BANGOR, Maine (News Center)-- A member of the Penobscot Job Corps Academy staff says the Diversity Luncheon meant to celebrate African-American Culture on Wednesday was racist.
Steven Faloon says he got an email outlining the luncheon menu two days before the event, and was surprised by what he saw. The selection included mainly southern style dishes including fried chicken and watermelon. He found these food items to be racist and encouraging a racial stereotype of African-Americans. Faloon contacted the event organizers saying he felt the menu degraded the African-American culture. The Human Resources Director told him his concerns would be taken into consideration, but the luncheon went on as planned. Now Faloon and several other staff members who voiced concern say they are outraged by what they call a lack of sensitivity.
"If you are going to celebrate Black culture, then you need to research and determine what are it's true roots? Not what have we over time assigned to it, in some ways even to denigrate this culture," Faloon said.
Andrew Carpenter, the Executive Vice President of the Career System Development Corporation with the Penobscot Job Corps Academy released an official statement this afternoon saying "The Penobscot Job Corps Center offers its sincere apology for any offense to our students, staff and community caused by the menu. Our intent was to celebrate African-American History Month with a special meal for our students who come from diverse backgrounds. Our goal is that all members of the Job Corps family, including management, have understanding, awareness and respect for others and their cultures."
Faloon says even if he loses his job over this matter, he is still glad he came forward.