Tag: 上海后花园IH

LMH bop theme accused of cultural insensitivity

first_imgLady Margaret Hall’s start of Hilary term bop has provoked controversy amongst some students.At the event, some students allegedly wore tea towels on their heads, which, according to critics of the theme, was an example of orientalism. After the bop had taken place, students also raised the issue on the JCR’s Facebook page.The bop, which had the theme ‘Arabian Nights’, was held on Saturday 24th January. Arabian Nights is the title of the English translation of One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of folklore and tales from the medieval Islamic world. Organisers contended that students were supposed to dress up as characters from these stories.Charlotte Sykes, a third year English student at LMH, had concerns about the bop’s theme, commenting, “The event provided a space in which people wore stereotyped one dimensional ‘Arab’ costumes – at a time when Islamophobia is on the rise throughout Europe.”She continued, “Much of the writing following Charlie Hebdo has focused on the damage done to minority communities when those in positions of power characterise them as reductive ‘othering’ stereotypes.“We need to be aware of these issues, and our positions of institutional privilege as Oxford students, and ensure we don’t replicate these oppressive dynamics.”However, some students responded negatively to the criticisms from voices inside and outside the college. Aadit Shankar, the JCR president at LMH, defended the college’s handling of the events, “The bop theme last Saturday was announced five days in advance, and was intended to refer to the collection of folk tales, One Thousand and One Nights.“The JCR Executive received no formal complaint about this theme prior to this event. The JCR Executive is always prepared to remove anyone from a bop who is dressed in a manner that may be deemed offensive.”He continued in support of LMH’s attitude to diversity, “The JCR Executive is proud that LMH is home to people of all races, genders, sexualities and faiths. “To this end, since the start of this academic year the Executive has sought to increase its representation of equality-related issues by creating a new Equalities Committee. LMH is proud to host ‘A World at LMH’ starting on February 20th – a weekend of events celebrating diversity at our College.”He also extended an apology to those who were offended by the evening’s theme, saying, “I would like to apologise on behalf of certain members of the JCR, who misinterpreted the theme, to all those who were offended by some of the costumes.”The LMH Social Secretaries declined to comment.The Arab Cultural Society reacted with dismay to the theme, issuing a statement saying, “To make ‘Arabian Nights’ a bop theme is not to celebrate genuinely another culture, but instead to reduce a diverse group of cultures into costumes. – represented in a manner which mocks and demeans them.“Oxford students should be aware that they stand in a historically and presently unequal power relation to the many peoples of the Arab world who do not have a voice in the West. This event is as inappropriate as a supposed black cultural event in which people black up or dress as ‘African tribals’.”Annie Teriba, a second year History and Politics student at Wadham, commented, “At a University which has such consistent problems with diversity, where several students of colour have reported that they have been made to feel othered, it is disappointing to see a racialised bop them and, yet again, an inability to treat PoC [People of Colour] identities with the respect that they deserve.“The role of cultural imperialism, the otherising and caricaturing of PoC identities and the justification of this as simply cultural exchange has played a central role in feeding the racism still experienced by Arabs and Muslims both in the West and on the other end of drone attacks.“It seems like harmless fun, but costumes like the one I saw reproduce and normalise those images. As I said to the Social Sec, it’s likely true that no one involved is a bad person but intentional or not, the effect remains the same.”last_img read more