The principal of an all-girls Catholic school in California had a lot of explaining to do this week after the cafeteria offered a special Black History Month menu of watermelon, fried chicken and cornbread. The menu sparked outrage after parents and students complained that the meal celebrated Black stereotypes, not history, in an assembly and explanatory letter.
Nancy Libby, the head at Carondelet High School, responded to the outcry by speaking to members of the Black Student Union and offering a public apology for the offensive menu.
“I’d like to apologize for this announcement and any hurt this caused students, parents or community members,” she stated in a letter. “Please know that at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetrate (sic) racial stereotypes.’
According to University of San Francisco professor James Taylor, the idea was well-intentioned but poorly executed. “Chicken, watermelon, collard greens — these stereotypes of Black southern culture come from the same place that the N-word comes from,” he told NBC. “This is not like this food represents some heroic moment in African-American experience. What it represents is the degradation and the stereotyping of African-Americans.”
Ruth Wilson, chair of the African-American Studies Department at San Jose State University, added that the reason why this meal sparks bad feelings “is because blackface-era cartoons and plays showed African-Americans eating these foods in ugly caricature depictions.”
The Associated Press reported the items were removed from the menu and a special diversity assembly will be held to discuss the matter.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below and tell us what foods you think are appropriate.
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The Black Experience: Famous Folks’ Favorite Soul Food Dish
1. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson still enjoys soul food, however, she goes for the lower calorie version: turkey wings, baked sweet potato fries and greens. I am thinking Jennifer does not cook her greens with ham hocks or salt pork. (Photo: AP)
2. President Obama
Collard greens and sweet potatoes were planted in the First Lady’s White House garden. Mr. President loves him some sweet potato pie. (Photo: AP)
3. Barack and Michelle Obama
In 2009, the White House hosted the first soul food brunch in American history. Grits, Fried Chicken, Barbecue Ribs, Collard Greens, Black Eyed Peas, Macaroni and Cheese, Potato Salad, Candied Yams, Peach Cobbler to name a few were served up. Yummy! A lot more folks know about soul food now! (Photo: AP)
If you ask Beyonce what is her favorite food . . . she says ‘Soul Food’ and if you ask for her most favorite soul food dish, she says fried catfish. (Photo: AP)
5. Kanye West
Soon after Kim and Kanye hooked up, Kim tweeted ‘cooking some soul food for my baby! along with a photo of the plate filled with mac & cheese, fried chicken, green beans and cornbread! Who knew she could cook! (Photo: AP)
6. Patti LaBelle
I don’t know if mac & cheese is Patti LaBelle’s favorite soul food dish, however, I read that her home-made macaroni and cheese is soooo delicious, it made Oprah cry. WOW! (Photo: AP)
7. Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez loooooves fried chicken and said in an interview once that she actually likes to cook it when she’s home. (Photo: AP)
8. Meagan Good
Meagan Good confesses her most favorite soul food dish is Mac & Cheese. (Photo: AP)
9. Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige says her favorite soul food dish is Mac & Cheese too. (Photo: PR Photos)
10. Kelly Rowland
Kelly Rowland doesn’t just have just ONE favorite soul food dish! Don’t get her started, she loves mac & cheese, rice, gravy, yams and oxtails to mention a few. (Photo: PR Photos)
11. LeBron James
LeBron James loves fried okra and chicken & waffles. (Photo: AP)
12. Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer said she cannot wait until the red carpet events are over so she can get her buddy Jessica Chastain to cook her up some good ol’ vegan soul food! Really? (Photo: AP)
13. Chris Brown
Chris Brown cooked up a huge meal for Karrueche Tran and himself back when they were in love. She tweeted a photo of him cooking and then a pix of the finished product: fried chicken, green beans, mac & cheese, corn on the cob and cornbread. (Photo: AP)
14. Will Smith
Will Smith says his favorite soul food dish is also mac & cheese. (Photo: AP)