Will someone please just direct Amanda Marcotte to a Cultural Sensitivity 101 class? After a couple of very recent fiascos on the WOC/feminist blogosphere, you’d think the woman would think twice before writing about anything having to do with people of color, no?
Earlier this week, Marcotte published an article titled Birth Control “Options:” Like Tex-Mex?
In Texas, we make cracks about how the diversity of the cuisine called Tex-Mex is an illusion: it’s all rice, beans, cheese, meat, tortillas and chilis, and you just call it different names depending upon how you roll it. That’s fine if you like those ingredients, but if you don’t like tortillas, for instance, you won’t find much to eat in Tex-Mex.
Women seeking a contraceptive method that’s effective, reversible, and doesn’t require you to fiddle with devices in the middle of a sexual encounter seem to have a myriad of options: the pill, the patch, shots, implanted devices, cervical rings. But like with Tex-Mex, it’s all the same thing, just called different names depending upon how you roll it. All these methods are variations on the original earth-shaking and still controversial birth control pill. It’s great if you’re good with hormones, but like a person who wants Tex-Mex but doesn’t like tortillas, you’re out of luck. [emphasis mine]
Do you see where I’m going with this?
“Rice, beans, cheese, meat, tortillas and chilis” aren’t just Tex-Mex staples, they’re Mex staples depending on which part of the Mexico you’re from. So I find “it’s all the same thing, just called different names,” particularly offensive.
Would she have said the same about Asians and rice/noodles? Italians and pasta? No, probably not. The “Tex” (read: white) in front of the “-Mex” probably made it easier for her to oversimplify a culture’s cuisine, but last I checked, that doesn’t warrant giving sweeping cultural generalizations a free pass.