Maximum Mexican Multicultural Madness
Navigating the maze of cultural diversity in America is beginning to feel like gingerly crossing a melting lake, fearful of any moment falling through the ice. This is especially true on college campuses, where cultural diversity is celebrated and where students are taught that sensitivity is more important than sanity, and that every culture – except American culture – is worthy of respect.
That kind of skewed mentality backfired when, after hosting their annual "Maximum Mexican" night, where Mexican cuisine was served by the university dining services, South Carolina's Clemson University was forced to issue a mea culpa to offended students.
What's confusing is that besides Clemson being über-thoughtful when it comes to multiculturalism, according to the university's cultural ambassadors, Hispanic Heritage month, thus far, has been a smashing success.
At the start of the fall semester, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Monterrey's of Clemson even hosted a night of Mexican dancing and free Mexican food.
According to the Clemson website, part of their yearly cultural celebrations includes Latin Fest, a "campus-wide event that started in 1996 [and] celebrates Latin American cultures."
Clemson's Latin Fest "celebrates the culture and heritage of students, faculty and staff descending from Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean … and … includes traditional Latin foods, music, dance instruction and more."
With that level of all-inclusiveness, who would have thought that Mariachi music and a chalupa would be the tools that unearthed latent bias and ethnic tactlessness within the ranks of an institution of higher learning that for almost two decades has prided itself on being culturally sensitive toward Latin Americans?
Here's the problem with the liberal left's futile effort to make sure no one is ever offended: like six disgruntled patients in 27 years and 15,000 surgeries complaining about retired John Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon/Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson's alleged lack of neurosurgery skills, two students deeming Mexican food #CulturallyInsensitive gives unmerited credence to picayune factions that deserve to be ignored.
The simple truth is that there's no end to the possibilities presented by this sort of craven attempt to mollify every imagined affront. This is an arena where, if you serve Mexican food as a salute to Mexican culture, you end up insulting the supercharged egos of those who can never be appeased.
In like manner, at the whites-excluded yoga classes taking place in Oakland, California's East Bay Meditation Center, discriminating against white yoga enthusiasts is justified as a way of "finding a path to inclusion through exclusion." This sort of reasoning is oddly similar to the logic that offends Mexicans when honoring Mexico.
Meanwhile, back at Clemson University, culturally themed dining is a tradition where, to honor international and ethnic food, the cafeterias are decorated to reflect the origins of the cuisine being served.
Take for instance a Palmetto State favorite, the "Low Country BBQ Bash." On Low Country night, Southern food enthusiasts are invited to "[p]ick up a plate of mighty fine fixins." Then there's the thus far non-controversial St. Patrick's Day-themed event where, in addition to the White House dyeing the fountain on the South Lawn green, Clemson serves "corn [sic] beef, fried fish, and Irish grilled cheese."
According to senior Austin Pendergist, the recent Mexican event did not exclude scented hair products. Instead, the night included "a couple of balloons, sombreros, and some tacos." Apparently, those three things, either as a group or individually, stung a couple of students' fragile sensibilities, which resulted in them immediately airing their wounded feelings on Twitter.
Rather than tell the students to "lighten up" or "grow up," in response, Clemson University's senior associate vice president of student affairs, Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, swiftly responded to the unintended microaggression by conveying regret over the "balloon…sombrero…taco" event's "flattened cultural view of Mexican culture."
If "flattened cultural views" are now a problem, then from this day forward, pizza night has the potential to set off a culturally offended free-for-all among Italians with delicate feelings about their native foods. And based on politically incorrect stereotypes, pizza night could result in Tony Soprano wannabes scaring Mexicans back across the southern border.
Either way, a regretful Hallenbeck stressed that "[i]t 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."
"Supportive…challenging environments…nourish lives"? Sorry, but to apologize for serving Mexican food during a month-long celebration of Hispanic heritage suggests a level of endemic foolishness that is mind-boggling. Moreover, for fried hamburger meat in a cornmeal shell, a helium balloon, and a straw hat to offend anyone or cause a college administration to kowtow to such blatant nonsense is symptomatic of a nation reeling in multicultural madness.
For the rest of us, as we tentatively attempt to tiptoe across the melting ice sheet called cultural sensitivity, what has fallen through and is trapped, gasping for breath below the surface, is what little is left of America.
Jeannie hosts a blog at www.jeannie-ology.com.