Here’s something you don’t see every day: people protesting Mexican food as “culturally insensitive” to Mexicans.
Well, maybe we do see it every day but because we’re so used to it, our sensibilities have been numbed by the totally predictable response of the Outrage Brigade on campuses.
I hate Mexican food (but I love Mexicans) so I don’t have a dog in this show. But what is truly fascinating about this incident is that the overwhelming majority of students love the food and love the idea of having a day devoted to Mexican cuisine.
But because of a handful of people claiming to be “offended,” the school administration apologized.
Clemson University issued an apology to students on Thursday after what appears to be a small group of students were offended by an annual Mexican cuisine event put on by university dining services.
Clemson Dining’s “Maximum Mexican” night, has become a student favorite over the last several years, and this year was no different.
Everything was going great. Students were loving the food and festivities. Except for two students, who took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the school’s decision to host such a “#CUlturallyInsensitive” event.
While a few on Twitter were offended, the overwhelming preponderance of students registered absolutely no reaction at all. The one student who did respond to the Twitter complaints wrote, “I’m offended that you’re offended. #CUfiestafiasco.”
Clemson senior Austin Pendergist told Campus Reformhe felt the post-event uproar was “ridiculous.”
“This is something that Clemson Dining has done for years without any sort of backlash. People love the cultural nights in the dining halls,” Pendergist said. “What’s next? Are they going to take away all potato based food as to not offend students from Irish decent? Remove the stir fry station so Asian-American students don’t feel as if they are being misrepresented? When does it end?”
The university, however, took a different position. 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.”
You can imagine cuisine that aligns with “Clemson University’s core values.” Oatmeal with Zwieback and Jello? Or perhaps you could really be culturally diverse and mix and match various cuisines. How about a borscht-filled taco? Corned beef and haggis? Stir-fried wiener schnitzel?
If Clemson was only picking on Mexicans, I might understand. But these culture-themed food nights are a regular occurrence at the school:
The event, which Pendergist said consisted of “a couple balloons, sombreros, and some tacos,” is one of many culturally themed events put on by the Clemson Dining Services throughout the year. For one such event, the university held an event titled “Low Country BBQ Bash,” where students were invited to “Pick up a plate of mighty fine fixins.”
The university has also previously held St. Patrick’s Day-themed events, where students were invited to a dinner of “cornbeef, fried fish, and Irish grilled cheese.” Both those events, it seems, were uncontroversial.
No doubt the decorations for Irish night include drunk leprechauns and a lot of shamrocks. I’d get outraged but I’m proud of my Irish heritage and admire drunk leprechauns.
I would say to the students who made this ridiculous protest — get a life. And to the administrator who apologized — grow a pair.