Oberlin College is taking its multicultural vigilance to the campus cafeterias.
The Oberlin Review, which chronicles goings on around campus, describes the current battle over politically correct food. Even sushi, also available on campus, wasn’t safe from being criticized as part of a “culturally appropriative sustenance system,” as the Review put it.
“When you’re cooking a country’s dish for other people, including ones who have never tried the original dish before, you’re also representing the meaning of the dish as well as its culture,” Tomoyo Joshi, a junior from Japan, said. “So if people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as ‘authentic,’ it is appropriative.” The Review added that Joshi thought “the undercooked rice and lack of fresh fish is disrespectful.”
The school says it is just trying to provide variety.
“Hopefully, if you dined with us … there would be one thing in every meal that you would want to eat,” Michile Gross, director of business operations and dining services, said. She added: “It’s important to us that students feel comfortable when they are here.”
But the menus are contentious about some issues.
“The dining halls at Oberlin College do more than feed students, faculty, and staff,” according to the school’s website. “Through progressive procurement policies, including an extensive Farm-to-Fork program, sustainable seafood principles, animal proteins free of human-therapeutic growth hormones and antibiotics, socially aligned coffee choices and cage-free eggs, Oberlin College and Bon Appétit Management Company provide nutritious meals that invest in nearby farms, dairies, ranches and aquaculture operations, preserve the bounty of our oceans, lakes and fields so they can feed future generations, and provide sufficient incomes to food producers so they can live with dignity.”
Rachel Kuo wrote at Everyday Feminism last month. “It’s frustrating when my culture gets consumed and appropriated as both trend and tourism.”