For several years students at Clemson University enjoyed culturally themed food in their dining hall. They’ve offered every type of ethnic dishes –Italian, Southern BBQ, Asian. A favorite was “Maximum Mexican” night. Servers wore sombreros and served traditional Mexican cuisine. Everyone loved it, except a couple students who were deeply offended by the racial stereotyping and who felt the event was “culturally insensitive.” One student voiced on Twitter, “Our culture isn’t a costume, and we will not be mocked!” Another tweeted: “I thought your focus was diversity.”
They were the only two who were offended. But that was enough for the university to issue a formal apology for being culturally insensitive. According to Campus Reform:
Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, Clemson University’s Senior Associate Vice President of Student Affairs apologized for the event’s “flattened cultural view of Mexican culture.”
“It is the mission of University Housing & Dining to create supportive and challenging environments that enrich and nourish lives. We failed to live out our mission yesterday, and we sincerely apologize,” Hallenbeck said.
Dr. Hallenbeck went on to promise that the university “will continue to work closely with [its] food service provider to create dining programs that align with Clemson University’s core values.”
So, sombreros are racist. Balloons with mustaches on them are racist. Even Mexican food itself is racist.
What I don’t get is that the offended students complained that this “Maximum Mexican” event flew in the face of diversity. They think that doing away with these sorts of events would better serve diversity than not doing them? How does that even make sense? I thought doing those events and representing a wide range of cultures would have made them happy. I bet if the school did away with all culturally themed events, these same students would be offended that their school never hosts events showing appreciation for other cultures. The best way to deal with these students is to ignore them.