Lena Dunham has spoken out in support of her old college, where students are protesting the use of “culturally appropriated food” like sushi in its dining halls.
The Girls creator graduated from Oberlin College, a small liberal arts school, in 2008. In a recent interview with Food & Wine magazine, Dunham called out the “insensitive” use of Japanese food in her alma mater’s canteens.
“There are now big conversations at Oberlin, where I went to college, about cultural appropriation and whether the dining hall sushi and banh mi disrespect certain cuisines. The press reported it as, ‘How crazy are Oberlin kids?’ But to me, it was actually, ‘Right on,’” Dunham said.
Students at the Ohio-based University began protesting in November about the cuisine served to them, which was sarcastically mocked by the New York Post at the time as "gastronomically correct". College residents – some international students – pointed to the inauthentic use of food, where sushi rice was undercooked and facets of Vietnamese and Japanese foodstuffs were made in a “disrespectful” manner.
Clover Lihn Tran wrote in The Oberlin Review that Bon Appétit, the food service vendor, “has a history of blurring the line between culinary diversity and cultural appropriation by modifying the recipes without respect for certain Asian countries’ cuisines. This uninformed representation of cultural dishes has been noted by a multitude of students, many of who have expressed concern over the gross manipulation of traditional recipes.”