A New York City-based party organizer apologized on Wednesday after receiving criticism on social media from Southwest Detroit community leaders over its use of offensive marketing material that showed a group of white women dressed up as "Mexican" stereotypes.
The material is part of Bar Crawl Live's Facebook event page for its May 4 "Tacos N' Tequila" crawl planned in Greektown. Bar Crawl included this description of the event:
"Let's Taco bout sipping margarita's, eating tacos, getting taco'd (HAHA) & dancing our tacos off at the first annual Tacos N' Tequila Crawl coming to Greektown May 4! This will be one wild Cinco De Mayo crawl to taco bout!!"
The event photo shows a bunch of white women dressed up in sombreros and finger mustaches. That caught the attention of some in Southwest Detroit for obvious reasons. In 2019, it's generally agreed that dressing up as a stereotype of a person from another culture is an awful thing to do.
It's especially surprising to see it just after a group of Idaho teachers dressed up as "Mexicans" and Trumps border wall, and were rightly roasted over it.
Those who attempted to contact Bar Crawl wrote on Twitter that they were promptly blocked from the company's page.
Raquel Garcia first posted about it, labeling the event a "racist imagery bar crawl."
Dear @eventbrite @latinorebels @LULAC Join our racist imagery bar crawl in #Detroit! hosted by @BarCrawlLive #SWDetroit @Latinos4MediaEq @Latinopress @Raquel4Detroit @Vivianita09 @christimira @MGuzman_Detroit @SamTXRCD @InsideSouthwest pic.twitter.com/QGCLszDoYy— Raquel Garcia (@RaquelGarciaAnd) February 19, 2019
Among those she tagged is Detroit City Councilmember Raquel Castaneda Lopez, who noted that Bar Crawl immediately blocked her after she called them out over the "racist event."
Just found out about this event and tried to reach the organizers via twitter and they already had me blocked. That is outrageous! @MsMarySheffield @stephanielily @RepRashida join us in calling out this racist event! #notinDetroit #notinmycity https://t.co/KtZ3oDyzCs— Raquel4Detroit (@Raquel4Detroit) February 20, 2019
That prompted a response from Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who tweeted "This is some racist bullshit (yep I cursed again...get over it!) right here. Who is sponsoring it?"
This is some racist bullshit (yep I cursed again...get over it!) right here. Who is sponsoring it? @onemichigan can help organize some of us to call it out. Our kids and families can't be exposed to these types of disgusting events. https://t.co/z2ab8GyLar— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) February 20, 2019
Later in the day, Bar Crawl issued an apology, and said its marketing team is working on changing the event photo, though it hadn't been replaced as of Wednesday night.
It has come to our attention that our first annual Taco N’ Tequila Crawl is offensive to many cultures. Although it was not our intent to offend anyone or group, we would like to hear everyone’s thoughts on the changes we should make on our end.— BarCrawlLive (@BarCrawlLive) February 20, 2019
Bar Crawl sent a statement to Metro Times on Thursday evening.
I have made my decision because it is the right decision. And doing what is right is how I choose to focus my future.
It came as a shock to us when we received multiple words of hate on our Twitter and Facebook pages (@BarCrawlLive). Including, people automatically assuming/claiming that we are those negative words without even knowing who we are as individuals. We are multicultural event organizers, who run multiple themed bar crawls with the purpose to bring fun for all. In no way, shape or form was it our intent to offend and/or target one culture with our marketing material. We are taking action to change the image(s), even though we don’t assume someone’s ethnic background based off of their appearances. We believe we speak for all, when stating that it is wrong to judge a book by its cover.
We as a group decided to block those using hateful speech and their influence to have others write harmful messages. After gathering information by making a public announcement we then unblocked those individuals.
We chose to ask for everyone’s feedback through this public post about our first annual Tacos N’ Tequila Crawl. We have been gathering information to make all necessary changes at once due to Facebook limiting the number of edits allowed on an event page, due to the size of the event.
We are very grateful for the results from this feedback process. One of the many things we have come to learn, is that Detroit, MI has a Mexicantown. You will have to excuse our ignorance because until now we did not know such a great area existed. We are now highly considering having our Event Coordinators reach out to get the venue’s of that area involved.
We organize events in many cities and this is the first that we have come across a Mexicantown. It has come as a surprise that there are so few of these areas in the US. Although this unfortunate situation arose, we truly hope that it creates awareness on bringing more areas like this across the nation.
Our purpose is simple. Bringing family and friends of all backgrounds across the nation together, supporting local businesses and creating fun/lasting memories for all to share.
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