Chicken & Watermelon Anyone? Part I

tumblr_mq6q7dy9t21rodxmao1_500

Did you hear about this? It might have been a little funny….if it really wasn’t true.

Carondelet High School for Girls in Concord, California is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons: the Black History Month lunch menu they recently announced.

In and of itself there is nothing wrong with having either chicken or watermelon during lunch.  Is it possible, in this day and age, that they just don’t know it’s meaning, especially to make it a special Black History Month special lunch menu item? Is it possible, they thought they were doing a “good thing?”

If we’re naive for even thinking this, what does that make them? ________________
You can fill in the blank yourself.

Apparently the students at this private school had been brainstorming ways to celebrate Black History Month. It’s doubtful this lunch menu was what they had in mind because they, along with their parents were upset at the school administration once it was announced.

According to NBC affiliate KNTV- TV, Principal Nancy Libby responded to the criticism.

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

However, University of San Francisco professor, Dr. James Taylor‘s eloquent statement puts it in greater perspective. He empathizes with why some students and teachers would be offended, even though the lunch may have been well-intentioned.

“Chicken, watermelon, collard greens. These stereotypes of black southern culture come from the same place that the “N-word” comes from,” says Dr. Taylor.  “This is not like this food represents some heroic moment in [the] African American experience, what it represents is the degradation and its stereotyping of African Americans,” he concludes.

Ruth Wilson, chair of the African-American Studies Department at San Jose State University, said the food isn’t offensive, per se — in fact, fried chicken is an American mainstay, thanks in large part to KFC.

Maybe they needed to have a racial sensitivity class instead to inform the students that the reason this particular meal sparks bad feelings is because blackface-era cartoons and plays showed African-Americans eating these foods in ugly caricature depictions.

Search