Tex-Mex Food vs. Latinx Art: Slogans vs. Substance

May 24, 2019
10:40 AM
Originally published at TonyDiaz.net

If it is easier to find the Tex-Mex food versus the Latinx art in your city, diversity might just be a slogan where you live.

Of course, you don’t have to be a tourist to test your city or town for Latino art.

This is one of the first steps to foster Cultural Acceleration. Long term, you, community organizers, and artists may have to work hard to gather all the resources your city has to speed up the evolution of its Latino art landscape, but you need to first figure out a starting point.

I recommend diving in. Ask five folks you know if they can recommend a place to get some great Mexican food. Make a list of the names. Let’s be real, try to keep it down to only five. Betcha most people will name more than one, so you might wind up with 10 names.

Now ask five people in your neighborhood if they know where to find Latino Art.

You probably already know how this is going to go.

Of course, I as a Cultural Accelerator, I can direct folks to the pockets of art. So, you should create a control group of artist and non-artists. This is a good test to find out if artists, writers, or scholars know where to find the Latinx art in your town. Maybe they don’t.

You really have to try it as a tourist, too. The next time you travel test the city you are visiting—any city great or small. This way we can compare notes.

At the hotel you are staying at, ask the person at the desk, or the concierge, the same question. Tell them, “I would love to eat some good Tex-Mex food.” Let’s see how many they list ya. They might even hand ya booklet with coupons—there might be so many. Passing hotel employees may even chime in with their answers.

You can also mess with them. Instead of saying you’re looking for Mexican food, tell them you want to find Latino food. See what variation that might lead to. Or better yet, tell them you are looking for Chilean food.

Now, bring the conversation to a halt.

Ask the concierge where you can see Latino art.

Make sure you look them in the eye.

How will your city do?

Again, we are simply coming up with a baseline.

Some cities will fare better than others. Not many cities will impress us. If a city does showcase Latino art, does it possess actual museums for Latinx Art? Are there regular exhibits of our community art? Is there art by local Latino artists?

Send me your findings. I’ll post some.

Next week, I’ll give you an insight into how Houston did, and I’ll provide a criteria for “scoring.”

But just remember, it should be as easy to find the fine art as it is to find the fajitas. Otherwise, diversity is just a slogan.


Tony Diaz is a writer, activist, professor and media personality. More at TonyDiaz.net. He tweets from @Librotraficante