Chicago - May. 16, 2018
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The [Monday] Papers

"When Kayla Eubanks saw a sign for a Black History Month special menu in a New York University dining hall on Tuesday, she was interested to see what they were serving," CNN reports.

"'I figured it would be some type of southern cuisine,' the NYU student [said].

"But she was stunned to see the full menu: ribs, collard greens, cornbread, smashed yams, mac and cheese and two beverages, red Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water.

"Eubanks said she asked one of the cafeteria managers about it and was told, 'Yeah, it's Black History Month.'"

Now, y'all might be wondering why I'm passing along an incident that occurred at New York University. Stick with me.

"I talked to the head cook who told me 'black people put this menu together' and assured me that it was not racially insensitive," another student, Nia Harris, told CNN.

Within 24 hours NYU President Andrew Hamilton responded with a statement, calling the menu "inexcusably insensitive" and saying the school's food vendor, Aramark, did not discuss the menu choices with them beforehand.

"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.

After an investigation Aramark determined that two employees acted independently in creating the menu, Karen Cutler, a spokeswoman for the food-service company, told CNN. They have been fired, she said.

Gee, that reminds me of something. Oh yeah, here it is:

"It was meant to be a celebration of African American culture in honor of Black History Month. But a display in one of Loyola's dining halls sparked anger among many students who saw it as stereotypical and insensitive," the Loyola Phoenix reported earlier this month.

On the menu in Damen Dining Hall: fried chicken, maple mashed sweet potatoes, collard greens and "black eye peas salad" was served. Grape-flavored Kool-Aid was offered early in the night, but was later replaced with water and its sign hidden from diners.

The sign explaining the food offered Thursday night read: "Black History Month: Try our African American cuisine popular in the African American community." Around the food options, signs highlighted African American inventors such as George Crum, the 19th century founder of the potato chip, who was depicted above the french fries. The controversial display was short-lived.

After student backlash, Dine Loyola, owned by food service giant Aramark, released a statement on its Facebook page Friday afternoon apologizing for the display. "One of our core values is integrity and respect always," the statement began.

The display was the work of a single employee and wasn't part of an officially planned event. But, the statement read, Aramark "fully recognize[s] that the execution of the promotion was done in an insensitive way."

A spokesperson for Aramark declined to identify the employee who set up the display, but did confirm the employee is African American and didn't mean to offend students with what was intended to be a celebration of his or her culture.

Perhaps Aramark's culture is what needs fixing - and not just when it comes to Black History Month menus.

To wit:

* Aramark's Long History Of Missing The Mark.

* CPS Principals Say Schools Remain 'Filthy' Under $340M Janitorial Contracts To Aramark, Sodexo.

* Aramark Misses The Mark With Dining Choices On Campus.

* Michigan To End Prison Food Deal With Aramark.

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Sun-Times columnist John Fountain doesn't understand what all the hubbub is about.

"Is this what it has come to in a hypersensitive, politically correct world, where even fried chicken and Kool-Aid offend? Don't we as black folks truly have bigger fish to fry?" Fountain writes.

"Growing up, I never saw this as 'black food' or poor man's food. Just food."

With all due respect, that's (part of) the point.

"Don't white folks drink Kool-Aid too?"

With all due respect, that's (part of) the point.

Perhaps Fountain should ask himself why food that is "just food" that white people also consume is being served in honor of Black History Month.

Which isn't to deny, say, the heritage of "soul food," which to my knowledge does not include Kool-Aid, but to say that it is only one part of the black food experience in America, and a part vulnerable to hateful stereotyping in the wrong hands.

More to the point, the controversial choices for Black History Month menus only serves to reinforce heinous stereotypes about fried chicken and watermelon.

Instead, why not include in a campus black history menu the stories and creations of successful and influential black chefs? That would be meeting the mission.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

An Assault Weapon Proposal
"My policy suggestion is that people be allowed to own semi-automatic and even automatic weapons and accoutrements but that the weapons have to be registered, licensed, trackable, traceable, insured and used and stored only at gun clubs, hunt clubs or shooting ranges, where these clubs and ranges would be regulated, inspected and insured," frequent Beachwood contributor Steve Balkin writes.

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Where The Children Sleep
"'Where the Children Sleep' is a provocative multimedia exhibit featuring powerful photos and film of Syrian refugee children in Europe and the Middle East by award-winning Swedish photojournalist Magnus Wennman," says the Illinois Holocaust Museum, where the exhibit opens in March.

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Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games
"To evade this violation [of FCC ownership caps], Sinclair proposes to divest from stations in three markets: New York, Chicago and San Diego. In fact, Sinclair already has purchase agreements worked out to sell WPIX in New York and WGN-TV in Chicago to undisclosed third-party buyers. That may sound like a plus - until you read the fine print," writes Dana Floberg of Free Press.

"At both WPIX and WGN, Sinclair plans to enter into 'services agreement(s)' with the new buyers. These kinds of shady sharing arrangements have allowed Sinclair to sell stations to its own shell companies while maintaining functional control over the stations. Far from creating another diverse, competitive voice in local markets, these services agreements violate the spirit of the national cap. They are divestiture in name only."

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On This Day In . . .

2012: Proposed New Sin Taxes.

Immorality is in the eye of the beerholder.

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2013: New Chicago Tourist Traps.

Including:

Virtual City Council: Tourists invited to sit in city council meetings and cast actual votes as long as they agree to always vote Yes for the sake of historical accuracy.

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2015: We Are Now Approaching Peak Tribune.

This flashback makes me dizzy all over again.

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2016: Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire.

Night soul.

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ChicagoGram

A post shared by Anastasia Mak (@amakart) on

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ChicagoTube

Bad Chicagoland Drivers #35: Blinker Buddy.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Mich Ultra Goes Organic, Yuck.

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UK Afraid Of Our Dirty Meat.

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Half Of The World Doesn't Make Out.

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The Struggles Of Women Who Mask Their Autism.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Royal.



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Posted on February 26, 2018


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - New Television's New Families.
POLITICS - Desegregate First.
SPORTS - Sports Betting On States Now.

BOOKS - Why We Need Mad.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Charles White Retrospective.


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