From The “A Nation Of Assholes” Files, An Ethics Dunce: Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q

Unless someone figures out how to blame this incident on President Trump, I am gradually coming to the conclusion that my conviction that electing him would cause the United States to become a nation of assholes was mistaken, because the culture was  on a water slide toward that result already.

A member of the Raleigh Police Protective Association (RPPA) reported on the group’s Facebook page that the staff, including the manager, of Raleigh’s Smithfield’s Chicken & Barbeque on Jones Sausage Rd.  sang “Fuck Tha Police” a while a number of officers of the Raleigh Police Department were dining at the restaurant.  The hip-hop classic…yes, a song called “Fuck the Police” is considered a classic, which explains why I have no interest in hip-hop, except as a corrosive force in our culture, and especially the black culture—includes the trenchant and moving  chorus, evocative of Sondheim at his lyrical peak,

Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police

And I thought regular singing waiters were annoying…

It is interesting, in light of the recent post about the 7-11 customer who berated a father for loudly using “fuck off” in a public place and in the presence of his children, that this restaurant considered this song appropriate family fare. Boy, the culture sure changes from Virginia just one state south. What is that? The difference between 7-11 culture and restaurant culture? Is that barbecue culture? Remind me not to go to any barbecues. Is Raleigh that different from Alexandria, where serenading customers with “Fuck Tha Police” is considered genteel?

What could possibly, conceivably, cause a restaurant to conclude that singing a song like that is appropriate in any business or service setting, never mind with police present? Are whole restaurants now populated with assholes? Whole restaurants and their clientele—why didn’t the customers object 1) to the song and 2) to the treatment of the police officers?

What the hell is happening out there?

“Police officers go out there every day and they risk their lives and to be treated with such disrespect is truly unfortunate,” a spokesman for the RPPA said. Boy, do I hate weasel words from spokesmen. Unfortunate? Like this was bad luck? This isn’t unfortunate, you mealy-mouthed tool. It’s despicable.

The owner quickly responded with this statement:

If the account is true, I don’t see how any response other than firing everyone will suffice, like God making the Children of Israel  wander in the wilderness until the sinful generation was extinguished. How could something like that song happen, if the company culture wasn’t thoroughly poisoned?

The comments to the news article are almost as disturbing as the incident, revealing a widespread belief that Smithfield’s Chicken & Barbeque  will now be at the mercy of criminals, racist generalizations about black establishments, and a near unanimous consensus that any restaurant staff that would behave this way probably spits in the food they serve to police too.

Finally, for your enjoyment and edification, the lyrics of  “Fuck Tha Police,” by O’shea Jackson, Andre Romell Young, Lorenzo Jerald Patterson, Harry Lamar and Iii Whitakeras, as the spirits  of Larry Hart, Ira Gershwin and Dorothy Field writhe in envy:

Right about now, N.W.A. court is in full effect
Judge Dre presiding
In the case of N.W.A. vs. the Police Department
Prosecuting attorneys are MC Ren, Ice Cube
And Eazy-motherfucking-E
Order, order, order
Ice Cube, take the motherfucking stand
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth
And nothing but the truth so help your black ass?
You goddamn right!
Well won’t you tell everybody what the fuck you gotta say?
Fuck the police coming straight from the underground
A young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown
And not the other color so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority
Fuck that shit, cause I ain’t the one
For a punk motherfucker with a badge and a gun
To be beating on, and thrown in jail
We can go toe to toe in the middle of a cell
Fucking with me cause I’m a teenager
With a little bit of gold and a pager
Searching my car, looking for the product
Thinking every nigga is selling narcotics
You’d rather see, me in the pen
Than me and Lorenzo rolling in a Benz-o
Beat a police out of shape
And when I’m finished, bring the yellow tape
To tape off the scene of the slaughter
Still getting swoll off bread and water
I don’t know if they fags or what
Search a nigga down, and grabbing his nuts
And on the other hand, without a gun they can’t get none
But don’t let it be a black and a white one
Cause they’ll slam ya down to the street top
Black police showing out for the white cop
Ice Cube will swarm
On any motherfucker in a blue uniform
Just cause I’m from the CPT
Punk police are afraid of me, huh
A young nigga on the warpath
And when I’m finished, it’s gonna be a bloodbath
Of cops, dying in L.A
Yo Dre, I got something to say
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Pull your god damn ass over right now
Aww shit, now what the fuck you pullin me over for?
Cause I feel like it!
Just sit your ass on the curb and shut the fuck up
Man, fuck this shit
Aight, smartass, I’m taking your black ass to jail!
MC Ren, will you please give your testimony
To the jury about this fucked up incident?
Fuck the police and Ren said it with authority
Because the niggas on the street is a majority
A gang is with whoever I’m stepping
And the motherfucking weapon is kept in
A stash box, for the so-called law
Wishing Ren was a nigga that they never saw
Lights start flashing behind me
But they’re scared of a nigga so they mace me to blind me
But that shit don’t work, I just laugh
Because it gives them a hint not to step in my path
For police, I’m saying, “Fuck you punk!”
Reading my rights and shit, it’s all junk
Pulling out a silly club, so you stand
With a fake-ass badge and a gun in your hand
But take off the gun so you can see what’s up
And we’ll go at it punk, and I’ma fuck you up!
Make you think I’mma kick your ass
But drop your gat, and Ren’s gonna blast
I’m sneaky as fuck when it comes to crime
But I’ma smoke them now and not next time
Smoke any motherfucker that sweats me
Or any asshole that threatens me
I’m a sniper with a hell of a scope
Taking out a cop or two, they can’t cope with me
The motherfucking villain that’s mad
With potential, to get bad as fuck
So I’ma turn it around
Put in my clip, yo, and this is the sound
{​*BOOM, BOOM*}​
Yeah, something like that
But it all depends on the size of the gat
Taking out a police would make my day
But a nigga like Ren don’t give a fuck to say
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Yo man, what you need?
Police, open out!
Aww shit
We have a warrant for Eazy-E’s arrest
Get down and put your hands up where I can see ’em
(Move motherfucker, move now!)
What the fuck did I do, man what did I do?
Just shut the fuck up
And get your motherfucking ass on the floor
(You heard the man, shut the fuck up!)
But I didn’t do shit
Man just shut the fuck up!
Eazy-E, won’t you step up to the stand
And tell the jury how you feel about this bullshit?
I’m tired of the motherfucking jacking
Sweating my gang, while I’m chilling in the shack, and
Shining the light in my face, and for what?
Maybe it’s because I kick so much butt
I kick ass — or maybe cause I blast
On a stupid-ass nigga when I’m playing with the trigger
Of an Uzi or an AK
Cause the police always got something stupid to say
They put out my picture with silence
Cause my identity by itself causes violence
The E with the criminal behavior
Yeah, I’m a gangsta, but still I got flavor
Without a gun and a badge, what do ya got?
A sucker in a uniform waiting to get shot
By me, or another nigga
And with a gat it don’t matter if he’s smaller or bigger
(MC Ren: Size don’t mean shit, he’s from the old school fool)
And as you all know, E’s here to rule
Whenever I’m rolling, keep looking in the mirror
And ears on cue, yo, so I can hear a
Dumb motherfucker with a gun
And if I’m rolling off the 8, he’ll be the one
That I take out, and then get away
While I’m driving off laughing this is what I’ll say
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
The verdict
The jury has found you guilty of being a redneck
White bread, chickenshit motherfucker
But wait, that’s a lie! That’s a god damn lie!
Get him out of here!
Get him the fuck out my face!
I want justice!
Out, right now!
Fuck you, you black motherfuckers!
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police
Fuck Tha Police

47 thoughts on “From The “A Nation Of Assholes” Files, An Ethics Dunce: Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q

      • I doubt the artists or their biggest fans would say it’s “just a song”–they clearly intended it to have a message, and it was and remains hugely influential. Dismissing it as “just a song” is a way to avoid engaging with it critically, which is an impulse I understand–the last thing my white liberal ass wants is to get into a debate about the pros and cons of rap music–but that same tactic is used by conservatives to argue that representation of minorities in media shouldn’t matter because “It’s just a _______.” I don’t like when conservatives say that and I don’t like it when liberals do it; the art we as a society consume says a lot about us.

  1. I was walking Rugby after posting this, and we ran into a beagle named Raleigh. And suddenly I realized that for about the 20th time on EA and the 3,763rd time in my life, I had mixed up the Carolinas. So I rushed home to fix it before I was widely mocked. Whew.

    • Your quotation doesn’t do the skit in the song any justice. The cop screaming “eeeeeeerrrrrsssss!” at the end as he’s dragged away makes the track.

  2. They should all be fired. I’m not going to comment on the song itself, as I refuse to engage in the rap music wars, but this display was obviously, outrageously disrespectful. I am pitifully non-confrontational in the real world, but had I been a customer, I’d like to think I would have risen to the occasion and exercised my duty to confront.

  3. Let’s give them all the same benefit of the doubt as we do cops in the aftermath of a police shooting.

    1. Is there video of the incident?

    2. Perhaps the cops did something to force them to sing that song; the cops obviously had it coming.

    3. It was an isolated incident, the work of a few bad apples.

    4. Perhaps all the employees need is some re-training, restaurant work is very tiring and grueling.

    5. If you think it is so easy not to sing rap songs at cops in a restaurant, why don’t you work at the restaurant then?

    The hip-hop classic…yes, a song called “Fuck the Police” is considered a classic, which explains why I have no interest in hip-hop, except as a corrosive force in our culture, and especially the black culture..

    Ahh, yes, blame the medium, not the content. Hip-hop is no more corrosive than songs from other genres where someone shot the sheriff (but not the deputy), fought the law (spoiler alert, the law won), the police fired 41 shots, etc.

    The LAPD was a notoriously corrupt organization that harassed, profiled, arrested, and bullied the black population of the city with near impunity. See the Christopher Commission findings, or the Rampart Scandal as examples. It is no mystery how this song came to be, and acting as if it came from nowhere does no one any favors.

  4. Absolutely should be fired. Singing any hip-hop song in a Bar-B-Q joint is sacrilege. It’s Blues or Soul with Bar-B-Q (Country is acceptable in Texas).

    • Kaepernick’s was a silent protest; it disrespected no one except those looking for something to be offended by. This one was loud, hostile, and intentionally disrespectful to a group of people they were supposed to be serving as per their job.

      I guess if you equate all protests as being ethically the same, you could see this as “Kaepernick-like.”

      • As I think I implied, Chris, it was Kaepernick-like but went off the rails.

        Kaepernick disprespected no one? Hah. He disrespected anything and everything the flag and the national anthem means or may mean to anyone, excepting flag burners and their ilk. Silent? Big deal. Classic passive-aggressive behavior.

        • But I think the singing of the song in the restaurant was clearly intended, like Kaepernick’s, as social commentary.

        • I lead the pledge of allegiance in my classroom every day. On the first day of school I inform students of their constitutional rights regarding the pledge. Teachers may make students stand, but they cannot force students to put their hands on their hearts or say the pledge. I don’t make students do either. If they want to remain seated and not participate in a bit of patriotic theater, what would be the point of forcing them? As long as they aren’t being disruptive, who cares? I see no difference between this and an athlete not standing for the anthem. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to refuse to participate in this type of political speech, from religious objections to objections over whether our country really is living up to our ideals, which were voiced by Kaepernick. In no way does this compare to openly telling a group of people to go fuck themselves.

  5. Maybe the police dine at that place because it would be a spawning ground for more and worse crimes that would occur if they did not dine there.

    Maybe actions consistent with those of the lyrics would be acted out more often, including by some customers and employees of the restaurant, if police did not dine there.

    Maybe the PD Internal Affairs people ought to investigate the officers who do dine there – to check for under-the-table connections to criminal elements who have connections to the restaurant, etc.

    I suggest the foregoing because it is simply true that the attitudes and behaviors alluded to in the lyrics reflect the ethics of an alternate universe. But that universe is real, and is obviously in Raleigh or parts of Raleigh. Deery’s last paragraph at 6:19 pm is as true and rationalization-free as any comment by deery I have read. I don’t have any answers for how to unite or merge the alternate, cop-hating universe with the one most of us inhabit.

    Lyrics like those Jack has shared are, if nothing else, valuable evidence about the existence of one alternate universe and its alternative ethics. Alizia probably won’t comment on this thread, but I do agree with her that no matter the ethics, they arise and are sustained on a metaphysical basis, which is to say, at the very least, on trust – on faith – on belief that certain things are just unquestionably so, ergo (now there I go with my white rap, ha-ha), one must (or should) act according to how things are in one’s universe.

    It seems clear that, in 2017 in this country, there is sufficient insularity of various populations such that there are multiple alternative universes, but insufficient opportunities to cause in those universes the cognitive dissonances that are necessary to begin the work of paradigm reconciliation (where possible) or, where necessary, to assert and sustain the predominance of one paradigm over others while remaining true to the ethics of that one predominant paradigm.

  6. I suppose the lyrics are a masterpiece because they are credited to not one, but five people. And because it’s easier for five instead of one to bear the guilt-burden of cultural appropriation. But…what about intersectionality?

  7. What a typically disgusting song, one of many that keep the negative “stereotypes” alive and well, especially the ones that indicate they’re violent, gang-and-drug-glorifying, cop-hating dregs of humanity that can’t be trusted.
    “But..but where is all this “racism” coming from?”

  8. Deery beat me to the I shot the sheriff reference. Dang.

    For the record, if this is true, I think it’s disrespectful. On the way other hand, I’ve never gotten bent out of shape at the hundreds of lawyer jokes sent my way once strangers learn that I am an attorney. Most people are idiots, right? Those of us who aren’t idiots have to rise above it.

  9. Apparently did not happen:

    “Thank you Smithfield’s Chicken & Barbeque Jones Sausage location for the class and professionalism as you sang “F the Police” as my brothers at Raleigh Police Department attempted to eat at your restaurant. The manager sang along as well. Do you really feel that was appropriate?” However, Raleigh’s police chief released a statement Wednesday saying despite reports, the two officers only witnessed one employee make eye contact with them and mouth the words “F… the Police.”

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