Students at the Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., near Boston, were shocked to learn the school was serving fried chicken in honor of Black History Month.
The announcement was made over the school’s PA system on Feb. 1 at the all-boys school. Many students were surprised that the school wanted to honor history with such a racist stereotype.
“In honor of Black History Month, one way we will celebrate is by highlighting a traditional meal each week that is a staple in Southern Black history. Today’s lunch is fried chicken.”
A senior at the Xaverian Brothers High School, Liam Baker, told WCVB that the school used a racist, negative stereotype and could have done better.
“Honestly, I think it’s just a big stereotype. It could be seen as a little racist,” Baker said. “It’s the first day of Black History Month. They couldn’t have come up with a better thing than fried chicken for African cuisine? It doesn’t really make much sense.”
The Xaverian school’s student body vice president, Michael Earls, condemned the lunch. He added that the school needed to apologize for perpetuating a racist stereotype.
School officials tried to blame a Black employee by claiming that they suggested serving fried chicken to honor the month, adding that Xaverian meant to educate students about Black culture and history.
“Regrettably, our message was poorly communicated resulting in some perceiving it as the propagation of a negative stereotype,” said the statement. “We are saddened by this outcome. Going forward, we will strive to ensure that all members of our community understand the significance of our efforts to celebrate Black History Month.”
Jacob Conca, the school’s head, added he was taking full responsibility for the unfortunate event.
“We are deeply troubled and disheartened by our failure in this instance and take full responsibility for it,” he said. “I offer my sincere apologies for the harm that our actions may have caused.”