Is a National Taco Day an insult? It is according to the Presente Organization. They sent out an email demanding that news anchor, Brian Kilmeade, apologize for assuming his Nicaraguan colleague, Maria Molina, knew about tacos. Presente states “not all Latinos grow up eating tacos. The idea that we do is just another harmful stereotype of Latino people and cultures.” They further called for an end to taco day. Yes, negative stereotypes and negative language should not be tolerated. However, I hesitate to put this in the same category. Is it realistic to expect people to understand the intricate nuances of every single Latin American country, their regional traditions, food preferences or their household routines.
My Abuelita and my Mother never made a taco, torta or a quesadilla. I don’t expect my colleagues to know this. I also didn’t grow up with tostones, ropa vieja, congri, mofongo, pupusas, or for that matter, biryani, pizza, or borscht but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them. If someone asked me for a recommendation I wouldn’t be insulted. I personally don’t find a taco day any more insulting than National Hot Dog day or Valentine’s Day which are used as marketing tools. As long as the government services don’t close for the day and there is no negative ramifications. For example, some people, or just mean kids, pinch you for not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. National Taco Day will not become Beat up Paco Day.
Presente further stated Kilmeade may not have intended to be hurtful but are asking for a public apology. In the past Presente took on the word “wetback” which is often used in a negative and hurtful manner. Are these two things in the same category? Does putting them in the same category denigrate the power of demanding respect in media language?
I personally don’t care for the word geek or nerd. They are historically used to insult and inflict pain. The business, Best Buy, uses the “Geek Squad” as a marketing ploy but no one in the store refers to fellow employees with that word nor do the customers use that word when referring to a person. There is a distinction between using the word geek and calling someone geek. The media occasionally uses the word geek, such as when reporting on the NSA Snowden leak. Vice President Biden recently stated he wasn’t a technology geek in reference to the healthcare website issues. They could easily and more accurately used the word analyst or expert but no one has called for an apology.
I was left wondering if we’re becoming a little too sensitive. National Nacho Day is November 6, let’s see if anyone is offended by this as well.