Occupy the Food Truck
Then there are the silly stories that make you say, just exactly what were they thinking?
Occupy DC has taken on a new enemy. Is it a Wall Street bank? An evil corporation? No, it’s…a food truck.
Yes, that’s right. A food truck.
The Fojol Bros food trucks are a staple in DC. They have three food trucks that claim to hail from imaginary lands such as Merlindia and are meant to evoke a circus like, carnival atmosphere of fun and laughter. They serve very popular fare that includes Thai, Indian and Ethiopian kinds of food.
Some Occupy DC members were so offended by what they saw as the “racist” caricature of the operation, they began a campaign against the Fojol Brothers, attacking them on Facebook, calling them “racist” on multiple photos. They started an online petition against the company. One of them, Drew Franklin, wrote an “Open Letter to the “Fojol” Bro-dawgs” which begain “Dear Idiots” and which included the following:
I kid, of course. I don’t need to ruminate on the nuances of cultural sensitivity to act like a decent human being, but it seems you do. Do understand that by accusing you of hipster racism, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. I’m taking for granted that you’re just well-meaning (if woefully misguided) white boys with a contemptible sense of humor. See, if I were the pessimistic type, I’d say instead that you’re a bunch of callous opportunists banking off the ever profitable enterprise that is Western Orientalism, exploiting DC’s growing vanilla consumer base–after all, with the recent influx of smirking, entitled young bohemians around these parts, there’s certainly no shortage of monied ignoramuses eager to drop cash on any mediocre product if it’s quirky or exotic enough. But I don’t believe you’re that clever.
In any case, whether your shtick is informed by boneheaded obliviousness or a cynical marketing strategy, it’s not cool. Seriously. Rather, it’s decidedly uncool, and unacceptable, and the fact that your business’s regrettable existence has gotten a pass for this long is an embarrassment to my city. Find a new gimmick, or else please set that ugly tin wagon on fire and drive it into the Potomac. Dicks.
A White Boy Who Don’t Play That Shit
*[Edit: This letter originally included the term “goombas”, which was meant to refer to the Nintendo character. Someone has pointed out that this is a derogatory term for Italian-Americans. I apologize, and have changed it to “goons”. – 5/17/12]
In addition to the “goomba” reference which he later excised, Mr. Franklin appears not to notice the other offensive things one could pick out of his letter if one were inclined. Calling white people “vanilla”, for example. Also, Mr Franklin, in supposedly defending against alleged racism against Asians, you use the term “Orientalism”, which is meant to refers to objects and not people, and is a Eurocentric term, which some Asians actually find offensive. I’m also offended by your usage of the term “a white boy who don’t play that shit” and “bro dawgs”. I think that you are deliberately trying to fake speech. I find that offensive.
Racism is a real issue. It doesn’t need to be found in imaginary characters on a food truck that was created without intent to harm anyone or sell any kind of invective.
It’s called imagination and fun, guys.
As it turns out the “white boys” of Fojol Brothers include women and people of color. As anyone can see from their pictures, they have a multi-ethnic team. A portion of their proceeds go to help at risk youth in DC.
But I guess that wouldn’t fit Occupy DC’s tale of the evil “white boys”.