Hyped Rage Over Chicken & Waffles at UC Irvine

A tasty dish.The PC police were out in full force last week at UC Irvine, where the school’s dining services have come under heat. The reason? The dining hall served chicken and waffles on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Not only has the meal in question been derided as an outrage, but a co-chairman of the Black Student Union has gone further and lodged a formal complaint with the school’s administration. According to a report in the L.A. Times, “Officials with Aramark Corp., which provides dining services for student housing, said they would conduct cultural sensitivity training for all managers and chefs.”

Chicken and waffles is a soul food dish. Soul food is traditionally associated with African Americans. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most important leaders of the African American civil rights movement.

Serving a soul food dish on a day devoted to the celebration of African American culture is not racist. Nor is it discriminatory, prejudiced, or antagonistic. And now, because of some absurd overreaction, the company providing dining services to UC Irvine is being pressured into wasting money on cultural sensitivity training for its chefs? Talk about an unnecessary expenditure.

— Adam I. W. Schwartzman