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Taco Bell: The Beginner to Mass Mexican Food Appropriation

Growing up, I never fully understood the extent of the Taco Bell franchise nor did I know of its beginnings. That was until I read through chapter three of Gustavo Arellano’s book Taco USA which takes a look into how the taco became an American favorite, despite the success not coming from Mexicans themselves. This chapter was very surprising, as well as upsetting (but I will get to that later), as it is revealed to me what started the taco franchise giant. Glen Bell, the founder of Taco Bell, took an interest with Mexican food and wanted to make a profit off of it. And that he did. Now there are hundreds of Taco Bell locations that offers a mimic to the Mexican food, but it is made with the intentions of targeting an American audience.

What makes me upset about this discovery is the fact that he sat and ate Mexican food made by the people, to then think that he has “improved” “the taco” (Arellano 62). It doesn’t stop with Taco Bell however. Many other francishes have joined the profit train as other names like El Taco, Taco Mayo, and Taco Tico as other Mexican appropriated franchises established by white Americans. 

This chapter just left me with many emotions as the main driver for all these franchises is to make a profit, however, the culture and people of Mexico is forgotten. The more I read on these pages, the more that I will become more aware of the issues regarding cultural appropriation. My first post on cultural approproation was only the beginning my part to the conversation, and this post is only continuing the dialogue.


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