An Indiana museum has apologized for selling a watermelon menu item in honor of Juneteenth.
As pointed out by TMZ, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis faced widespread criticism this week after someone posted a photo of its “Juneteenth Watermelon Salad” offered in its cafeteria. Social media users slammed the museum for the labeling, saying it perpetuated a stereotype about Black people and Black culture. Some argued that the ill-conceived move further highlighted how some don’t take the federal holiday seriously or understand its significance.
Celebrated on June 19, the holiday commemorates the end of United States slavery—specifically, the day when a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned they’d been granted freedom more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis responded to some of the criticism on its Facebook page, insisting its team conducts thorough research when curating a menu for special events. They said red foods, such as watermelon, “are a staple of Juneteenth Celebrations, including our food court manager’s family Juneteenth celebrations.”
The museum has since pulled the item from its cafeteria and issue a public apology.
“As a museum, we apologize and acknowledge the negative impact that stereotypes have on communities of color,” it wrote in a statement provided to the IndyStar. “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.”