Earlier this year, students at ultra-liberal Oberlin College in Ohio protested that the school was "insensitive" for serving "culturally appropriated" food, like sushi and banh mi sandwiches, in the dining hall. And now Oberlin alumni Lena Dunham has weighed in on the students vs. sushi debate, and–surprise!–she's taking the students' side.
"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," said the Girls star in an interview with Food & Wine. " The press reported it as, 'How crazy are Oberlin kids?' But to me, it was actually, 'Right on.'"
This is not exactly a curve ball. Dunham, 30, is known for being politically outspoken, and has taken a strong stance on everything from feminism (she's for it) to Photoshopping (against it) to #FreeKesha (definitely for it).
But can food really oppress people? Students at Oberlin thought so when they complained to the school paper and then protested on campus last November. “The undercooked rice and lack of fresh fish is disrespectful,” wrote Tomoyo Joshi, a junior from Japan. “When you’re cooking a country’s dish for other people, including ones who have never tried the original dish before, you’re also representing the meaning of the dish as well as its culture. So if people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as ‘authentic,’ it is appropriative.”