I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m pretty sure if I were the manager of the IKEA location in Atlanta, I wouldn’t think it was a good idea to add fried chicken and watermelon to the employee menu in celebration of Juneteenth — the newly-deemed federal holiday honoring the emancipation of slaves in America. Let’s call it “a hunch.”
JUST IN: IKEA is getting slammed on social media after offering fried chicken and watermelon on Juneteenth‼️👀
An email to employees read:
“Look out for a special menu Saturday in honor of Juneteenth” pic.twitter.com/pah57Uq9fR
— RapTV (@raptvcom) June 23, 2021
First a bit of background, via The Atlantic, as paraphrased (twisted almost beyond recognition, but still makes the larger point) by Wikipedia:
The stereotype that African Americans are excessively fond of watermelon emerged for a specific historical reason and served a specific political purpose.
This racist trope then exploded in American popular culture, becoming so pervasive that its historical origin became obscure.
Whites used the stereotype to denigrate black people — to take something they were using to further their own freedom and make it an object of ridicule.
Anyway, as reported by WGN in Chicago, the menu not only included fried chicken and watermelon but mac and cheese, potato salad, collard greens, and candied yams, as well, according to a picture of an email to employees that went viral on social media.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 23, 2021
Not the Bee — not to be confused with Not the Bee’s “big brother,” The Babylon Bee, the premiere conservative satire site on the planet —picked up on the story, as well.
Atlanta IKEA celebrates Juneteenth by serving watermelon and fried chicken and it does not go well for them https://t.co/Ce7GkZgcx0
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) June 23, 2021
The email said the Juneteenth “celebration” was meant “to honor the perseverance of Black Americans and acknowledge the progress yet to be made,” but multiple employees allegedly complained that the menu was “racially insensitive,” according to an employee who wanted to remain anonymous, who told WGCL-TV in Atlanta:
“They sent the menu to us in emails. [They said the menu was to] honor … Black Americans.
“You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don’t even know the history, they used to feed slaves watermelon during the slave time.
“It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit, people weren’t coming back to work.”
According to WGCL, 33 “outraged employees called out from work,” which “sparked an internal email response from the store manager on Saturday.” In the email, the manager reportedly said: “I truly apologize [if] the menu came off subjective.”
An Atlanta IKEA celebrated Juneteenth with fried chicken and watermelon. What do you think happened next?https://t.co/9YtQzoK7Ws
— OutKick (@Outkick) June 22, 2021
Bottom line? I believe the store manager. Was she insensitive, in retrospect?
I suppose so, given today’s crazy-train environment, but hindsight often comes easy. Or, was she tone-deaf, and simply didn’t get it? I’m not in a position to “rule,” either way. But what I do know is anything and everything that can be tied to the “R-word” by the left — sometimes to the point of laugh-out-loud ridiculousness — will be. That is a given.
But, hey — I report, you decide. Tell me what you think.
In somewhat related news, check out my earlier article — about one of my favorite “tell it like it is” guy, veteran sports journalist, Jason Whitlock: Jason Whitlock Calls New George Floyd Statues ‘Racist,’ ‘Offensive,’ Used to ‘Denigrate Black Men’