Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s
Is it true that Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, referred to blacks in this offensive manner?
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
According to Colonel Sanders and the American Dream (2012)
Harland Sanders seems to have been utterly without racial prejudice of any kind. No one who has spoken to me for this book nor any credible source in any of the primary or secondary literature about him has even hinted at bigotry or animosity on Sanders' part.
The book goes on to explain that Sanders used the term "Negro" when that was the preferred term, and then switch to the term "blacks" in the 1970s at the request of Ray "Calander" (spelled "Callender" by most sources).
Ray Callender was a black man who was a spokesman for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
He was interviewed 26 November 1999, long after he stopped working for KFC, for a radio show. The transcript says (source advises to listen to audio, says transcript may not be perfect):
Ray Callender: There wasn't a racist bone in his body. For that fact, he bent over backwards to make a change. If the perception of him being a racist was real, he wanted to overcome that.
Mark Schone: As head of public relations for Kentucky Fried Chicken in the late '70s, Ray Callender traveled the country with the Colonel for several years. He had to kick his boss under the table sometimes to stop him griping to the press about the declining quality of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and he heard a lot of salty language in the back of the Colonel's white Caddy. But as a black man riding shotgun for the very emblem of white southernness, Callender never once caught Sanders saying the n-word.
Ray Callender: And the only close incident that came like that was when he was writing his own little speech in preparation for whatever was going on, and he turned to me and said, he wanted to know what us nice folks were calling ourselves these days. And I looked up and I said, well, what do you mean? And he said, well, is-- his term was-- he didn't say nigger. It was Negra. And I said, oh, this is where it comes to a stop. Nowadays we call ourselves black. And then he would say, Well, I wouldn't call you nice folks black. To the Colonel, black was a derogatory term to him. And you can imagine coming through that time, that's-- he was raised in that environment.
Of course, when we travelled out, we'd rent limousines. And in the case with me traveling with the Colonel, I always sat in the back, believe it or not, and he sat up front with the driver. And what he would do, when we got to the motel where we stayed, he jumped out of the car and ran to the back to open the door for me, and run ahead to the hotel and guide me through the door, and he would carry the bags. And we had, at that point, back in 1976, the doorman came to me, scratching his head, and said, you know, I know that man is Colonel Sanders, that Kentucky Fried Chicken guy, millionaire. And I said, yeah. And he said, well, who the hell are you? And the Colonel said, that's my son, but we don't talk about that.
So it seems the Sanders is being falsely accused by Schnatter.