The Washington Post discusses the Fojol Bros. food-trucks in Washington, D.C.:
As of Friday, more than 950 people had signed the petition, many expressing outrage over the cultural insensitivity of Fojol employees, who wear turbans and fake bushy mustaches and assume mythical personas from the lands of “Merlindia” and “Benethiopia” — all while peddling dishes inspired by the cuisines of India, Ethiopia and Thailand.
Despite the criticism, the founder of the business, Justin Vitarello, seems unapologetic about the use of cultural characteristics of Indians and Ethiopians:
Vitarello’s vision was to create a “traveling culinary carnival” that included turbans, fake mustaches, music, blankets spread out on nearby lawns and employees indulging in a little spontaneous Hula-hooping outside the truck. On one level, it’s a formula that works: Vitarello says sales of Fojol Bros. food has increased more than “1,000 percent” since he launched the business three years ago. “We’re not going to change anything that we’re doing because of this,” he says. “The people who eat from us, they wouldn’t want us to change what we’re doing.”
“I apologize to anyone who is offended by this,” he says. “That’s not the intent, and it never will be.”
It’s not his intent to offend by co-opting cultural identities – and in the picture above, in a mocking way – to peddle his food. But, if you are offended, that’s your problem.