The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is receiving backlash for offering a pre-packaged “watermelon salad” as part of their Juneteenth menu after a photo of the salad circulated on social media.
Social media users slammed the museum for the labeling, saying they perpetuated an offensive stereotype about Black people and culture. Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on June 19 for the end of slavery in the United States. It is also called Emancipation Day and became a federal holiday in 2021.
The museum, which is throwing a “Juneteenth Jamboree” on June 18, responded to some of the criticism on its official Facebook account, saying that their team conducts thorough research when curating a menu for special events. They said red foods, such as watermelons, “are a staple of Juneteenth Celebrations, including our food court manager’s family Juneteenth celebrations.”
Celebrate #Juneteenth with us at the museum on Saturday, June 18!
🥁Griot Drum Ensemble
🖼️Showcase of local artists
— The Children's Museum (@TCMIndy) June 3, 2022
“Red foods have historically been served by some to remember the blood that was shed along the way to freedom,” the museum added. Still, others in the comment section on Facebook weren’t buying it.
This is ridiculous and a mockery of Juneteenth… I’ve never had a watermelon salad or even heard of it.. smh pic.twitter.com/J6BV7F9hx8
— calm down miss brown (@WishYaHadAlexis) June 4, 2022
Indianapolis Children’s Museum really? A watermelon salad in celebration of Juneteenth? I want to know who sat in on that meeting & thought that was a good idea…… 😒
— ♡ (@SitBack_WatchMe) June 4, 2022
According to Fox 59, the museum has pulled the item from their cafeteria and released a statement saying “as a museum, we apologize and acknowledge the negative impact that stereotypes have on communities of color. The salad has been removed from the menu. We are currently reviewing how we may best convey these stories and traditions during this year’s Juneteenth celebration as well as making changes around how future food selections are made by our food service provider.”
The museum said in its statement that its food service provider uses the food and beverage menu to commemorate and raise awareness of holidays like Juneteenth. “The team that made this selection included their staff members, who based this choice of food on their own family traditions,” the museum said added onto the statement.