Taquerias in Columbus Ohio

I read an article and was subtly offended by it but I didn’t have a way to articulate why. I’ve been thinking about the article since I read it on Thursday. Then today while driving to pick-up a friend of mine who hangs out with a lot of hipsters, it hit me. What would it be like if I picked up a Spanish language newspaper written by some Latinos who wrote of hipsters moving into their neighborhood and what they were like, and how they viewed their new neighbors and asked them what they thought of racism?

The article is about a photographer Alexandra Copley (her Taqueria blog), who currently has a photography exhibit of taco trailers around Columbus, Ohio. I want to make it clear, I am not offended by Alexandra Copley’s work. It is more that I have a sense of my people being displayed as other worldly as entertainment like zoo animals.

It reminds me of a night when I was hanging out with a bunch of international students from Latin America who were attending OSU, when some sorority girls stopped and seemed entertained at watching us play dominoes, share food, and speak in Spanish. One of the girls said excitedly “I feel like it’s Culture awareness night!” She didn’t mean it as offensive and she was a sweet enough person but it made me uncomfortable. This article gives me a similar feeling, as does the idea of the exhibit. What are the true thoughts of hipsters and yuppies who go that gallery? How do they actually view people of color? What do they gain from the exhibit?

One thought on “Taquerias in Columbus Ohio

  1. I think that any artwork that exoticizes a subject needs to be challenged… write a response/review/essay/letter presenting your concern. It is productive for you to voice your observation of this process and for the the artist to voice their intent (and think about any unconscious impulses).

    It is not an aggressive move on the critic’s part, but should be initiated in a spirit of play/dialogue/engagement.

    Any artist that has a problem with that should be viewed with suspicion and all artists should be willing to ponder their conscious/unconscious influences.

    As for the sorority girl. Her comments were offensive and there really wasn’t any excuse for what she said. I have been to Columbus many times and it is a diverse place (even if it is a bit segregated). Even if she was from the surrounding rural areas, she is attending OSU for crying out loud.

    I’m opposed to letting people play stupid ;)

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