Is a business being culturally insensitive for having a Taco Tuesday event? What if it hires mariachis dressed in sombreros, as many bars and restaurants do? Is it
Since December 1, LauderAle Brewery has been hosting a weekly Taco Tuesday that promotes $3 beers and $1 off tacos from Nacho Bizness food truck. The five events so far have been promoted on social media throughout the month and featured live mariachi bands.
It's not uncommon for businesses to have these types or promotions to get customers inside their doors. Even Mexican restaurants offer taco discounts on Tuesdays, because who doesn't love alliteration? And in sunny South Florida, mariachis are almost as common as in the Southwest.
But on December 29, a commenter posted a complaint on LauderAle's Instagram page. It seemed to be the brewery's use of mariachi music to represent Mexican culture that triggered a critical remark from Instagram user Jerrygallegosjaquez, who suggested LauderAle explore other — perhaps less stereotypical — genres of Mexican music:
The Mexican culture is so vast and rich yet you continue to have mariachis represent your taco Tuesday? It just seems a little odd that you would use the most stereo typical image of being Mexican in America. I'm not being too sensitive here. All im saying is if you are serious about celebrating Mexico on taco Tuesday's why not display the Zapotec traditions, the sound of jarocho, or norteno music versus having el mariachi visit you every Tuesday ? I'll be honest with you. Have a Ramon Ayala or los cojolites taco Tuesday night and I'll be there.
New Times' attempts to reach out to
"Basically, what he said is that mariachi is a bad representation," Jones says. "We reached out, but he never responded."
On the Instagram page, the brewery itself responded that it wasn't celebrating Mexico but rather "American Craft Tacos & American Craft Beer."
LauderAle is not the first business to run into trouble for hosting a Taco Tuesday event, although the brewery never received the type of scorn other businesses did for their events.
In September 2014, California State University-Fullerton placed sanctions on Alpha Delta Pi after the sorority threw a Taco Tuesday where students wore sombreros and other "culturally insensitive attire," the Daily Titan reported.
Two months later, Dave & Busters came under fire on Twitter for a "racist" Taco Tuesday tweet in which the company used a meme "'I hate tacos,' said no Juan ever" that some regarded as racist, according to the Post-Standard in Syracuse, New York. Within minutes, numerous Twitter users lashed out with a barrage of sarcastic and condemning responses.
Indeed, some historians say that mariachi music has roots in 9th Century Jalisco — in Mexico — where Afro-Latin music called son was played.That music is, of course not particularly Mexican. It is celebrated in the famed Ry Cooder film, Buena Vista Social Club, which describes son in Cuba. .
Jones tells New Times that the event wasn't meant to be insensitive and agrees that there's more to Mexican music than mariachi. But whoever jerrygallegosjaquez is, Jones doesn't believe he/she has ever been to his brewery and shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
"We try to please everybody, but it's impossible," Jones says.
LauderAle Brewery is located at 3305 SE 14th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-653-9711, or visit lauderale.com.