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Calif. school’s Black History Month menu of fried chicken, watermelon sparks ire

- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2014

Administrators at a private school in Northern California are scurrying to apologize after a well-intentioned lunch affair to recognize and remember Black History Month went awry, and angry parents called the menu racist.

The lunch offerings at Carondelet High School for Girls in Concord included fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon, CBS reported. At first students, listening to the menu as it was read over the school intercom to promote the event, were offended. Shortly after, so were their parents.

"Chicken, watermelon, collard greens," University of San Francisco professor James Taylor told the local channel, KNTV. "These stereotypes of black Southern culture come from the same place that the N-word comes from. This is not like, 'This food represents this heroic moment in African-American experience.' What it represents is the degradation and the stereotyping of African-Americans."

The school rushed to apologize, even holding an assembly to discuss the issue. Administrators, meanwhile, sent a letter home to apologize to parents, CBS said.

The school principal, Nancy Libby, clarified that the deemed offensive foods were taken off the menu, and that students and staff would take part in a diversity session to explore sensitivities regarding racial stereotypes.

Another school official, meanwhile, said the menu announcement came by way of a communication breakdown, and the food offerings were promoted without the knowledge or permission of administrators.

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