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crispy fried chicken and watermelon

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Here’s a novel idea: How about we all agree that the best way to honor Black History Month is to simply teach and celebrate more Black history?

Stop with the racist BHM school activities. Stop having students pick cotton and pretend to be slaves. Stop with the inappropriate lynching displays. Quit with the BHM-themed police cars. And for the last time, STOP SERVING FRIED CHICKEN AND WATERMELON AS BHM MEALS IN SCHOOLS!!

*deep, heavy negro spiritual sigh*

According to the Washington Post, a New York middle school has come under fire after its vendor changed the school lunch menu from cheesesteaks, broccoli and fruit to fried chicken, waffles and watermelon on the first day of Black History Month. This prompted Nyack Middle School Principal David Johnson to send out a letter to parents and students apologizing for the “inexcusably insensitive” meal while also being sure to point the blame at the school’s vendor, Aramark, which also issued an apology.

“The situation at that middle school was our mistake and never should have happened,” an Aramark spokeswoman said in a statement. “It stands in direct contrast to who we are as a company and our longstanding commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We have apologized for our mistake, are working to determine how it happened and make sure it never happens again.”

“We serve millions of meals every day and our team does an excellent job meeting the needs of the communities we serve,” Aramark went on to say. “But, in this case, we made an inexcusable mistake and we apologize.”

Ok, but besides the fact that this has got to be the gazillionth time a school or workplace has gotten called out for this exact same thing, this does not appear to be Armark’s first racist rodeo. In fact, the company’s use of the words “in this case” seems reductive to say the least considering its workers have reportedly done this exact same thing at least twice in the past.

From the Post:

In February 2018, Aramark served a meal at New York University in honor of Black History Month. That included barbecue ribs, cornbread, collard greens, Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water, the New York Times reported. Aramark said it fired the employees who planned the meal without consulting the school’s staff. The next year, NYU ended its contract with Aramark, according to the student paper.

When students at the University of California at Irvine were served chicken and waffles on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2011, Aramark said its managers and chefs would complete cultural sensitivity training, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Now, Aramark is, once again, claiming its employees will undergo training on stereotypes and biases, which, apparently, just means it will likely be another five to 10 years before it happens again.

All you have to do is teach Black history, folks. It’s really that simple.


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