Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Black History Month Menu at NYU: Kool-Aid, Watermelon and Controversy

MOVEMENT Black Liberation Front MOVEMENT Black Liberation Front
Sandra Phillips | 24 February, 2018, 04:44

Harris followed the route Eubanks did in response to the meal option: she alerted administrators and student organizations to the meal options and took to social media to further publicize the issue - leading NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Aramark (the food service provider the university utilizes) to release a statement of apology.

Students at New York University said they were stunned after seeing the menu for a Black History Month meal on campus which included several racial stereotypes.

"Most people were positive towards me about the letter but I was surprised that so many people do not understand the racist connotations behind Kool-Aid and watermelon in relation to black people", Harris told CNN.

One student, Nia Harris, could not believe what was offered on the menu when she entered the Weinstein Passport Dining Hall this week.

When her queries were sidelined by the catering company, Harris posted a screenshot of her email to Facebook and it was not long before it spread.

"Not only was this racially insensitive, this was just ignorant". "Attached below is the email I sent to dining services today as well as the Deans of the University".

Citizens for the Advancement of Community Development presents Black History Month - Together We Rise on Tuesday, Feb. 27, to bring awareness of black Canadians, 4 p.m.at the Mississauga Valley Community Centre.

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Students and staff wanted to leave a lasting memory on everyone. However, I don't want it to stop there.

The statement goes on to point out the fact Aramark also supplies food for private prisons, "which subjugate black and brown bodies", - making these actions even more "unacceptable and disappointing".

CAS sophomore Kayla Eubanks, who confronted food services staff concerning the meal on February 20, explained in an email to Local that this situation was indicative of a larger issue at hand on campus - that NYU is not adhering to the standard it claims to believe in. He added that Aramak had suspended the director of the dining hall.

The contractor in charge of the dining hall, Aramark, said employees had acted on their own in planning the meal and that they have been fired. We are extremely disappointed by this regrettable situation and apologize to the entire NYU community and communities everywhere for their insensitive and offensive actions.

The episode also dismayed the university's Black Student Union, which issued a statement saying the menu was "problematic due to the inherent stereotypes associated with black people and southern soul food cuisine". Each cook and chef needs to go through sensitivity training to ensure that they can responsibly provide food from a variety of cultures, especially since NYU is touted as a diverse school and there needs to be respect for every single culture.

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