Cultural appropriation at the Caf

For a liberal arts college boasting an educated populace and, more importantly, a caring community, the Buddha Bowl at the Commons Dining Hall is conspicuous in its impropriety. It is a cultural appropriation and simply inappropriate to name a dish after a religious figure.

The Buddha is the title given to one who has achieved enlightenment and who understands the Four Noble Truths in the religion of Buddhism. To name a dinner dish comprised merely of vegetables and grains after such a lofty religious state is a belittlement of the profound achievement itself and the arduous process required along the way.

Naming a dinner dish after a paramount figure in Christianity would be unacceptable here because the majority of the population of the College of William and Mary is Christian. However, as a caring and educated population, it is vital to respect all aspects of our community. That includes respect toward all minority groups who do not have the privilege of renown that majority groups have.

Buddhism is the world’s fourth largest religion. Though not very highly practiced in Williamsburg, Virginia, Buddhism is a part of our community and must be respected, just as we respect all other elements. The blatant cultural appropriation of the Buddha Bowl name is noticed and rejected by the campus community.

It is unnecessary, and a bit ridiculous, to bring religion into the name of a completely secular food dish.

Cultural insensitivity and appropriation is a pervasive issue on our campus as a whole, and it is a shameful act to blindly follow. In short, the name of the Buddha Bowl must be changed. But, the contents of the bowl are delicious, and most definitely should remain a healthy staple of the Caf.

If a dish at the Caf was named the “Jesus Bowl,” there would be an outcry, an uproar, a total reproaching of the system — and rightly so. No religion, culture or group should be subjected to insensitivity and appropriation. Such inappropriate acts are disgustingly prevalent in our society today.

It may seem to be an overwhelming problem: how can I help? How can I alone make the world a better place?

If you consider yourself a caring person, an intellectual, or if you have just read to this point in the article, it is imperative that you are made aware that you can make a difference. Email Dining Services. Voice your concerns to the administration. Actively petitioning to change the name of the Buddha Bowl is a vital first step on the path to ensuring a respectful campus environment for each and every member of our inspiring community here at the College of William and Mary — future home of healthy, secular, non-appropriating dinner bowls.

Email Sarah Malks at


  1. It appears that Taco Tuesdays should be out too along with Cinco de Mayo. Forget bratwurst and Oktoberfest too. Not to mention there should be no corned beef and cabbage nor beer on St. Patrick’s day as that too would be cultural denigration and appropriation.

    Seriously, is this what is taught at prestigious universities in the USA?

    • Read the article again, especially the portion that names an equivalent example denigrating christian religion (i.e. “Jesus bowl”). Your examples do not follow the arguments made in the article.

      • Really? Who died and made you arbiter of cultural appropriation?

        BTW: The examples in the article are amusing at best although they do show the absurdity of so-called cultural appropriation.

        • You put words in the writer’s mouth and then called those words ridiculous. Anyone with a basic education could see that naming a dish after a religious icon is very different from serving food from other traditions. It was the former the writer was finding unacceptable (making the point that many would be upset naming a dish “Jesus bowl”), not the latter. So next time, try not to project your misunderstanding and use it to twist another’s words to absurdity, otherwise don’t expect to be taken seriously.

          • I see now. Sorry, didn’t realize you were trying to score points with the author.

            BTW: I put no words in the writer’s mouth as they were not needed. You seem to forget that Progressives always denigrate Jesus so the writer wasn’t making a point but projecting her emotion and feelz.

          • Actually I thought the article should have discussed the author’s attempts to discuss the problem with the dining staff, which I would have hoped she would do before writing the article, but your comments are only turning people in the polar opposite direction from you as you can’t form a coherent argument.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here