Apparently someone at one of the dining halls thought it was a good idea to celebrate Black History Month by serving Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water.
NYU student Kayla Eubanks told CNN that last Tuesday she saw a sign for a Black History Month special menu at a New York University dining hall and wanted to check it out.
“I figured it would be some type of southern cuisine,” she said.
But instead, what Eubanks saw played into tired old stereotypes about Black folks including ribs, collard greens, cornbread, smashed yams, mac and cheese WITHred Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water.
Yeah, they tried it.
When Eubanks asked the manager what was going on, she claims she was told, “”Yeah, it’s Black History Month.”
Are y’all serious? Y’all really thought it was okay to have watermelon water for the Black History Month Meal? I’m not as annoyed by the koolaid but this watermelon water was very intentional and coonish. Do better. @nyuniversity@NYUDiningpic.twitter.com/Fc165gWRtP
After Eubanks spread the word what was going on, another student, Nia Harris went to the dorm to check it out for herself. She took to Facebook to post her disgust.
“This is what it’s like to be a black student at New York University. You go to a dining hall during February and you see “Black History Month Meal” plastered outside the entrance. You walk inside the dining hall only to find ribs, collard greens, and mac and cheese. You note that this is stereotypical, but you decide not to make a big deal. Then you see the beverages, Red Koolaid and watermelon water. You take a breath. You ask to speak with the person over this specific dining hall menu. After being bounced around from person to person you finally get a chance to meet with someone. Today this happened. Today I was lied to, placated, and ignored. In 2018 I literally had to explain why displaying watermelon and koolaid in celebration of Black History Month was not only racially insensitive but just ignorant,” she wrote.
Harris also posted the email she sent the school:
Within 24 hours NYU President Andrew Hamilton issued a statement calling the menu “inexcusably insensitive” claiming the school’s food vendor, Aramark, did not discuss the menu choices with them ahead of time.
“That error was compounded by the insensitivity of the replies made to a student who asked Aramark staff on site how the choices were made,” Hamilton said.
Meanwhile, Aramark is not taking all of the blame for this one, pointing to two rogue employers for the incident.
“We have zero tolerance for any employee who does not adhere to our values or contradicts our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Employees at NYU who acted independently and did not follow our approved plan for the celebration of Black History Month have been terminated and are no longer with the company,” said Aramark in a statement.
They added: “We are extremely disappointed by this regrettable situation and apologize to the entire NYU community and communities everywhere for their insensitive and offensive actions. We are re-training all our NYU campus employees to ensure an incident like this is not repeated.”
Either way, it’s 2018. Why does this nonsense keep happening?