School officials screw up; students pay price

school lunch

Officials at a private school in Northern California came under fire earlier this month after attempting to celebrate Black History Month by putting fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on the lunch menu.

Students at Carondelet High School for Girls in Concord, Calif., wanted to come up with ways to observe the occasion during a lunchtime celebration Friday, but it appears that school officials devised the menu choices as their idea of recognizing Black History Month.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t go over well with many parents.

As a result, the items were taken off the menu, a letter of apology was sent home to parents and, of course, the school principal announced the requisite diversity assembly for students and faculty, according to the Associated Press.

My question: If the students didn’t come up with the idea of putting fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on the menu, why should they have to sit through a diversity assembly?

I’m certain that students in California have been to more diversity assemblies by the time they reach high school then they can possibly remember.

Also, many folks – me included – have a keen hankering for all three of the above food items.

While I certainly wouldn’t be so culturally tone deaf as to attempt to pass them off as part of a Black History Month celebration, can students at Carondelet effectively kiss off any hopes of ever seeing fried chicken or cornbread on the menu again as school officials cower in the diversity corner for all eternity?

(HT: Waldo Lydecker’s Journal)

8 thoughts on “School officials screw up; students pay price

  1. You are going to explain this to me…if you would be so kind.
    I have the impression that the school put on a menu reflecting what they thought was typical food of the black population…so what was the problem?

    When in the U.K. churches set up poverty lunches using basic Indian recipes…I don’t recall Indian community groups kicking up.

    And as for diversity lectures…oh for goodness’ sake. If we can live with the oddballs in our own culture surely we can live with other cultures…as long as they don’t involve bodily mutilation – out go the piercing shops in Europe as well as the genital excision…

    • I suppose the parents’ ire was raised because they saw the placing of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on the menu for Black History Month as stereotyping. It’s unfortunate, because while many blacks do enjoy these foods, many Southern whites do, as well.

      This is one of those no-win situations. There is no food you can put on the menu to “recognize” a group without stereotyping that group to some degree, I suppose. Personally, if I were the kids, I would have been happy to have gotten something that would undoubtedly been tastier than the usual school lunch fare, but that’s just me.

  2. OK, Black History month. I get that cornbread fried chicken and watermelon are part of the menu, and this is a stereo type. I think the outrage of the black community gives credence to this stereotype more so than ignoring it. Perhaps what the students were given for lunch was a two fold plan. The students got to eat and a large group of people now have something to bitch about. If i was the principal i would make the school lunch menu the same every day. The students get in line and pay there 50 cents and stand in the second like to open it. I would simply say if you don’t like it then brown bag it like the rest of us.

    this school has the same problem that the earth has. People

    • Yup. Too many people with too much free time means too many people crabbing about something. I’ve seen what my kids get fed at their schools. Now *that’s* something to get upset about.

      I’d be pissed if for one day I was actually getting something edible like chicken and cornbread and then mom and dad get offended, complain to the school and the good stuff is pulled from the menu.

      I suppose, though, that our nation is in a relatively good place when this is the biggest gripe a bunch of elitist private school parents can come up with, right?

  3. I’m like Helen I don’t really understand this.

    But I do understand the stereotyping. Did black slaves really spend their time eating fried chicken cornbread and watermelon? The few books I have read about slavery suggested they had stuff all to eat.

    It probably wasn’t a clever idea.

    If someone stereotyped the food from my home area I wouldn’t be happy.

    It would be cute little yorkshire puddings with lots of roast beef. Truth is, the yorkshire pudding was served as a first course to fill people up so they wouldn’t want much meat because no-one could afford it. It wasn’t a garnish, it was a big filling cheap first course.

    Same with Andalucían food. Wonderful paella full of chicken and seafood? delicious tapas? No people eat bean slop just like we do.

  4. The whole point is that whites as well as blacks in fact DO love watermelon and fried chicken, especially in the South. It’s not “African continent cuisine” (theres no such thing) or some kind of African country cuisine, so it isn’t comparable whatsoever to UK churches serving Indian cuisine to Indians. If people would actually read or pay attention to some black history in America instead of having knee-jerk reactions to what’s dismissed as “political correctness,” they’d learn that denigrating caricatures of blacks slurping on watermelons and eating fried chicken were prolific in the South, on posters, even in corporate advertisements, in political brochures. The caricatures always had blacks depicted with huge lips and big white teeth and caps on backwards and generally looking like mindless boobs. Blacks were depicted as lazy bums who sat around eating watermelon and chicken legs all day. For the school officials not to know that and intentionally associate the meal with Black History Month bespeaks how little history they know, but what the hell–I’ll dare generalize that Americans don’t like to be bothered with history unless it’s heavily sanitized or more like “myth and brag” than actual history, warts and all.

    • “Myth and brag” – boy, isn’t that the truth. As though our ancestors’ mistakes and weaknesses somehow make us unworthy.

      I’ve always found Black History Month insulting to blacks. If we’re talking about the US, blacks have as much to do with American history as anyone other group, and often blacks can trace their lineage in the US back further than most whites. To specify just one month as being worthy of recognizing black history seems condescending.

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