The attempt by IKEA Georgia store to honor Juneteenth becomes an epic fail as the choice of food on the Menu creates the opposite of the intended effect.
An Atlanta branch of the furniture chain has caused a chain of angry reactions over what employees have called an intensely problematic menu curated to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday, which marks the emancipation of the very last enslaved Americans.
“To honor the perseverance of Black Americans and acknowledge the progress yet to be made, we observe Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19, 2021,” reads the an emailaccording to TMZ; which was sent to employees at the branch last week. “Look out for a special menu on Saturday which will include; fried chicken, watermelon, mac n cheese, potato salad, collard greens, candied yams.”
The menu selection which included items that have historically been used to demean African Americans through stereotyping; resulted in multiple employees calling out of work in protest, according to a local news channel. Nypost reports.
IKEA employee protest
“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,” an anonymous employee told Atlanta’s CBS 46. “It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit. People weren’t coming back to work.”
Up to 33 workers refused show up in response, CBS reported; which caused the store’s manager to apologize via internal email.
“She said, ‘I truly apologize. The menu came off [offensive],’” the employee recalled.
The workers said the controversy could have been easily averted if only people of color had been included in the team that chose the menu. “None of the co-workers who sat down to create the menu, no one was black,” they added.
The following day, the store manager told CBS that a new, revised menu was released. The updated version included collard greens, cornbread, mashed potatoes and meatloaf. And Sunday’s menu? “Fried chicken, mac ’n’ cheese, collard greens,” the employee said.