It was with great interest that I read Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young’s email to me (and apparently, everyone) titled “We Can Do Better.”
The email informed us that at a recent glow-in-the dark bowling event, students, as well as our beloved mascot, Goldy Gopher, “dressed in ponchos, wore sombreros, and participated in a themed party.”
As shocking as this is, we were assured in the email that “while the student planners of the event were unaware of the impact it might have on our broader University community, we have taken this opportunity to educate them about stereotypes, disrespectful appropriations, and the political complexities of representation.”
I certainly hope that during their time at re-education camp, these students were given no opportunity to argue for stances which differed from those of our dean, such as that there might not be anything inherently offensive or disrespectful about wearing a poncho or sombrero or calling a party a fiesta. Differences of thought on such issues have no place at a university.
Finally, I must confess my own betrayal of the revolution. At my own home, we frequently have taco night. I enjoy making Thai curries, and my own teenage daughter owns and sometimes actually wears out of the house a very lovely kimono.
I will be sure to bring these cultural appropriations up at the next self-criticism session.