White Owners Of Mexican Food Truck Shut Down After Being Accused Of Cultural Appropriation

Photo: Ernesto Andrade

Kali Wilgus and Liz “LC” Connelly thought that they had realized their dream when they opened Kooks Burritos in Portland Oregon.  They were even more excited when the local newspaper Williamette Week decided to do a feature article on their new business.  The two women recounted how they watched Mexican women making tortillas on a trip to Baja California and adopted what they saw.  That admission however led to furious accusations that the two white women were guilty of “cultural appropriation.”  They eventually shutdown their food truck.

The women said that the Mexican women would not share their recipes but that they would watch the “tortilla ladies” through the window to learn the process.  They were told the basic ingredients and watched the other women at work.  They then experimented with their own recipes until they came up with tortillas as good as they experienced in Mexico.

The led to the chorus of outrage of people like Jagger Blaec of The Portland Mercury , who denounced the women as cultural appropriators. Blaec wrote that :they colonized this style of food when they decided to ‘pick the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever.'”

This week in white nonsense, two white women—Kali Wilgus and Liz “LC” Connely—decided it would be cute to open a food truck after a fateful excursion to Mexico.

. . . So let’s recap the story thus far: These two white women went to Mexico, ate tacos, and then decided they would just take what the locals clearly didn’t want to give them. If that wasn’t bad enough, they decided to pack up all their stolen intellectual property and repackage it in one of the few places where such a business could plausibly work: Portland, Oregon.

. . . Because of Portland’s underlying racism, the people who rightly own these traditions and cultures that exist are already treated poorly. These appropriating businesses are erasing and exploiting their already marginalized identities for the purpose of profit and praise.

This seems a bit over-wrought and I certainly do not get the cultural appropriation angle.  I am part Italian and many have pick up on the cuisine of my ancestors.  I view the adoption of Italian dishes with pride.  It is true that the Mexican women did not want to share their recipe but these Oregon women wanted to learn to make great tortillas and did so by watching the masters and then experimenting at home.  The closure of their business, while celebrated by Blaec and others, is a sad end for two women who merely wanted to make good food.

80 thoughts on “White Owners Of Mexican Food Truck Shut Down After Being Accused Of Cultural Appropriation”

  1. And there of course was Julia Child and her Mastering the Art of French Cooking. What a scandal. Presumably this book should never have been published despite having sold a million copies.

  2. Am I understanding this right freedom of enterprise isn’t in USA. Really can we find anything else to rant about really fellow Americans if the slole and repackaged then good for being shut down. Our world is getting were their are no morals at all.wake up Americans

  3. I am a “Portlandia” junkie – Fred Armison and Carrie Brownstein poke fun at the PC in that city — and there are so many examples they’ve had 7 seasons!

  4. How foolish would it be if a person of Mexican descent were criticized for starting a new airline based on cultural appropriation. This idea of cultural appropriation is just one of 100s of snarky ideas that liberals employ to solidify an ethnic pecking order. Some people have gotten WAY too race conscious.

  5. Cultural diffusion will lead to a more perfect union. These girls need to get back on the horse.. or truck whatever.

  6. This incident is BS from the word Go. The left will say the women overstepped by taking advantage of poor Mexican women in Baja. But *they* overstepped legally; if the Mexican women have no patent protection recognized by either Mexican or US govts. on their recipes or methods, not a thing anyone can do about it. Yet the leftist libtards shut their business down? Thru incessant harassment, no doubt, to get what they want. Facist, neo-Nazi methodology…wait, that’s what they call conservatives. Oh, the hypocrisy.
    These girls have a lawsuit on their hands, against the facist left that shut them down. I say go get em.

      1. Though even without a patent they could still potentially sue or request an injunction for trade secret violation due to the admitted espionage, invasion of privacy or a host of other claims. My issue is they aren’t doing that. Instead they’re just berating them until they close shop. If the issue is a lack of money, then perhaps instead of putting the effort into harassing shop owners, they should be raising money to sue.

  7. where do you draw the line?

    Clearly these visionaries are doing this in Order to form a more perfect Union. Right? They just have a different idea of what it means to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, This is what you get when you fail to teach the underlying principles of equality and natural rights. They are not alone by the way.

    Far too many people advocate for things that appear rational compared with this story, but they are still ignorantly utilitarian in their efforts. They are unconcerned about the means as long as they get the desired ends. No more proof of the ignorance of rights could be offered today than the near blackout of the story yesterday of the NSA’s massive violation of the fourth amendment. This is not a Democrat/Republican, Left/Right problem; this is Public/Private sector problem. This is an abuse of power problem that makes a story about tortillas as important as trying to pick the fly $hit out of pepper.


  8. All I know is this story made me want some taco Tuesday. Who’s cooking?

    To the far left in support of this, where do you draw the line? This is alienating potential supporters. Is it better to fight for trivial feel good bs that doesn’t make an iota of difference for the “harmed’s” economic or criminal justice issue, when it pushes away the people who could be helping you on issues like clean water for Native American tribes protesting Dakota access, criminal justice reform for black and brown people, and putting an end to gerrymandering? This is petty and is part of why the right now controls the White House the house and the senate. Stop alienating potential allies so you can fight for issues that are trivial by comparison to the bigger game. If I’m from the GOP I’m loving watching you pawns play checkers while we’re playing chess

  9. This seems a bit over-wrought

    Thanks for the praising-with-faint-damns. It’s been an education.

  10. Why did they capitulate to this horrible, obnoxious, low-rent local journalist?

  11. I was born and raised in New Mexico (though oddly, it is a Spanish and Native American state, people from Mexico are a minority, and honestly, our tortillas are better, I make wicked ones 😉 ), and I confess to getting annoyed myself with people like this. It’s one thing to learn, it’s another to co-opt. I think they suffer from Millennialitis more than anything (that cohort is incapable of truly conscious acts, by and large) and bringing the law into the equation is flat-out preposterous. Get annoyed. Let it end there. Better yet, recognize that they are part of a generation that wasn’t parented and see what solutions that brings to mind. Also, as some side snark: I’m sure their tortillas were poop anyway. 😉

    1. So, I guess this should create the demise for all great “fusion cooking”. Fabulous creations that exist across our nation from New York to HI. Ridiculous. And, food as intellectual property? Seriously??

  12. The headline on this article led me to think they were “shutdown” by some government agency. That would have been outrageous. Actually it was just liberals acting like idiots which is hardly newsworthy.

    “Cultural appropriation” is a bankrupt concept. Because Isaac Newton formulated calculus should only white-English-male-Protestant-heterosexuals be permitted to use it without being browbeaten?

    I could come up with thousands of other examples but that one just immediately came to mind?

    Here’s another: Because Eskimos (or Inuits or whatever you’re supposed to call them) made no contribution to medicine should they be denied medical services?

  13. I culturally appropriated my adopted son who is part native American and Mexican. Should I convert to Islam as a way to protect myself from having him taken away?

    1. I did the same thing. My one daughter is Hispanic and my other daughter is English. I German and Dutch and my husband is Sacilian.

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