Students at Clare College in Cambridge are objecting to an “Orient Express” themed party on the grounds that it’s racist, “toxic,” “gross,” and perpetuates tourist privilege.
“The vibe they are going for with the Orient Express is white people traveling in first class on a train, visiting ‘exotic’ places with the inherent sense of privilege that comes from being a rich tourist . . . it’s going to be a white presentation of these places they’re trying to represent, full of stereotypes, which is erasing and gross,” student Ploy Kingchatchaval told the Sunday Times, according to an article in the Telegraph.
According to The Daily Mail, the school was promoting the party — believe it or not — not as a racism-themed event, but one of “romance and adventure” where “the sights, sounds, and smells of this love letter to luxury travel will blend seamlessly.”
But Kingchatchaval doesn’t buy it. In fact, he insists that the school was “clearly” trying to be offensive on purpose:
“They clearly didn’t intend for it to be about travel because Orient is such a loaded term,” he said.
#share#“Orient Express” is hardly the only party theme that Cambridge kids have objected to recently. According to the Telegraph, a number of its students have also been complaining about a “Tokyo to Kyoto” themed event — one intended to “celebrate the diversity of world culture” — on the grounds that it was “enforcing stereotypes.”
What’s more, an “Around the World in 80 Days” themed party was actually canceled because students freaked out that it might encourage “cultural appropriation:”
#related#“The most appropriate action is to beak with the tradition of reusing finalists’ first fresher BOP theme,” the school’s Junior Parlour Committee said in an e-mail to the school. “Instead we are using an alternative theme, to avoid the potential for offence to be caused by the theme ‘Around the World in 80 Days.’”
Some (sane) students, however, thought that the cancelation was not only ridiculous, but also far more offensive than the theme itself:
“Those in favour of the original theme claimed that ‘deliberately changing the theme implies the student body isn’t capable of dressing appropriately by itself,’” student Shani Wijetilaka told the Tab, according to the Telegraph.