Oxford Union admits it is ‘institutionally racist’ after cocktail row

3rd June, 2015 by Annie Hayes

The historic Oxford Union debating society has passed a motion declaring itself “institutionally racist” after it promoted a “Colonial Comeback” cocktail at an event last week.

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The cocktail is allegedly “symptomatic of a wider problem” of racism at the union

A meeting was held to address the issue of the offensive cocktail, which was advertised on a poster showing black hands in chains during a recent debate over Britain making reparations to former colonies.

During the meeting society treasurer Zuleyka Shahin proposed the motion, arguing that the cocktail was “symptomatic of a wider problem” of racism at the union.

Co-chair of the Campaign for Racial Awareness at Oxford University, Kiran Benipal, has reported that there was an “uncomfortable silence” before the motion was passed.
Union officers may now be sent to racial awareness workshops as a result.

Annie Teriba, from Oxford’s Black Students’ Union, told student paper Cherwell that the cocktail was “trivialising centuries of oppression”.

The Union’s Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) officer Esther Odejimi was “disgusted” by the poster, and has since resigned from her position.

She told Cherwell: “It’s clear that my role was just an act of political correctness and they had no intention to actually engage with the BME Rep position.”

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