University officials have ordered a local “Tex-Mex” restaurant to stop handing out ‘racist’ sombreros to students during fresher’s week, as they violate the Student Union’s policy on “cultural appropriation.”
Pedro’s Tex-Mex Cantina, a Norwich restaurant, had set up a stall at the University of East Anglia (UEA) fresher’s fair and was distributing the hats as a fun way of drumming up some business.
However, the Student Union (SU) puritans were not impressed. They took the oversized floppy hats off of students they racial profiled as not being Mexican, because they considered non-Mexicans “appropriating” Mexican culture as being offensive to genuine Mexicans.
The SU claimed that the headwear breached an advertising policy, which they had sent to stallholders. The policy reads: “Discriminatory or stereotypical language or imagery aimed towards to [sic] any group or individual based on characteristics will not be permitted as part of our advertising.”
The policy goes on to detail 15 types of perceived discrimination – relating to gender, religion, race, ethnic origin and nationality – which the SU claims it will outlaw.
Campaigns and Democracy officer Chris Jarvis told The Tab: “At the SU we want all members feel safe and accepted, so at all events we try to ensure that there is no behaviour, language or imagery which could be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist.”
Adding: “We know that when it comes to cultural appropriation the issues can sometimes be difficult to understand and many don’t realise that they may be about to cause offence or break a policy.
“So we’re discussing internally how we can improve our briefing to both external organisations and our own members so that people aren’t caught out at the last minute.”
Chairman of the British Mexican Society, Richard Maudslay, told The Telegraph: “I would applaud any business of any nationality for doing anything to try to drum up business in a legitimate way, which this seems.
“I applaud them – it’s not a Mexican issue. It’s a much broader issue than that.
“We are delighted to learn that there is a Mexican restaurant in Norwich and hope that they would like to join us to become members of the British Mexican Society.”
An unnamed first year student at UAE said: “It’s ridiculous – it’s a comedy hat, not some sort of sacred religious dress.
“Who is going to get offended? Speedy Gonzales?”
UEA is not the fist British university to make war on ‘racist’ sombreros, last year the University of Birmingham attempted to have them banned during fancy dress nights in the SU as part of a crack down on “discrimination.”
Other forms of “cultural appropriation” frequently target by students engaged in identity politics include Native American headdresses, chopsticks worn in hair, and south Asian-style bindis and saris.
Last year, UEA students also attempted to ban a debate featuring a UKIP Parliamentary candidate to, “ensur[e] UEA students are on a campus where they feel safe, secure and respected.”