In the face of black criticism of white supremacy, racism and white privilege, the common refrain from white people is to remind black people that they (their forebears) built roads, bridges and clinics that black people should be grateful for. 

One of the chief parts of colonial history that’s conveniently “Left out” is that it took black stolen labour to construct what we have today- That it would have been impossible to build anything without the forced assistance of black people. Because white people don’t listen to black people and subconsciously believe that black people are too incompetent to tell their own life stories and aren’t honest enough and intelligent enough to convey their lived experiences. 

Lets visit a chicken broiler and observe the 45-day lifecycle of the average battery chicken; Let’s compare the lifecycle of an average black person to gain a sense of what it means to be black in the ever-voracious capitalist machinery!

It’s hard to imagine that the chicken fillets, battered pieces of juicy nuggets we so eagerly consume every week comes from an animal that has spent its life being fed and gave its life for our hedonistic pleasure. 

We are “taken in” when viewing the end product that is skilfully wrapped and packaged, festooned with marketing slogans that remind us just how good chicken tastes. 

The cool interiors of supermarkets with their demure lighting and inviting ambience, is meant to trick us into forgetting that we’re buying an animal, and lulls us into thinking machines produced the packages of chicken we see before us. 

You may have a picture in your mind from elementary school, of chickens freely pecking away at rich tufts of grass- in its efforts to secure that juicy earthworm- and being lovingly fed healthy grain by a jovial “farmer brown” character- ready to share delightful farming anecdotes with you- over a steaming cup of coffee back at the farmhouse- whilst his rotund wife prepares freshly baked bread for your consumption.

Chicks are hatched by the 10’s of 1000’s every day and never get to meet their mothers but are instead hastily put into massive chick pens. For weeks as the chicks are being fed and more added- the chicks sheds are soon covered in persistent pollution of faecal matter and feather dust, mixed with the stench of ammonia, making the air unhealthy to breathe. 

Does this remind you of some of the working conditions in the mines? Some chicks are selected to breed only, so their beaks are unceremoniously and without anaesthetic, cut off the prevent in-fighting, injuries and even cannibalism. Does this remind you of the socially created ills of gangsterism and wanton violence in the townships? 

The lights in the broilers remain switched on- so the growing chicks can be fooled into thinking it’s still daytime, and (over) feed at such a rate that their internal organs aren’t able to deal with their rapid growth- resulting in many of them not being able to support their body weight. Does this remind you of the horrific working conditions around the world?

Once the chickens have reached their optimal weight, they are killed either by bludgeoning, stomping or drowning in scalding hot water, ready to be plucked, disembowelled and quartered for packaging. Does this remind you are the pittance black labour finally receives after a lifetime of injurious work that always affects their health? Are you going to argue that there were at least tools to work with, canteens to eat in, overalls and gloves to work with and fans above to cool them in Summer? Or will you correctly see that everything built around us was and is for the good of our capital masters so they can quickly and efficiently bring their “goods” to market?

Of the more than 20 billion chickens produced and consumed yearly, according to the Veterinary Record, more than 20% suffer from some bone deformity, leading to chronic pain in its short lifespan. 

In the 1950’s it took 84 days to raise a fifty-pound chicken -today, it takes less than 45-days due to genetic selection, growth hormones and massive amounts of steroid use. Much like the global black and brown labour force, more goods and services are produced at fewer labour costs.