The controversy at the school apparently has been going on for some time.
Last year, Vietnamese student Diep Nguyen, was disappointed because baguettes were being made using ciabatta bread.
Ciabatta is an Italian white bread made from wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. It was created in 1976 by a baker in Verona, Veneto, Italy, as an alternative to a baguette.
“How could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country’s traditional food?” she told the Oberlin Review, the school’s student newspaper.
Mon Dieu! Baguettes are French!
It didn’t end there. Students also raised hackles about dining hall sushi and banh mi. The latter is the Vietnamese term for, surprise, a French baguette.
The bread was introduced during Vietnam’s French colonial period and, you could say, the Vietnamese culturally appropriated it.
You can see how easily “cultural appropriation” can run amok. Where does it begin, and where does it end?
If you take the argument against “cultural appropriation” to its logical conclusion, white people shouldn’t eat peanut butter because it was invented by a black man, George Washington Carver.
But the same logic, African-Americans shouldn’t play basketball because a white man invented the game. So what if they excel at it? They’re engaging in cultural appropriation.
In fact, the same argument was used for years to keep African Americans out of major league baseball. Team owners in the early 20th century argued that baseball was a “white man’s game.”
Jackie Robinson finally broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Major league baseball has been better for it, ever since.
It’s pretty easy to see the opposite of “cultural appropriation” is “cultural segregation.”
The United State kind of went through that–and for the most part got over it. It started with slavery, the Civil War and early 20th Century Jim Crow laws and ended with the Civil Rights Movement.
Dunham, for all her claimed intelligence, just doesn’t get it, or doesn’t understand history.
“The press reported it as, ‘How crazy are Oberlin kids?’ But to me, it was actually, ‘Right on’,” the Oberlin graduate told Food & Wine magazine.
She said the dining hall was “disrespecting certain cuisines,” by offering sushi and banh mi.
But food, like society, should be mult-cultural. The blending of cultures should be encouraged, not discouraged.
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