Call it “Taco-Gate.”
There’s a controversy in Broward County after the government’s official social media accounts posted an image of a dancing taco to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, something that critics are calling insensitive and not representative of the county’s Hispanic community.
“It’s surprising that it happened in a county that has so many Latinos,” said Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a veteran communications strategist on Latino issues who advises many elected officials.
The county posted the smiling dancing taco holding maracas, and a swirl of sour cream on its head to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Critics called it insensitive and said it’s reducing Hispanic heritage to a dancing gif.
Perez-Verdia said it’s important for government offices to be representative of their constituents.
“It’s really about having people who understand the culture,” she said. “We can talk about the front line workers, the doctors who have been in the front lines in this pandemic.”
Yvonne Salas, an etiquette and manners expert who is also a Broward County resident, said she was embarrassed.
“How disrespectful and how lack of awareness these government officials have,” said Salas.
The post read in part: “National Hispanic Heritage Month starts today!” It asks “What are you doing to celebrate?”
It also lists a number of countries from Central America that were celebrating their Independence Day, but as some critics have pointed out doesn’t include Mexico, which could be considered representative of the taco.
The post was taken down after a few hours after the backlash.
In a statement from the Broward Office of Public Communications, Assistant Director Greg Meyer wrote:
“When I saw the tweet from our office I had the employee who posted it remove the image and replace it with a more appropriate image. A dancing taco is not representative of the Hispanic community and should not have been associated with the annual celebration. It was not our intention to offend anyone with our previous post, but rather acknowledge National Hispanic Heritage Month in a celebratory way. We are proud of the County’s Hispanic community and everything they’ve accomplished. The employee has been counseled regarding sensitivity to all cultures.”