in 2023, I can’t just post them without feeling a need to justify or explain. And sadly, I’m prepared for some folks to unfollow me.

Celebrating BIPOC folks is not to detract from me or anyone else. We all should have our day to shine and this one is for them.

Thanks to all the folks that sent me their photos. I had so many that I’ll have to do a second part sometime down the road. If you’d like to contribute photos of your own drop me a line using the ‘contact’ button on my home page.

7 comments on “Bitchin’ Chicken Memes: 27 The BIPOC Edition

  1. The little girl with her chicken in the sling is such a beautiful photograph. Just love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mrscraib

    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love what you put together and look forward to more. I have no words for comments made after you put out the request. There are some who just look for something to complain about. SMH

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Representation is so meaningful to those of us who don’t know or see others like ourselves in the world around us. Thank you for your efforts to break down the walls of typical and open up the world of inclusivity of diversity even if it is, for now, limited to the world of chickening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ponypoor

    Those are all awesome, particularly like the herding cats / herding chickens one. I have watched my mum on the barn cam herding my kiddies into the Hen House to put them to bed and that’s eggsactly what it’s like! And that poor kid holding his hen looking pooped from herding his chickies – just too cute and funny!

    Thanks and keep posting awesome work!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Crystal Rodriguez

    Absolutely love this post and photos. I appreciate the representation for BIPOC chicken keepers. And I appreciate you giving me a voice here and sharing my experience as a BIPOC chicken keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

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Bitchin' Chickens

Everything You Need To Know About Small Flock Chickens & More

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