Red Hot Chili Peppers Are Us

Ed Morales


The Economist’s cover image for its current issue, „Firing Up America: A Special Report on America’s Latinos“ has already stirred up some controversy, for obvious reasons. It’s another form of the horrendous stereotyping that affects not only Latin@s but any other non-majority group. It’s a fancy reductio ad absurdum: Latin@s are essentially red hot chili peppers, otherwise there would be no Mexican restaurants. Many Latin@ media tweeters are, of course up in arms.

The report does focus on Mexican-Americans, who, as prolific consumers of chili peppers, make up around 64% of all Latin@s. This leaves out a lot of us–I haven’t seen any complaints about the mag’s relentless coverage of Puerto Rico’s economic crisis as if it existed in a vacuum outside of its colonial status–and that is annoyingly typical. But the most problematic aspect of this special edition is the way it tries to assuage the racial fears…

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