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IKEA Employees Outraged Over Juneteenth Menu With ‘Racially Insensitive Food’

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 22 Jun 2021 19:08
IKEA Employees Outraged Over Juneteenth Menu With 'Racially Insensitive Food'PA Images

IKEA employees have branded the company’s Juneteenth menu ‘racially insensitive’.

The annual holiday was created in the US to mark the day African-Americans were freed from slavery in the 1800s.

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First created as a holiday in Texas, it was made a federal holiday earlier this month after the Senate passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

Many people mark the day by celebrating African-American culture, something which Swedish furniture brand IKEA tried to do, but seemed to have fallen short at one of its Atlanta-based stores.

IKEA (PA Images)PA Images

In a bid to take part in Juneteenth celebrations, IKEA created an African-American inspired food menu, which included fried chicken and watermelon.

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Prior to the menu’s debut on Saturday, June 19, it was reportedly emailed to IKEA’s employees to view first. Apparently the menu was created to ‘honor the perseverance of Black Americans,’ CBS 46 reports.

However, the menu outraged some of its employees, which led to more than 30 people refusing to come into work out of protest. Some people even wanted to quit their job.

An anonymous IKEA employee told CBS 46:

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 during the slave time. […] It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit, people weren’t coming back to work.

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Allegedly none of the people who created the menu were Black.

In light of the controversial menu being emailed to employees, people expressed their outrage to the store manager, who later apologised for the menu ‘[coming] off subjective’. They also said they had ‘the best of intentions’ when coming up with it.

The menu was later changed, the manager confirmed to CBS 46, but employees still weren’t happy. The IKEA employee said, ‘They just delayed the menu by a day. Thinking that everyone who was upset by the Juneteenth menu stayed home on Juneteenth and wouldn’t notice, which just added insult to injury.’

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The revised menu was made up of collard greens, corn bread, mashed potatoes and meatloaf. Employees weren’t alone in being offended; IKEA customers also didn’t appreciate the Juneteenth menu. One Black customer said, ‘I’m just frankly disappointed in the learning process, you shouldn’t learn after you have insulted all of your Black employees.’

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Food, ikea, News, US News

Credits

CBS 46 and 1 other
  1. CBS 46

    IKEA menu causes outrage among employees and customers

  2. The Daily Beast

    IKEA Employees Furious Over Juneteenth Menu With Watermelon and Fried Chicken