California School Apologizes for Racist Black History Month Lunch Menu

California school, racist lunch, Black History Month

A school in Concord, California has released a statement apologizing for what is being described as a racist lunch menu aimed at observing February as Black History Month. With positive intentions, administrators at Carondelet High School for Girls, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, have now removed items from the month’s planned menu and offered an expression of regret for the racist implications.

February has been selected as Black History Month in the United States. The ritual began in 1926 as Negro History Week when Carter G. Woodson and others believed that a recognition for the achievements of African-American people was important. The week corresponded with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and was later expanded to an entire month across many college campuses until President Gerald R. Ford made the observance official in 1976. Since then, each February has been Black History Month nationwide, with congregations and formal groups seeking to honor the month in various ways.

While reportedly well-intentioned, the all-girls school in Northern California had to apologize for its choice in how to observe Black History Month. Food items were added to a planned monthly menu that needed to be removed when parents, students and other people associated with Carondelet High School expressed extreme disapproval and shock for the racist lunch options. According to the NBC Bay Area report, fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread were among the controversial edibles that caused the outrage, subsequent apology and immediate removal of the items from the month’s menu.

In response to the outrage, administrators at Carondelet High School sent a formal apology letter to each student’s parents. Nancy Libby, Principal of the San Francisco Bay Area high school, wrote that the institution and its decision makers did not “wish to perpetrate racial stereotypes” or to offend anyone in the community. Libby, other administrators and the school’s educators also held an on-campus assembly to facilitate the discussion of what happened. An additional assembly is in the works with plans to host a discussion aimed at exploring various aspects of diversity.

When interviewed, parents of the California high school students voiced a desire for the controversy to provide a “teachable moment” for all those who were involved in the lunch menu choices and ensuing events. Responses to the incident on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have been comparable to those of the parents. Questlove Jenkins, a member of the group The Roots, who performs nightly on NBC’s show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, posted his response to the lunch menu made available to NBC employees. While again, set to honor Black History Month, Jenkins replied with, “Hmm HR?” and a picture of the posted menu. The items are similar to Carondelet’s menu: fried chicken, white rice, black-eyed peas, collard greens with smoked turkey and jalapeño cornbread, according to Jenkins’ picture posted on Twitter.

While Black History Month is observed annually, appropriate ways to celebrate are still being learned for many places across the United States. The Northern California high school, which has released a formal apology for racist menu items, has since removed those items from the month’s planned lunches; and is offering a diversity assembly next February will bring a different way to honor the prominent African-Americans who have influenced and shaped the United States.

By K. Corrine Van Vliet


ABC News
NBC Bay Area

17 Responses to "California School Apologizes for Racist Black History Month Lunch Menu"

  1. William Lanham   March 3, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I agree, that is Southern food, not black food, I think that the lesson from this article is that one cannot grovel adequately to appease those who love to see you grovel.

  2. Nia Rae Washington   February 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    My school (Olean High)doesn’t celebrate black history ,is this normal ? I honestly think that this should be brought to attention.I have been asking around and others have told me that there school does celebrate it can anyone help me with this ?

  3. Chris Edwards   February 8, 2014 at 9:56 am

    A big “Amen!” to many of the responses to this idiocy. Ironic how liberals love to go on and on about multiculturalism, but shut it down when it offends their delicate PC-informed sensibilities for no good reason. Many contributions have been attributed to black Americans to enrich our big “melting pot” here. Why can’t super tasty food be part of that? The more the idiots scream “racism” where it doesn’t exist, the further we regress as a whole. Now, time to enjoy my fried yardbird, Mac and cheese, collards and sweet tea.

    • Judy   February 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      BUT LEFT WINGERS, LIBERALS, AND SOCIALISTS ARE THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF RACISTS ON THE PLANET. Left Wingers take black people out of the barn and tell them who to vote for. Then when the Left wins, it takes puts it black cattle back in the barn….except when the Left wants to attempt to show us how much they like black people….by feeding them racist food groups. The Left is a bunch of hypocrites, self aggrandizing POS…a bunch of arrogant, self serving bas-tards who believe they have a right to control other human beings and turn them into slaves of the state. The Left has been exposed for what it is….

      I can say exactly the same thing about the Religious Right….a pox on both their houses. They both disgust me. Both hate individualism, hate creativity, hate people being in control of their own lives, identities, and futures.

      • Elisabeth   April 6, 2014 at 2:42 am

        Although there is some truth in what you are saying, a lot of people of the ‘right’ are ‘religious’. That being said moral values such as the ‘right to life for all’ are not just common to religious people but to all people with common sense. The left say they want diversity and tolerance, but since they frame what this actually constitutes, then it is not really diversity at all.

      • pete   July 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

        Wolf in the north, fox in the south. Both are dogs!

  4. chrisfleming95   February 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    That is absolutely ridiculous! This is soul food, the traditional Black dish! My fellow African-Americans want to complain about not being recognized and blah de blah blah, but when someone finally gives us our “due,” there’s complaints attached to it. Some of us are just never satisfied.

  5. Anne   February 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Who was the one who actually reported on this menu change? Remember; Concord, all girl school… imagine that…

  6. greg   February 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Who doesn’t like fried chicken? Maybe this really is more of a southern thing, but this white west coast transplant from the north east would like to give thanks to whomever wants to take credit for this delicious food. I imagine that African Americans contributed this significantly … and therefore, thank you.

  7. bill hamilton   February 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    The portions aren’t big enough.

  8. Shontel   February 7, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I do not believe it is silly to apologize for a mistake such as this. I do believe in educational moments and that is what should happen in this case. They may not have had any ill intentions behind it, however It is a stereotype and I don’t know one person who is not offended in some manner about a stereotype no matter what the intentions were.

  9. Irvin Gonzalez   February 7, 2014 at 9:57 am

    All I see is southern food there and good southern food at that. There are a lot more things that could have been given and looked at as being racist, I would be pissed if I was promised fried chicken and then it was pulled off the menu when some people complained. I’m hispanic and live in the south so I have seen this style of cooking in both white and black families, people need to stop screaming outrage for every little thing and enjoy the positives that have come through the years.

  10. Pat   February 7, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Seems a southern menu and this was a great part of black history. No apology needed, maybe some education is in order.

  11. snicsnac   February 7, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Good lord does that look good. I’m white too and love that food. Also from the South. Try to eat it only on occasions as it is a little heavy but as Andy Griffith used to say MMM MMM Aunt Bee, I do declare that looks delicious.

  12. Abe   February 7, 2014 at 6:57 am

    For God Sake People – this whole worrying about what is politically correct to everyone is so silly. I am certain no one in the school system sat and thought about how to make people upset by serving this food. Silly

  13. Jayna   February 7, 2014 at 2:07 am

    I’m black and my first reaction was to burst out laughing…however I do realize that some can use this sort of thing to denigrate others…

  14. Jo   February 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I’m white and I eat the food on that menu all the time. I’m also from the south. It’s not so much a race thing as it is a southern thing!


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