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75 per cent reject Sheffield SU calling sombreros ‘racist’, poll finds

‘It made me choke on my burrito’


Three quarters of Tab readers have come out against Sheffield SU's claim that sombreros are racist.

The Uni of Sheffield Students' Union sparked uproar this week when The Sheffield Tab revealed bosses had effectively outlawed the popular Mexican hat on nights out, in strict new rules waging war on fancy dress.

It prompted a national backlash on Friday as Mexican students and the wider public ridiculed SU officers' declaration that sombreros "culturally appropriate" Mexico so could be racist.

The Tab Sheffield decided to put it to the people, polling more than 140 students on our Instagram – and they have spoken loud and clear.

When asked if they find sombreros "offensive", 76 per cent of 142 mostly student readers responded with "no".

A further 76 per cent said they rejected Sheffield SU's guidance warning against sombreros in fancy dress costumes.

They join criticism from the Mexican student community in Sheffield, who told The Tab Sheffield that they found no offence or racism in people wearing sombreros.

"Sombreros are part of Mexico's past and that is why I am proud that foreigners wear them since they do not, it reflects no bad stereotype, it's just a hat," said Memo Maldonado, an MSc Manufacturing Technology student.

Alex Garcia said on Facebook: "As a Mexican I can legit say fuck this shit."

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The posters put up around the SU

The clampdown on fun allows SU security to challenge any costume that could be perceived as "mocking or demeaning another person's race, culture or disability".

A series of new posters have been made in collaboration with the SU's BME committee, with one, picturing a sombrero as an example of cultural appropriation, stating: "My culture is not your costume."

Another of the posters, pinned up around the SU building, depicts a T-shirt with "Insane Asylum Inmate" written on it, adding: "My disability, impairment, condition or illness is not your costume."

Others took to mocking and ridiculing the move. The Daily Star led with The Tab Sheffield's story on its front page on Friday, with the national paper adding in an editorial: "It's enough to make you choke on your burrito."

The Sun called the Sheffield SU officers behind the edict "party-poopers", with The Times, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail also picking up our story.

The scheme follows new advice issued to SU's nationwide by the National Union of Students, which urges staff to tackle all Halloween costumes that "perpetuate negative stereotypes".

It follows similar controversy in early October when the institution held meetings to discuss how to tackle racism – but banned white students from attending.

SU women's officer Rosa Tully defended the new rules, saying: "It aims to encourage students to question the common practice of cultural appropriation in Halloween costumes and celebrations."