What is a good sign that an ethnic restaurant serves decent food? It’s when you walk into the place and you see people who might be native to that country. Well, a Mexican restaurant in South Carolina doesn’t seem to be aiming for that sort of legitimacy – at least if their uniform t-shirts are any indication. The t-shirts show an image of two tacos inside a box trap, with the caption, “How to catch an illegal immigrant.”
Not surprisingly for a Mexican restaurant that seems to abhor the culture from which it was conceived, it appears that the food is pretty awful too. Yelp gives the place one star and that’s only partly because of the racist t-shirts. Apparently the restaurant sends its customers home with the need to run somewhere a little closer than the border.
Despite the fact that since Obama has taken office, immigration is at a net zero, meaning that as many Mexicans are leaving or being deported as there are entering the country, many in the country seem to feel that immigration is one of the pressing issues of our time.
While a t-shirt in and of itself is no threat and the right to wear the racist t-shirt would almost certainly fall under the First Amendment (or at least it should), this prevailing attitude toward Latinos is dangerous. Hate crimes against those of Latino decent, even citizens of Latino decent, are prevalent.
It certainly doesn’t help when a Presidential candidate like Mitt Romney endorses a policy that makes lives so miserable for immigrants that they feel forced to “self deport.” There is absolutely no doubt that people would take that as a cue to help the process along, whether that means wearing insulting t-shirts or beating the crap out of anyone who seems like they might be undocumented.
Watch for things to get worse before they get better. As Congress debates immigration reform (if Congress debates immigration reform), it will still be seen as a wedge issue. Many in elected positions will race bait, blaming immigration for the fact that their constituents are un and under-employed instead of placing the blame where it belongs – on outsourcing, corporate tax policy and on 30 years of scapegoating the workers (aka labor).
For the time being, it looks like Taco Cid has no intentions on changing the uniforms. In fact, patrons – if you call people who eat at one star restaurants patrons – can buy the “clever” tee. If you’d like to buy a tee or if you’d just like to chat with the manager, you can call (803)-794-4008. No threats or harassment, please.
Wendy Gittleson is a seasoned writer, a dog lover and an avid political junkie. She is the Senior Editor for Addicting Info. In her rare down times, you’ll find her somewhere in the mountains or near the beach. Follow her on her Facebook page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson