Chipotle Now Says It Tried to Invite Latino Authors for Its "Cultivating Thought" Bag-and-Cup Series: UPDATE


Thumbnail image for chipotlegraffiti.jpg
Photo by the Mexican
Chipotle thinks graffiti is art...but not Mexican writers

I see this as an unfortunate pattern, an inability to recognize the contributions of Mexican Americans as public intellectuals equal to the ones chosen for this series. We can inspire the food, create the food, plant the food, pick the food, serve the food, clear the food, clean up after it's all over...but that's about it. When I saw the story today, I went to read it with hope, with an expectation built on what Chipotle advertises itself as--thoughtful, mildly progressive--and also, I should say with the clear knowledge of what this kind of program is and is not (there are much greater injustices and omissions in the world today)--but I did imagine I'd find at least one Mexican American. Just one.

It reminds me of the phenomenon Ralph Ellison wrote about so well in Invisible Man:"I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me." In the book the narrator talks about how, "He was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I've tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied." (Gustavo note: You KNOW folks are going to dismiss the efforts of Alvarez and Espinoza as whining Mexicans for their efforts...)

Mexican Americans are today's version of Ellison's "Invisible Man" and we've been that way for a long time for many reasons... This is just a tiny example. Dagoberto Gilb is very eloquent on this subject and I have gone on too long...

Or, if you want something more succinct from Alvarez, try this: "I just wonder if this subject ever came up in the room, you know what I mean?"

UPDATE, MAY 23, 7:03 A.M.: This controversy is slooooowly getting national traction, with the usual "we don't see color" or "fucking whiny Mexicans" dismissals by critics, as you can read in the comments below. But, hey haters: Chipotle is changing its story faster than one of its burritos collapsing through its gummy flour tortilla.

Cultivating Invisibility: Chipotle's Missing Mexicans has an email from a Chipotle rep telling a critic, "It would be pretty awesome to have some Mexican-American or Latino authors included. We'll keep that in mind in the future, should we continue this campaign!" The implication is that Chipotle never bothered to think of the possibility that maybe there were Latino authors out there.

But earlier this week, a Chipotle rep told the press that the company had indeed invited Latino authors--and they said no.

"To get the slate of 10 authors we currently have, we reached out to a diverse pool of more than 40 writers that included Latino authors," Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold said. "Many more authors declined our request to submit a piece than accepted, including well known Latino writers."

Likely story, right? Maybe some Xicano authors out there would reject the chance to be on cups out of principle--but they wouldn't be on the radars of most readers, let alone Chipotle. I'm more inclined to side with essayist Michele Serros, who told Fox News Latino. "Chipotle's response that they 'reached out' to 'more than 40 writers that included Latino authors' is suspect. Our literary community has heard nothing of this so-called outreach to Latino authors."

So where are you, rejected authors? I'll buy you a burrito de al pastor from Taquería Tapatía if you step forward!

Oh, and a special shoutout to syndicated columnist Esther J. Cepeda, who fashions herself the female version of Ruben Navarette with her laughable, contrarian dribble. She recently wrote a column deriding Chipotle critics, whining about "upset Mexicans" and offering this gem to us: "Why not instead vow to become voracious readers, arbiters of contemporary literature, and drivers of book sales out of all proportion to the Hispanic percentage of the U.S. population?"

¡Tan pendeja! Cepeda, like most columnists, didn't do her research and thus didn't realize that the creators of Cultivating Invisibility, Irvine Valley College professor Lisa Alvarez and Fresno State's Alex Espinoza, have essentially spent their lives creating authors and readers out of non-traditional students, especially of the Latino variety. But the coup d'grace follows, when Cepeda challenges those critics to "actively cultivate...authors notable for the beauty of their words or the power of their journalism and not simply for their racial or ethnic backgrounds."

In other words, writers who aren't like Cepeda.

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My Voice Nation Help
211 comments
WhiteyAlmighty
WhiteyAlmighty

I have a question for the pocho author of this piece: What does this have to do with Orange County?

Perhaps this article is better suited for a Latino Activist publication, ¿no?

PaulyWalnuts
PaulyWalnuts

Viva Chipotle! Bunch of haters opinions :)

David Tor Rom
David Tor Rom

I'll write for them. "This cup used to be a toilet paper" Enjoy your burrito, Cabron!

Francisco J Zuniga
Francisco J Zuniga

I went to Chipotle one time...me agarró Chole de la mano y con mucha furia!Never again will eat that crap.

Martin Rosas
Martin Rosas

Its a type of food that strives for Mexican food. But it's waaay to fake. I should know. I'm a professional cook. And that my friend. Isn't Mexican food

Jeff Rey
Jeff Rey

theyre racist and stupid and i hope they go outa business fast

Cecilia Gomez
Cecilia Gomez

Authentic Mexican food is sold in Santa Ana and cooked/ served by people who most likely speak Spanish only....And THEIR food is DELICIOUS!!!

jamielynnsandoval
jamielynnsandoval

I didn't know Chipotle was supposed to be Mexican food... Therefore, I care not.

Gus_has_some_hanglo
Gus_has_some_hanglo

Good lord. i can't imagine a hamburger stand in mexico getting a bitchfest like this. Mexico is sooooo freekin' insecure.

Chuy Galvan
Chuy Galvan

All you posers like to do is complain....you sound like white supremists.

Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert

Not a law, juz some RESPECT and knowledge of the food, and training, cUz some food doesn't have a recipe, and passed on juz from doing as older generations!

Max Walter
Max Walter

i am for sure past my chipotle phase. its still another option, though. they are always in the media, its crazy. who cares about their cups? just like the taco bell sauce packets. its cute in the restaurant but who needs to hear about them

Susan Garcia
Susan Garcia

No it's not real mexican food..If white people open a mexican resturant it's not mexican food

Susan Garcia
Susan Garcia

Chipolte Mexican Grill is not mexican food yuck, I rather make my own real mexican food

Barry McPhee
Barry McPhee

Bring a Mexican book to read while you eat. Simple

foxflores
foxflores

Burrito de al pastor!! Taqueria Tapatia! Now That's a real burro!

Rick Hale
Rick Hale

"Tried" to invite? Either you invite or you don't invite.

Beatriz Torres
Beatriz Torres

Went to Chipotle one time and let me just say that that was my last time. Nasty!

Adiel Hernandez
Adiel Hernandez

There should be a law for governments not to mock or use a culture

Julio Saenz
Julio Saenz

All this chipotle talk has me hungry.

downtownbrown
downtownbrown

So Chipotle beat the mexis at their own game.  Now they have their chonis in a twist because their literary heritage wasn't honored.  Oh pobrecitosI'll go read some Mario Vargas Llosa while cursing dawhiteman, ang chomping down on some (white made) burritos.  Satisfecho?

JF Mmonnttess
JF Mmonnttess

I cant even imagine a mexican place using the chipotle-mamadas-method to cook where everything has to be perfectly chopped etc. they think they're hot stuff and some people that just like stuffing themselves will pay their price.

JF Mmonnttess
JF Mmonnttess

Easy cuz chipotle is NOT mexican food. Its a fancier taco bell at its best.

Janina Uhmm
Janina Uhmm

Did the invitation come on burro o que?

Jesus Archuleta
Jesus Archuleta

Dang bro give it a rest already I go to Chipotle y que

Marie Dixon
Marie Dixon

That would be torture for the rest of the world. Some people have to cook and don't have friends inviting them over for the good stuff.

Fred Bluedog
Fred Bluedog

Nevermind these heretics, Gustavo. I for one will boycott Chipotle. Please continue your unapologetic rants and crusade against the matrix-system that is turning Mexican-American culture into some kind of pop art for the masses. I for one like my heritage unwashed, uncleaned and unpampered.

Noe Martinez
Noe Martinez

We should have a law that if your not mexican descent you are not to cook any type of mexican food.

David Joseph Tuck
David Joseph Tuck

Chipotle ain't even latino whats the point? thats like me being butt hurt that taco bell uses english on their menus

lisamfletcher
lisamfletcher

So nothing to write about today? This is a space filler because it is a really dumb thing to whine about. Do we really care about who gets printed on a disposable cup? Is being omitted from such a cup a slap in the face? I think it's a blessing.

Francisco Gr
Francisco Gr

I said it once quien chingados needs chipotle here in santanaheim Alebrijes" rifa y no se andan con mamadas!!!

Frank Zamora
Frank Zamora

Maybe no Latino/Mexican Writer even wanted to be associated with Chipotle, ever think of that. My Son is a writer and he said he would never put his name or writings on ANY Chipotle advertising.

Gerard Iribe
Gerard Iribe

The race card is not being played. It's more of the IRONIC card. Chipotle is a lame franchise that promotes their version of "Mexican" food. To not include Mexican/Latino writers is kind of weird, right? You don't see that? It's pretty transparent.

Gerard Iribe
Gerard Iribe

Well, what does Chipotle try to represent? They're faux MEXICAN food. Now if they were an empanada joint or served platano maduro then we could talk about Argentina and PR.

Justin Bastiaannet
Justin Bastiaannet

It's fucking fast food people. Who cares. Burritos are barely a representation of Latino culture at all anyhow. I don't see anyone bitching about the lack of Latino influence at Taco Bell. There's nothing to see here. Move along.

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