Tejanos Are Pissed Over Austin Columbusing the Breakfast Taco
Matthew Sedacca did a very stupid thing…
A photo posted by Matthew Sedacca (@mattsedacca) on
Don’t know him? Don’t worry. I’ll fill ya in.
He’s the New York-based blogger behind the now very controversial piece for Eater Austin, “How Austin Became the Home of the Crucial Breakfast Taco.”
burritos 4 life pic.twitter.com/o6lbtKInv6
— Matthew Sedacca (@matthewlevine13) February 22, 2016
In his poorly misguided — and maybe troll-y? — piece, Sedacca argued that the phrase “breakfast taco” was first popularized in Austin, Texas and, as a result, the capital city could claim ownership. Unfortunately for Sedacca, this isn’t even true. Cue a crap-ton of backlash.
First came the accusations of whitewashing and cultural appropriation.
— Jane Vora (@janeeats) February 22, 2016
This was followed by claims that other places in Texas did breakfast tacos better…
— Corpus Christi Info (@AskVisitCCTX) February 24, 2016
@matthewlevine13 educate yourself please and come to the Rio Grande Valley, where breakfast tacos are so plentiful they're at gas stations.
— Chris Garza (@ChrisIsWrite) February 23, 2016
And finally, San Antonio residents started a Change.org petition asking Austin to banish Sedecca from Texas…forever.
So why is everyone SOOOOO pissed off at Sedacca?
First, Austin prides itself on being different from other Texas cities.
A photo posted by N. Hute (@cococadaver) on
Just look at their “Keep Austin Weird” motto. Also, thanks to its reputation for being the “live music capital of the world,” people — Austinites and non-Austinites alike — see it (rightly so, I might add) as the coolest city in Texas. As a result, cities like San Antonio really resent Austin.
Second, Austin is synonymous with gentrification.
The city’s recent rapid growth resulted in the gentrification of east Austin, the part of the city that’s been historically black and Latino thanks to a 1928 city plan that instituted a “separate but equal” division. By the city’s own admission, the influx of new people has displaced people of color from their historic homes, with Latinos pushed to the outskirts and the the black population dropping steadily.
Wait, what does this have to do with breakfast tacos? EVERYTHING!
Let’s turn to taco expert Mando Rayo, who literally wrote THE book on Austin breakfast tacos.
A photo posted by Mando Rayo (@armandorayo) on
“When people think of breakfast tacos, they don’t necessarily associate it with Mexicans or Mexican-Americans,” Rayo, a Latino consulting strategist who is working on another book about the tacos of Texas, told me. “The new Austin, the gentrifying tech bros, are all Colombusing everything, when you think of them, and the guy who wrote this piece, they’re definitely not people of color, and a a large part of what they’re doing is glossing over a culture and traditions that have been here for a long time.”
It’s precisely this whitewashing and cultural appropriation that has rubbed Latinos the wrong way.
A photo posted by Torchy's Tacos (@torchystacos) on
And, lbh, it’s also the fact that the breakfast tacos in Austin are mediocre at best, fam.
A photo posted by Nick Biasini (@zer0zefx) on
Straight up, I’m not saying that to be a jerk; I’m saying it as a Texas Native who grew up in the borderland region (shout out to the RGV!) and who spent nearly a decade living in Austin. Listen, Austin, no one doubts your obsession with breakfast tacos, but just because they’re everywhere doesn’t mean they’re actually good — especially when very few, if any Austin establishments, make their tortillas from scratch.
It is a well-known fact, outside the 512, that the best breakfast tacos in Texas will be found south of Austin’s city limits.
A photo posted by The Tacos of Texas (@tacosoftexas) on
So Austin, maybe tell your whack mayor to not get you into a war you can’t win.
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) February 27, 2016
You’re basically bringing a knife into a nuclear arms race.