Professor Urges Students To Use Deodorant -- Was The Controversial Email Racist?

A Houston's professor sent an email urging some students to be more attentive to matters like body odor. A few blasted him as a racist. Is this the case?

Professor Urges Students To Use Deodorant -- Was The Controversial Email Racist?358
source: Young Men's Health

An unnamed professor of engineering at the University of Houston, who wanted to give a lesson on body odor and personal hygiene, is facing significant backlash from school officials and students.

The professor has sparked a debate on whether or not it is appropriate to address BO-related issues and is it racist for specific cultures be singled out in the conversation.

The scholar shared a lengthy email that mainly targeted Indian and other Southeast Asian students based on the fact that they "use a lot of spices" and do not "change their shirts every day."

He went on to advise the students to do like many Americans -- shower twice daily to avoid smelling like spice and sweat.

The professor began his letter that was sent out to all graduate students with: “People from different parts of the world have different food habits, and many Americans do enjoy ethnic foods. People from India use lots of spices, and people from other Southeast Asian countries use a lot of garlic which has lots of health benefits. However, there is one problem. The body odor due to the consumption of these foods becomes strong.”

The letter went on to explain why some clothing items like shirts need to be washed often: “The shirt may not look dirty but has absorbed one's body odor after wearing it the whole day. To make matters worse, Houston is very hot and humid most of the year, and the sweat from our body adds to the odor problem further.”

 According to the scientist: “Most Americans shower twice daily once in the morning and once before going to bed. you do eat spicy/garlicky food, and please use mouth wash.”

In the letter, the professor went on to give a few solutions to avoid smelling bad -- he told students to use deodorant or light perfume and to thoroughly shower before attending class.

Some students say the professor's letter was well intended while others called him a racist.

The university declined to reveal the name of the professor, but they said in a statement that while personal hygiene is “a sensitive topic,” they believe the email was shared with the intentions of helping students avoiding a "potentially embarrassing or awkward situation."