Presentation Title

“Carne Asada Is Not A Crime:” Chicanx and Latinx Loncheros and the ‘Taco Truck Wars’ for Civil Rights, Cultural space, and Socio-economic place in Los Angeles

Presenter Information

Cassandra TanksFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Angel David Nieves

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:00 AM

Location

Markstein 107

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Taco trucks, ubiquitous now in many American cities, were first born in the streets of Los Angeles, California. There is, however, a deeper history to taco trucks and their part in the fight by Los Angeles Chicanx and Latinx communities to carve out space and defend their rights against larger existing power structures. To evaluate how taco trucks contributed to space – physically, culturally, and communally – this study examines the so-called “Taco Truck Wars”, a ten-year period in Los Angeles when the outlawed loncheros were pitted against the City in a battle to secure the right to operate. First, the historic antecedents are evaluated, specifically the practice of redlining in Los Angeles and its economic effects on the communities that were directly affected by it. Second, the location of operations of the first taco truck loncheros is evaluated with respect to the socioeconomic model put into place by previous redlining practices. The generational ramifications of redlining are seen in availability of capital to loncheros and the community their roadside businesses are meant to serve, as well as in the educational opportunities and funding of schools in the historically redlined neighborhoods loncheros and their families continue to live in. Finally, the “Taco Truck Wars” and the City’s efforts to keep the loncheros illegal are examined in the context of the socio-economic, cultural, and civil rights struggles that Los Angeles Chicanx and Latinx communities have been fighting for since the early twentieth century. From school funding to economic opportunities to cultural expression and preservation, closer examination of the taco truck reveals how food actually serves as an important expression of space for communities living in a ‘Mestizo Metropolis’ such as Los Angeles. This project problematizes the food truck trend by examining the historical antecedents that contributed to the rise of loncheros creating economic opportunities for themselves and their community. This initial examination opens the door for further research into the relationship between redlining and education and the relationship between the cultural revival of the Chicanx protesters of the 1960’s and food establishments. The implications of this project speak to the ongoing struggle over cultural and economic representation and opportunity in Los Angeles and shines a light on the continued de facto and de jure barriers communities still grapple with.

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Nov 23rd, 9:45 AM Nov 23rd, 10:00 AM

“Carne Asada Is Not A Crime:” Chicanx and Latinx Loncheros and the ‘Taco Truck Wars’ for Civil Rights, Cultural space, and Socio-economic place in Los Angeles

Markstein 107

Taco trucks, ubiquitous now in many American cities, were first born in the streets of Los Angeles, California. There is, however, a deeper history to taco trucks and their part in the fight by Los Angeles Chicanx and Latinx communities to carve out space and defend their rights against larger existing power structures. To evaluate how taco trucks contributed to space – physically, culturally, and communally – this study examines the so-called “Taco Truck Wars”, a ten-year period in Los Angeles when the outlawed loncheros were pitted against the City in a battle to secure the right to operate. First, the historic antecedents are evaluated, specifically the practice of redlining in Los Angeles and its economic effects on the communities that were directly affected by it. Second, the location of operations of the first taco truck loncheros is evaluated with respect to the socioeconomic model put into place by previous redlining practices. The generational ramifications of redlining are seen in availability of capital to loncheros and the community their roadside businesses are meant to serve, as well as in the educational opportunities and funding of schools in the historically redlined neighborhoods loncheros and their families continue to live in. Finally, the “Taco Truck Wars” and the City’s efforts to keep the loncheros illegal are examined in the context of the socio-economic, cultural, and civil rights struggles that Los Angeles Chicanx and Latinx communities have been fighting for since the early twentieth century. From school funding to economic opportunities to cultural expression and preservation, closer examination of the taco truck reveals how food actually serves as an important expression of space for communities living in a ‘Mestizo Metropolis’ such as Los Angeles. This project problematizes the food truck trend by examining the historical antecedents that contributed to the rise of loncheros creating economic opportunities for themselves and their community. This initial examination opens the door for further research into the relationship between redlining and education and the relationship between the cultural revival of the Chicanx protesters of the 1960’s and food establishments. The implications of this project speak to the ongoing struggle over cultural and economic representation and opportunity in Los Angeles and shines a light on the continued de facto and de jure barriers communities still grapple with.