This Taqueria Faces Severe Backlash After It Names Tacos Like ‘The Wall’, ‘Lock Her Up’ And ‘The Immigrant’
We’ve all heard the divisive and hateful rhetoric that’s come out of not only Trump’s mouth but, really, from pretty much the entire administration. From ‘the wall’ to ‘lock her up’ and ‘the immigrant’, never have so many words so quickly entered the mainstream lexicon.
And yea, many of those words don’t carry any hateful or racist meaning by themselves. But when taken in context, they have been used to belittle and straight up attack entire communities.
So when news broke out that a restaurant in New Mexico has plastered a whole bunch of these words all over their menu, many were left scratching their heads.
A restaurant in New Mexico with a menu full of foods bearing politically charged names is giving the internet something to taco ‘bout.
The Urban Taqueria, which recently opened in Albuquerque, offers customers a range of burritos boasting names like “Lock her Up” and “The Wall” as well as tacos that have been dubbed “Bad Hombre” and “The Immigrant.”
The owner of the eatery, Hanif Mohamed, denied he was trying to spark controversy with the menu names — seemingly inspired by President Trump’s rhetoric. Instead, Mohamed said he hoped it would prompt conversation during a particularly polarizing time in American history.
And with names like ‘Bad Hombre’, ‘The Wall’, and ‘The Immigrant’ we aren’t too surprised.
In an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, Mohamed, a native of Kenya who immigrated to the US in 1992, said “When I created the menu two-and-half-years ago, we had the ban on Muslims. My kids asked me, ‘Are we American or Muslim?’” The menu, he decided, covered all subject matter.
The offerings are not meant to insult his customers, says Mohamed. In fact, he says they’re a “conversation starter” and educational by nature.
“Outsourced,” a taco with tandoori chicken, raita, tamarind salsa, alludes to the U.S. practice of outsourcing jobs to India, while “The Immigrant,” a vegan taco with organic green chile and fried potatoes, represents Irish refugees fleeing the Potato Famine in the 1800s.
The owner, an immigrant himself, claims that “99%” of people haven’t had any issue with his menu.
“Ninety-nine percent of the people who walk in, more than 99 percent, don’t seem to have an issue with it,” Hanif Mohamed, owner of Urban Taqueria, told KOAT. “The menu’s not designed to insult people or hurt people, but it’s just meant to keep the conversation going as to what’s happening around us.”
Some locals have disagreed with Mohamed’s view on the menu.
“The way things are right now. It’s not good,” Juan Hernandez told KOAT. “We need to have respect for others and have limits.”
University of New Mexico professor Patricia Perea added: “It seems fun, it seems like you can make fun of this and maybe make it lighthearted, but you really can’t, you’re offending a whole community.
“It’s normalizing the terms and potentially turning them into funny or humorous terms, and the more that you do that, the more likely people are to repeat them and perhaps forget the contexts in which they were said.”
But there were many people who supported the menu choice as well.
Others disagreed and said the restaurant was just making a brave choice with their names. “To me it’s not offensive,” Christy Garcia told KOAT. “I just think it’s interesting that they decided to be so bold with the names.”
The restaurant and its menu has received positive reviews online. “Awesome menu names!!!! Love the creativity! Don’t cave to those so easily offended. They can simply choose not to eat there,” wrote Amber Atchley Cokins in a review on Facebook.
“Great food, and atmosphere. Customer service is good. Love the names of the dishes,” added Autumn Blake.
And as one Twitter user pointed out, maybe this was all just a successful marketing gimmick.
But we’ll be the first to point out that no business should ever use the trauma and hate experienced by a community as a marketing ploy. The words on this restaurant’s menu have been used to demean and attack minority communities, but especially Latinos.