A California private school has come under fire for planning a Black History Month celebration that included a menu of fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread.
The Carondelet High School for Girls in Concord, Calif., is apologizing to parents and students for the offensive menu. It’s unclear whose decision it was to hold a lunch consisting of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon. NBC Bay Area reported Thursday that students were looking for a way to honor Black History Month.
"I'd like to apologize for the announcement and any hurt this caused students, parents or community members," Carondelet Principal Nancy Libby said in a letter sent to parents. "Please know that at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetrate racial stereotypes."
In a letter to the school community, Libby wrote that watermelon, fried chicken and cornbread will be removed from the lunch menu. She also agreed to hold a diversity assembly for students and faculty at the all-girls school.
Both Libby and the school’s dean declined to talk with NBC Bay Area about the Black History Month lunch menu controversy.
James Taylor, a professor at the University of San Francisco, said the menu is offensive even if the school had good intentions.
"Chicken, watermelon, collard greens -- these stereotypes of black Southern culture come from the same place that the N-word comes from," he said. "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."