Florida county under fire for using dancing taco to mark Hispanic heritage month

‘Broward has a lot of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Central Americans, and Colombians, and for those groups, a taco is just as foreign as any other food from another country’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 16 September 2021 21:39
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Related video: Facts About Hispanic Heritage Month

The county government in Broward, Florida has come under fire after posting a dancing taco gif on its Twitter and Facebook accounts to mark the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The gif of the dancing taco topped with what appears to be sour or whipped cream and holding a pair of maracas was removed after four hours and replaced with a new post noting that the heritage month lasts from 15 September to 15 October, but without the image of the taco.

“A dancing taco is not representative of the Hispanic community and should not have been associated with the annual celebration. It was not our intention to offend anyone with our previous post, but rather acknowledge National Hispanic Heritage Month in a celebratory way,” the assistant director for Broward County’s Office of Public Communications, Gregory Meyer, told The Maimi New Times in an email.

”We are proud of the County’s Hispanic community and everything they’ve accomplished. The employee has been counselled regarding sensitivity to all cultures.”

Out of the almost two million people who live in Broward County, around 31 per cent are Hispanic, according to the US Census Bureau.

Figures from 2017 show that within the Hispanic community in the county, seven per cent are of Mexican descent, with 36 per cent having South American ancestry – the county doesn’t show specific countries for this group. Cubans make up 19 per cent of the group, 17 per cent have Puerto Rican heritage.

Twitter users were quick to mock the insensitive misstep after a screenshot of the Facebook post was shared on the platform on Wednesday.

“The most offensive thing about this is that it’s a hard shell taco,” José Alonso Muñoz tweeted.

“Besides the obvious racist cringe factor here, I have questions about the contents of this illustrated taco,” Miami Herald reporter Ben Conarck wrote.

Evelyn Pérez-Verdía, an adviser on Latino issues for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, told The Miami New Times: “There’s so much to highlight and to see a taco with maracas being what they think of is really shocking.”

The Communications Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Adriana Rivera, told the paper: “My reaction was, ‘WTF. Are you serious, Broward County?’ I was trying to figure out if this was real or photoshopped. Why would anyone publish this?”

“Broward has a lot of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Central Americans, and Colombians, and for those groups, a taco is just as foreign as any other food from another country. Plus, this isn’t Mexican Heritage month,” she added.

Ms Rivera compared the posts to former President Donald Trump’s Cinco de Mayo post in 2016, in which he eats a taco bowl.

“Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!” he wrote at the time, prompting many to note that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence and not Hispanic heritage, and that taco bowls aren’t Mexican.

“It is so sad that it’s funny. It is really so completely disconnected that I honestly would be glad to give them the first advice,” Ms Pérez-Verdía told The Miami New Times.

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