Let’s Taco Bout Cultural Sensitivity

Let’s Taco Bout Cultural Sensitivity

ANANYA BASHYAM

Austin prides itself on its breakfast tacos, and its apparent coining of the phrase “breakfast taco”, and its residents can often be found insisting on its role at the very top of the Austin food hierarchy. Why? Aside from the fact that breakfast food is objectively the best kind of food, breakfast tacos are cheap, simple, and most importantly, universalizing, bringing people and cultures together.

However, in recent years, the cultural crossover that Austin breakfast taco enthusiasts once so proudly flaunted has become a point of controversy (one may even say, a food fight). More and more, critics are taking offense to the notion that Austin holds the title of “home of the breakfast taco”, asserting that this publicizes an Austin-centric, whitewashed version of the taco’s history-- essentially diminishing the dish’s true roots.

This is made more controversial when we consider Austin’s population: only 35% of Austinites share a Hispanic or Latino background, insinuating further that any overarching Austinite opinion may be riddled with underlying ethnocentrism. With these views, it’s easy to see why some may be offended by a mostly-white city priding itself as being the origin of a dish that has historically held-- and still holds-- strong cultural roots for its root minority groups, but has now become commercialized to better suit mainstream society.

The breakfast taco is, in itself, a diverse dish, both in terms of ingredient and history. Over the years, it has been touched on and modified by a vast variety of people and places, each one providing personalization to bring it a little closer to home.  As a wise man once said, “A taco is a reflection of its time and place”. However, the breakfast taco is so much more than just a breakfast taco; in reality, it represents a rich culture-- one that should be respected and maintained.

Yet, above all, we can still find comfort in the fact that, despite cultural context, all breakfast tacos will inevitably find their humble end in the same place: my digestive system.

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