Monday, February 10, 2014

Fried Chicken & Watermelon For Black History Month?!

I can't quite decide whether this is more racist, stupid, offensive, or insensitive. Maybe equal amounts of all four.

An all-girls Catholic high school had the terrible idea to celebrate Black History Month by creating a special cafeteria menu that included fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread. What?! No chitterlings or collard greens.

Carondelet High School in Concord, Calif. announced Monday it would be serving the racially offensive meal that week, but when students and parents got word immediate backlash ensued, prompting the school to hold an assembly and send out an explanatory letter. As if any collection of words, phrases, or paragraphs could possibly explain the motive behind such foolishness.

The school’s principal revealed that she had met with the leaders of the Black Student Union and apologized if the menu announcement offended anyone.


“I'd like to apologize for this announcement and any hurt this caused students, parents or community members," she said. "Please know that at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetuate racial stereotypes.”

The menu has since been removed and the school is scheduled to have an assembly on diversity.

Foods like fried chicken and watermelon have long been depicted as stereotypical in that they are eaten with your hands, and therefore are deemed dirty, though historically it remains a staple in many Black households and restaurants, such foods were given to us during slavery because they were considered inferior foods that were deemed too good for the "master".

Blacks have often been portrayed eating this kind of food in film and television during slavery and Jim Crow, but in a way that was used to dehumanize them and portray them as poor and ill-mannered people.

Moral of the story: if you’re white, just stay away from the mentioning of fried chicken, watermelon, or any other stereotype as it relates to Black Americans. It'll save you a lot of trouble. Next time either ask a Black friend, or make a Black friend who will tell you the truth.


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