Black History Month lunch menu causes controversy in Calif. - FOX 32 News Chicago

Black History Month lunch menu causes controversy in Calif.

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School lunch menu (Photo courtesy of KTUV) School lunch menu (Photo courtesy of KTUV)
CONCORD, Calif. -

By: Noelle Walker and KTVU.com

A school in California put together a lunch in honor of Black History Month.

You won't believe what was on the menu.

However, school officials and African American leaders turned this mistake into a lesson and used it as an opportunity to teach students a real lesson.

When students at a California high school planned Black History Month activities, they didn't set out to make news.

"They thought this was a very clever way, in their own way of celebrating Black History Month. It was as simple and naive as that," Interim school president, Ann Bernard, said.

The school's interim president on Friday reinforced what she said in a letter sent to parents about a menu for Black History month that included fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon, "at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetuate stereotypes."

The school said the special menu was planned by students who are members of the Black Student Union club at a neighboring high school without staff approval or permission.

"They didn't mean it in any mean way. I understand why people got hurt," junior Michaela Eichers said.

"The menu really doesn't have anything to do with Black History," Sophomore Dom Carpenello said.

That history is on display at an African American Museum and Library in Oakland.

"I guess there's an impression that all black people eat this kind of food, which of course is false," said Chief Curator of the African American Museum and Library, Rick Moss.

Moss said the offending menu comes from a place of ignorance, and reacting to it only perpetuates negative black stereotypes.

"So this is wonderful opportunity to actually inform people, not something to react to. And I object to the reaction," Moss said.

"It just goes to show there is a greater need for education on everybody's part," Sister Bernard said.

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