A school in Upstate New York has apologized for providing a culturally offensive Black History Month food menu.
In a report from WABC-TV, on 1 February, the first day of the observance of Black history, students at Nyack Middle School were served chicken and waffles accompanied by choice of watermelon for dessert.
The school's administration and Aramark, the school's food vendor, apologised after students and parents highlighted racial stereotypes.
"We apologize for the unintentional insensitivity shown on 1 February, the first day of Black History Month. While our menu was not intended as a cultural meal, we acknowledge that the timing was inappropriate, and our team should have been more thoughtful in its service," Aramark said in a statement, according to WABC-TV.
Nyack Middle School principal David Johnson also wrote a letter to parents, explaining he didn't know about the menu's "offerings."
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"The vendor has agreed to plan future menu offerings to align with our values and our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion," the letter read.
It also expressed that they were "extremely disappointed" by the situation and "apologize to the entire Nyack community for the cultural insensitivity."
This isn't the first time Aramark has sparked racial controversy.
In 2011, the University of California, Irvine had chicken and waffles on their menu on Martin Luther King Day.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the company would provide cultural sensitivity training for chefs and managers.
And in 2018, The New York Times reported that New York University students urged the school to sever its relationship with Aramark after its Black History Month menu included things like barbecue ribs, cornbread, collard greens, and Kool-Aid.
And the following year, in 2019, NYU did seek to break away from Aramark and search for other vendors.
According to the school's website, dining services are now partnered with Chartwells.
Certain foods such as watermelon and fried chicken have been associated with Black culture in history and were used to liken Black people to poverty, uncultured upbringings and ignorance following the abolition of slavery.
Indy100 reached out to Aramark and Johnson for comment.
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