Papa John’s is the Abigail Fisher of pizza: Maybe we *should* be the reason they lose?
White people are raised believing that they are entitled to any and every success. But it is not enough to simply point out their lies.
By Ashley Nkadi
Do you remember Abigail Fisher? If you are drawing a blank, allow me to refresh your memory: Abigail Fisher is the white woman whose college rejection was heard around the world, mainly because she basically grabbed the world’s biggest megaphone and wailed into it like a toddler. When Fisher was denied entry to the University of Texas, she claimed it was due to affirmative action, alleging that a person of color took her spot. She carried this delusion all the way to the Supreme Court, refusing to acknowledge the fact that of the 47 students who were admitted to Texas with grades lower than hers, 42 were white; and that she may just be #BeckyWithTheBadGrades.
Well, it seems that #BeckyWithTheBadGrades has a cousin, #JohnWithTheBadPizza, and his white tears are even saltier than the tomato sauce and dry dough he claims is his specialty. Recently, Papa Johns CEO John Schnatter complained that his company’s declining pizza sales—which apparently had absolutely nothing to do with Papa John’s employees writing the n-word on their customer’s orders, drawing stick figures being lynched, or leaving racist voicemails—was all because athletes were standing up against police brutality.
It was not at all related to the fact that Papa John’s pizza has the consistency of a stress ball. No, according to John, the company’s lack of sales growth is the fault of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and racial disparities in America. Like Abby, despite blatant evidence supporting the contrary, such as multiple pizza companies coming out to let the world know that their sales were flourishing, Papa John is convinced that foul play is at work—and that foul play is the work of Black folks.
Pizza Hut’s steady growth and the acceptance of Abby’s white peers into the University of Texas are indicators that whiteness is still operating fine. And while sabotaging that whiteness is something we actually should do—if we dethroned your ego, if we made you doubt yourself, dissuading you from the notion that you are God, I take that as a compliment—even when we did not, the woe-is-me twins still used this as an opportunity to vilify the Black community.
White people are raised believing that they are entitled to any and every success.
As they mature, they witness nepotism operate to produce Presidents who have more connections than qualifications. They observe white women like Megyn Kelly unseat far more deserving hosts from their time slots on television. They see people who look like them get away with murder.
Whiteness is synonymous with winning. So when people like Abby and her cousin lose, it sends them spiraling. They need a lie to tell, one that explains how they possibly could have failed in a world designed for them to succeed. That lie is that Black people are to blame for their shortcomings.
Abby and John are not unique.
Maria Sharapova, taunted by her inability to beat Serena Williams in over a decade—even with the aid of performance enhancing drugs—attributed her blunders to Serena’s innate genetic athleticism. In Sharapova’s book, Unstoppable (though history reflects that she has, in fact been stopped many times), she peddled the idea that she was not inferior to Williams’ talents, but rather to her Black body, which was inherently bigger, stronger, and intimidating.
Sharapova used this yarn to add an asterisk next to each one of her losses. Yet this year, even with a very pregnant Serena at home, Sharapova was still defeated. This time her asterisk read *but Sloane Stephens. Basing their losses on fabrication, they are able to craft a false narrative of victimhood to elicit pats on the back that assure them it was not their whiteness that failed; it was those damned meddling Black people who stole their victory. Whiteness, when it is not quite literally fatal, is still murderous. It soothes its fragility and insecurity by assassinating the character, integrity, and excellence of Blackness.
But it is not enough to simply point out their lies. In doing so, we should always maintain that whiteness should fail and Black people have every right to steal its victories, for those victories never belonged to whiteness in the first place. Its wealth, influence, and power were built on the sweat of my ancestor’s brow and the toiled labor of generations upon generations of my lineage. Black people are the ghostwriters of America, the owners of its suburban neighborhoods, and the founders of its biggest industries. Its high time we come to collect.
John’s whole establishment belongs to the players who are taking a knee. Tennis associations in their entirety and the outright courts on which Sharapova sends her lackluster serves are Serena’s birthright. That white house on the hill, the podium that Sarah Huckabee stands at, and the very microphones this administration uses to bark nonsense at the masses, are mine. They think these institutions belong to them, but they merely appropriated them.
Whiteness, your success betrays you because it belongs to us. And you should be very afraid for how we might always come for it in the black of the night, leaving you penniless and humiliated, the same way you tried to leave us.
I’m Ashley Nkadi. I love God, my mama, being Bliggity Black, Gucci Mane, cheese, potatoes, and eyebrow maintenance. In that order. Feel free to read more about me at www.ashleynkadi.com!