"My culture is a very dominant culture. And it's imposing, and it's causing problems. If you don't do something about it, you're gonna have taco trucks every corner." - Marco Guttieriez, co-founder of Latinos for Trump
“I didn’t have to get a translator for anything that was going on at the RNC this week and I'm hoping I'm not going to have to start kind of brushing up on my ‘Dora the Explorer’ to understand some of the speeches given this week.” - Scottie Neale Hughes, official surrogate for Trump campaign
A specter is haunting every red blooded white nationalist of the good ol' USA. The future of the hearts and minds, stomachs and soul of a nation are up for grabs. Sound the alarms! Mexico is sending their taco trucks.
The rallying cry “Make America Great Again” is intrinsically tied to “Mexico will pay.” The notion of humiliating Mexico and Mexicans as a valve to release white resentment is at the heart of the Trump campaign. It is no accident that Trump gave his grand deportation speech in the state of Arizona, a state that has essentially legalized racially profiling as well as a ban on a long list of Latino books from being taught in classrooms.
The politics of Arizona and the southwest in general are going national. This is surprising to many political observers. However, when one follows the demographics it should come as no surprise at all. The population targeted by Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB1070, has gone national as well. Cities such as Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Detroit, Atlanta have all doubled or tripled their Latino populations over the past 20 years within the post NAFTA period. In this campaign election those sentiments solidified around the Trump candidacy and reflect the backlash of white nationalists against this demographic shift that the nation is experiencing as a whole.
In 2016 the notion that United States of America is becoming too Latino in general, and specifically too Mexican, animates much of the white nationalist movement. As shown clearly by Marco Gutierrez, one need not be white in order to be a white nationalist. A white nationalist is simply someone who wants to ensure the present and future of a white nation.
One of the most popular banners carried by the extreme white nationalist is the phrase 14 words. Those 14 words are "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." While most Trump supporters, would not go as far to describe themselves as white nationalists or want to be associated with such groups this sentiment is no different than Make America Great Again. When Scott Baio says at the RNC “Make America America again” he is echoing the 14 words. So do the warnings of Marco Gutierrez about a “taco truck on every corner.” And taco trucks to the white nationalist do present a clear and immediate danger. Because after all how truly white can a child be learning from Dora the explorer and being nourished by carne asada?
Fear of a taco truck nation is not about Trump. It is not about the wall. It is not about the border – it is about the future.
With the huge demographic shift underway, every aspect of U.S. American culture will be impacted. Mexican food is already among the most popular cuisines on the planet. It is not so much that Mexican culture is imposing as the fact that tacos are delicious.
It is something of a universal truth over fields and concrete of this green earth that the story of any given city is not only the story of the brick and mortar where the people work, play and build their lives. It is also the story of every footstep that brought those people there. It is the story of every footstep that came before them. Their history becomes the history of the ground they stand upon. So yes, the future is one of a taco truck on every corner, a soccer game in every bar and Spanglish in every home. That is going to happen. Deal with it. Because as the great Cuban singer Carlos Puebla sang “Soy del pueblo, pueblo soy, y adonde me lleva el pueblo voy.”
While you may not know what that means your children will. Dora just might teach them.
Matt Sedillo is a poet, worker and artist living in Los Angeles. A two-time national slam poet, grand slam champion of the Damn Slam Los Angeles 2011 and the author of For What I Might Do Tomorrow published by Caza De Poesia 2010. His poetry has been published in anthologies alongside the likes of such literary giants as Amiri Baraka, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Hircshman and Luis Rodriguez.