McDonald's new jerk chicken sandwich under fire for cultural appropriation

Accusations of cultural appropriation aimed at McDonald's' new festive themed menu item are exploding all over the twitterverse.

McDonald's has just revealed their take on a Jamaican-style jerk chicken sandwich but, unfortunately for them, the social justice warriors on Twitter are not having any of it. As part of their yearly temporary festive menu additions, the fast food giant is introducing two pieces of crispy chicken with spicy jerk sauce, bacon and cheese inside a sourdough bun.

And although we can't help but salivate at the thought of biting into the sandwich right now, the problem here, as many social media users have pointed out, is what they consider to be blatant profiting of cultural elements of a disadvantaged minority group.

What exactly is Jerk?

Jerk chicken originates from Jamaica. Historians have traced it back to indigenous Taino and Maroon people who were descendants of Africans enslaved in the Caribbean islands. The style of cooking called Jerk involves the coating of a meaty protein (most often chicken) in spices and slow-cooked over a fire or grill.

One Twitter user said:

Disrespect to the fullest. McDonald's slapped a dead sauce on top of a crispy chicken and called it Jerk Chicken Sandwich, unreal.

And another one echoed similar sentiments:

Tried the new McDonald's 'jerk chicken' burger yesterday, and as a man of Caribbean descent, I can categorically confirm that 2 Chicken Selects with some of Levi roots reggae reggae sauce is in fact not jerk chicken at all.

To add insult to injury, not only is it being accused of cultural appropriation but the burger itself looks quite underwhelming as one Twitter user's picture shows:

Can food belong to only one group of people?

But while some believe this is a clear example of cultural appropriation others think we should perhaps consider this to be 'cultural association' or even 'cultural celebration'. For them, food should be enjoyed and reinterpreted in any which way as every culture in the world has taken from each other to enhance or complement their own cooking styles.

So, do you think this is cultural appropriation at its finest or a harmless and innocent celebration of diverse cuisines?

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