When Gringos Locos Tacos, a popular Mexican eatery originating from downtown Orlando, announced that they were opening a location on UCF’s main campus — it caused immediate controversy.
The outcry stems from the restaurant’s name. According to Google Translate, the word “locos” is Spanish for “crazy” and “Gringos” is a derogatory term referring to anyone, specifically an American, who is not Hispanic or Latinx. Many (white) students believe that word gringo, though, specifically refers to white people. Taken in this context, “Gringos Locos Tacos” translates more directly to “Crazy White People Tacos.”
“I guess I just don’t get the joke,” says John Smith, a junior real estate major. “Are they trying to say white people are crazy for tacos, or that white people are just crazy in general? Either way, it’s downright offensive.”
Smith is part of a movement, organized by psychology major Madison Doe, pushing for the franchise to change its name. “UCF should be a place that accepts all walks of life,” says Doe. “But the inclusion of this restaurant is an act of discrimination. It makes one race feel unwanted.”
Doe also points out that the restaurant’s name belittles any person of Caucasian descent wishing to dine there. “Look, I’m a psychology major, so I know about tragedy’s effect on the human psyche. Can you imagine going to a restaurant called “White People Are Crazy”? That’s literally what Gringos Locos means! I can’t believe they even have the cojones to pull something like this.”
“It’s telling any white person that makes the mistake of eating there that they’re crazy, and they should just stuff their crazy mouths with tacos,” she complained while sipping her #PSL. “The mental and emotional toll, all for some tacos, is just too much. Like, I just can’t even.”
Hurricane Irma delayed the grand opening of Gringos Locos, but that hasn’t stopped Doe and Smith from fighting this racially unjust establishment. Doe has scheduled a protest for September 23rd. According to the Facebook event page, over four people will be in attendance (Smith and Doe included).
“I’m just glad someone is standing up to this place,” said Smith. “UCF should be a bastion of diversity, one that accepts all taco lovers, no matter what color they are!”