While it’s great that Juneteenth is finally receiving national recognition, it comes with the unfortunate downside of white people doing the absolute, goddamn most. Take for instance an Ikea in Atlanta that introduced a special Juneteenth menu that just screams “I had one Black friend...in high school...during freshman year.”
According to CBS News, an email sent by the store manager said the menu was intended to “honor the perseverance of Black Americans and acknowledge the progress yet to be made.” Honor seemed to be the last thing the Black employees felt when they received a menu that included fried chicken, watermelon, mac and cheese, and collard greens. “You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don’t even know the history,” one employee told WGCL.
Some Black employees were so upset by the menu that many considered quitting. “It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit. People weren’t coming back to work,” one employee told the news outlet. About 33 employees called out from work as a result of the menu.
One of the primary concerns held by the employees is that nobody thought to ask the Black people who worked there what would be appropriate for the menu, or if that was even something they wanted. “None of the coworkers who sat down to create the menu—nobody was Black,” one employee said. It’s not a good look when you don’t include Black people in your effort to celebrate Black culture.
It wasn’t just employees who were upset by the menu, as even some customers were upset at how the situation played out. “I’m just frankly disappointed in the learning process — you shouldn’t learn after you have insulted all of your Black employees,” one customer said.
After pissing off just about all their Black employees, the store manager sent an email to apologize. “I truly apologize if the menu came off as subjective. It was created with the best of intentions by a few of our coworkers who believed they were representing their culture and tradition with these foods of celebration.”
The store issued a revised menu on the following day that removed the fried chicken and watermelon, but still had collard greens, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf. “They just delayed the menu by a day, thinking that everybody who was upset stayed home on Juneteenth and wouldn’t notice on Sunday, which just added insult to injury,” one employee told WGCL.
Sadly, this isn’t even the first instance of white people doing the most over Juneteenth—just look at the San Jose Sharks and their ill advised Juneteenth artwork. The sad thing about both of those incidents is that all they needed to do was ask a Black person if this was a bad look and they could’ve easily avoided this. If you’re unwilling to do that, then do us a favor and celebrate Juneteenth by shutting the fuck up. Seriously. Just give us at least one day where we don’t have to deal with white headassery.