Mostly white high school serves fried chicken for Black History Month
This is what happens when you try to bend over backwards to celebrate various cultures. Someone complains. Apologies are made.
On February 16th, Hopewell Valley Central High School offered the following on their menu:
In Celebration of Black History Month we have a special menu today!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mac & Cheese
Cornbread, Peach or Apple Crisp!
The food service vendor, Pomptonian, says they tried to create a menu to celebrate and honor Black History Month and they say they worked closely with the school in doing so. Their Vice President Cathy Penna said in an email to NJ.com, "The suggestion was to do something to celebrate soul food." She elaborated that they try to create a diverse menu respecting various cultures.
What thanks do they get? Someone complained. The charge of course is racism. And of course the Superintendent Thomas A. Smith instead of standing by the decision had to release the following statement: "The decision to include these items without any context or explanation, reinforces racial stereotypes and is not consistent with our district mission and efforts to improve cultural competency among our students and staff."
Give me a break. Here's the problem. The high school's student body is 82 percent white, 10 percent Asian, only 3.8 percent black and 3.6 percent Hispanic. I feel if this were done in a predominantly black school no one would have questioned it. Speaking of questions, I have one for the complaining party...are you honestly going to say soul food is not part of the African American culture? Sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason. Even if it came off as a cliche, I think the school's intent was inclusion. Had they not done anything at all for Black History Month, the same person probably would have complained about that instead.
I am mostly German, 50%. I'm only 25% Polish (but in this culture you get your last name from your father). Now if I were at school and they had a month of various cultural foods and they offered pierogies on Polish Day, should I get bent out of shape saying they were playing into a stereotype? I personally hate pierogies, never eat them. But would it be right of me to complain about a stereotype? I don't think so. I honestly don't believe there was any malevolent intent here.
Tell us what you think in our poll question.