Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

‘Flag food’ raises question of political correctness’ boundaries

Some people today feel such a need to be politically correct that it sometimes sickens me to see how they can find something wrong in almost any online article or video. Take for example an article from the website thisismarvelous.com that offered several photographs from the Sydney International Food Festival depicting various countries’ flags made from these countries’ traditional foods. An Italian flag made out of pasta, tomatoes and basil; a Japanese flag made out of rice and tuna—you get the idea. However, if you were to scroll down past the photographs and peruse some of the comments below, you would find passionate cries of racism and anti-Semitism within the top few comments. A New York University student commented that none of the photographed flags were flags from an African country, and a Johns Hopkins student commented that the Israeli flag was absent from these photographs.

What I don’t understand is how these students could truly have thought that the author of the post had malicious intent and purposely not included any African flags or the Israeli flag. The blog was about food, for crying out loud! The post did not say that the flags from every country in the world were going to be displayed, so why get upset if certain countries were not included? A key statement to point out that most people (including myself) missed the first time they read the article was that the introduction stated that these flags were designed using “foods each country is commonly associated with” and, additionally, “that would also match the colors of the flag.” Can you name me a traditional Israeli food that is the color blue? Or traditional Tanzanian foods that are either blue or black? I know that college students can be the most liberal of the liberals, but it is ridiculous that an article that nobody would intuitively think is a political statement has suddenly become one.

Putting aside the fact that these comments were posted, a better question to pose would be why students feel the need to seek out things that are politically incorrect. The time of most of our parents was a time of upheaval and discord, and I feel that our generation is seeking to restore the order that was not necessarily present 30 or 40 years ago. In addition, we seek to prove that we are more civilized than our parents’ generation, which was shrouded in prejudice and discrimination. While this is completely valid for titles that could be considered “overtly discriminatory” such as the names of a certain Washington, D.C., football team and a certain Ohio baseball team, it seems that people today are on a perpetual witch-hunt for a faux pas.

Benjamin Franklin once said that “if all Printers were determin’d not to print any thing till they were sure it would offend no body, there would be very little printed.” The author of this blog post was not trying to offend anyone; he or she was just trying to show the artwork of these flag designs. The re-postings of this article that I saw on Facebook had comments such as “look how cool this is!” and not “look how shameful this is!” In my opinion, the most poignant comment on this article was the one that belonging to a woman from Dubai, who stated, “Instead of asking where your country is, make one and show pride in your country!!” It currently is the top comment with the most “likes.”

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878