UC Irvine: MLK Day Chicken And Waffles Menu Was In Poor Taste

IRVINE (AP) — A California university says it was bad taste to serve chicken and waffles on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Officials at the University of California, Irvine, say the menu of stereotypical black food was served on Jan. 17 — the first day of the school’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. symposium.

The dining hall advertised the meal as an “MLK Holiday Special.”

The co-chairman of the school’s Black Student Union and another student lodged formal complaints.

University spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon tells the Los Angeles Times that the cafeteria staff made a last-minute decision about the menu. She says the intention was to offer holiday comfort food. The company that runs the cafeteria says it will conduct cultural sensitivity training for its chefs and managers.

The menu flap at UC Irvine was the second MLK Day-related flap in Orange County.

A surf shop in Laguna Beach advertised 20 percent off all black items in honor of MLK Day, and superimposed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s head on a body wearing a wet suit. The shop, named Thalia, later apologized and said no offense was intended by the ad.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • jet

    Dont these people have more important things to complain about these days other then something this…

    • mar

      Eating chicken is racist? What about armed robbery and dealing crack?

      • william james

        Well spoken.

  • John

    I guess Roscoe’s is a racist restaurant.

  • rm

    people need to get a life and quite griping about stupid stuff

  • richie kotzen

    lets serve kung pao chicken and fried rice for MLK day next year?? or maybe carne asada and tacos??

  • Don

    While those looking on the outside in (i.e. are not African American) may see this story as yet another instance were black people are overracting, you must understand that by having such a “MLK Holiday Special” only further perpetuates stereotypes that I thought our country would want to eliminate. Its not always the overtly racist happenings in every day life that cause racial divide, but tts the subtle things like this that cause the most harm. Thats my two cents on the issue. UC Irvine handled the situation correctly and should be applauded.

    • jet

      Guess when we have st patricks day and offer green beer, have october fest and drink beer, have jewish holiday specials, christmas and celebrate day of the dead…its all racist against other racial groups too…

      Lets just ban everything now to please people…

      • Lynn

        here here Jet… It is totally understandable why people get fed up. Damned if you do and Damned if you don’t.

      • Jim

        St patricks day is an irish holiday, jewish people have jewish food on jewish holidays. So you’re saying that MLK day is a black holiday and not an American holiday? That’s the point people are saying when they say UC Irvine is being naive.

  • sue

    Very well stated Don! I could not have said it better.

    • sandy

      Really why do we have to celebrate MLK day as a National Holiday anyway? Seriously, if it means something to you personally, celebrate away, but I personally don’t think institutions or businesses should embrace the day.

  • Sage Advice

    Umm… I’m a white Irish/German guy from the mid-west who highly respects the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. – however, I love Chicken and Waffles and NEVER would have thought that the dish was akin to ‘racism” in my life. Since when in that considered “black only” food? Assinine.Where at one time REAL racism meant a serious danger or threat to people merely for being a different nationality, people must be really bore or still WANTING to have racism to further some profitable agenda or politcal gain – becasue citing something as ridiculous as a dish enjoyed by numerous races is NOT what racism is really all about. Just ask a few people that SURVIVED the 1960s what racism meant THEN!! Chicken and Waffles is not going to be on thier list, guaranteed.

    • jim

      I don’t think UC Irvine did this to be an insult. I think the way they see it is “MLK is a black holiday…what do black people like, chicken and waffles”.

      It really is an insult to MLK by marginalizing what he did for this nation by applying these stereotypes.

  • Jim

    MLK day isn’t a black holiday, it’s an American holiday. The founding fathers wanted a democracy for some. MLK made America a democracy for all. I think many people fail or refuse to see the point.

    Instead of Chicken and Waffles, it would have been in better taste to have served the poor if you’re truly trying to honor MLK.

    Chicken and Waffle stereotype is an insult. I’m glad UC Irvine recognizes what they did was in poor taste.

    I’d expect a school such as UC Irvine not be as naive about their history.

  • Duh!

    From these complaints, I take it that MLK was not black and should not have things that are black associated with him.

    I guess they want us to think of him as a heavily tanned white boy.

  • Andrew

    I dont get it. If you go into a Roscoes on any given day, you see mostly black folks eating it. So how is that stereotypical? If anything, it is a fact.

  • Patrick Culliton

    Everyone I have introduced chicken and waffles to over the past 45 years has had some misgivings, but, they almost universally like the combination and enjoy it again from time to time and introduce others to it.
    It’s a gift to the world like all great foods.
    I don’t think it’s rascist to serve chicken and waffles anytime anyplace–as long as they’re well prepared.
    I think a breakfast of chicken and waffles is a treat.
    signed, a 66 year old ofay

  • jet

    why dont we just all switch it around, on MLK we drink green beer, on st paddys day we have matzos, on passover we have chicken and waffles, then on octoberfest we paint easter eggs, then no one can complain…yeah right… I think in the US people complain just to complain since of course thier life is boring and everyone elses is so exciting…thats my cure…doubt MLK would have protesed chicken and waffles being served if he was still alive and would have ordered them with a side of wienerschnitzel…

  • quad guy

    So if they refused to offer this food or didn’t have it then it would be racist and now that they did have it its racist. These damn people are never happy. Its a fact of life. If it doesn’t go their way then their not happy and find something to bring of it

  • Ben

    poor taste? chicken and waffles is DELICIOUS !!!

  • sean

    Why can’t some of the posters here admit that it was an insensitive thing to do?
    Instead, they get all mad and say they are “fed up”. Are they “fed up” because they can’t act rude without getting called out on it? Are they fed up because because they are asked to sensitive and polite to their fellow citizens? Only an immature, angry resentful person would think it’s ok to serve this meal on MLK day. The racial resentment is showing on this comments board.

    • Don

      My sentiments exactly @ “The racial resentment is showing on this comments board.” And that’s why no one can ever tell me racism doesn’t exist. All you have to do is go online and read comment boards such as this to know we’ve got a long ways to go in this country….

  • sean

    Hey quad “these damn people” are your fellow citizens, and fellow humans. Drop the victim act and admit you are a racist, then we can move on and help you overcome your racial hate. You will be a happier person.

  • anoyed

    MLK day is a racist day in and of it self dont tell me its an american holiday he did nothing for this nation any bigger then any other noteable person in history yes he fought for equal rights for blacks but do we have any holiday for any one of the women who fought to get the vote for women? there are lots of people down through history that made our life on the whole better and we do not make a holiday for them alone so why did MLK need one and since he was fighting to get rights for blacks then i must say its a black holiday just like passover is purely for the jews

  • eggs and bacon

    That sounds like a sticky meal, I like my fried chicken with honey and my waffles with syrup….or could you have waffles with honey or chicken with syrup……hmmmmmmm…..I think it was a learning experience

  • Jordan

    I’m not taking either side on this argument, as I think there are flaws in both, however I do want to understand why this is such an issue.

    MLK days is an American holiday. Chicken and Waffles is an American dish, why does color have to be involved?

    Roscoes had an MLK day special of “buy a 2 piece chicken and waffle, get a side of mashed potatoes for free”… should they not be allowed to have a special on MLK day?

    Also, from my understanding it was the African American student group that pushed to have chicken and waffles on MLK day at UC Irvine. I dont understand why they don’t come forward and say something.

  • Ed Rooney

    Nobody know da trouble I seen

  • Colleen Carter-Anderson

    Stereotype indeed. Chicken and waffles? Never had the two together. The best protest would have been for NO ONE to buy the meal. Then it would have been a big waste of money and a guarantee that the cafeteria would do better next year…lol

  • william james

    stupid monkeys..go find a job and give back to society

  • william james

    Ignorant lazy blacks always have to cry over something ..they are wortless animals.

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