School apologizes for Black History Month lunch of watermelon, fried chicken

(http://pixabay.com/en/watermelon-melon-fruit-sweet-74342/?oq=Watermelon)
(pixabay.com)

Put this in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category: A Catholic  high school for girls in California thought it would be a good idea to mark Black History Month with a special lunch menu of fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread. Many students and parents were not amused.

KNTV, the NBC affiliate in the Bay Area that Nancy Libby, principal of the private Carondelet High School for Girls, 30 miles east of San Francisco in Concord, held an assembly at school to discuss the incident and sent a letter to parents in which she apologized for the insensitive action.

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

Um … how did they think that serving watermelon and fried chicken to mark Black History Month  would not  perpetuate racial stereotypes?

As Professor James Taylor of the University of San Francisco told the television station:

 ‘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 letter also said that the watermelon, fried chicken and cornbread would be removed from the menu. That will take care of the immediate problem but not the larger problem of the kind of ignorance and racial stereotyping that remains far too prevalent in this country.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | February 6