Private School Apologizes For Racist Black History Month Lunch Menu
A private school in California attempted to celebrate Black History Month with a horribly ill-advised menu that included watermelon and fried chicken. Carondelet High School, located in the town of Concord, sparked outrage for the racist menu and has since apologized. The menu was announced to the entire student body over a PA system, but Carondelet communications director Christina Ditzel said the announcement had not been approved.
Ditzel said that letters were sent out last Thursday apologizing to parents and the menu was discussed at a school assembly last Wednesday. Principal Nancy Libby said she was aware that African-American students represented just two percent of the school’s population and remarked in the letter that “at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetuate racial stereotypes.”
Guidance counselors at De La Salle High school, an all-boys school affiliated with Carondelet that runs the Black Student Union, wrote in a letter to faculty members that fried chicken and watermelon “were some of the stereotypical images commonly used to depict life on the plantation, particularly among African slaves. It is important to keep in mind that the images of fried chicken and watermelon have been used intentionally for over 100 years to dehumanize black people.” He also made it clear that neither the school or the Black Student Union were responsible for the menu.
Greg Carr, chairman of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, said he was willing to believe the menu was made from a lack of knowledge and not bigotry. “Those foods become, fairly or unfairly, a badge of inferiority,” he said. If anything, what I hope could come out of this is to have a conversation about stereotypes and where those items came from.”