NOT FOR YOUR CONSUMPTION! Stop denigrating Mexican/Latin people and culture for profit

NOT FOR YOUR CONSUMPTION! Stop denigrating Mexican/Latin people and culture for profit

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Diana Albarran started this petition to Advertising Standards Authority and

The reproduction of stereotypes and negative images of Mexican and Latin American communities perpetuates discrimination and racism towards immigrants from non-English speaking nations in New Zealand.

The NZ-based company, Cartel Foods uses drug cartel references to promote their business in their name and branding, and in the process continues the stereotyping of our communities. Drug cartels are a big problem, not only in our countries with millions of people killed and affected by them, but also internationally, and  New Zealand is certainly not an exception on this matter. 

On top of the name, they use images related to a very important festivity for us, Día de Muertos, a day for honouring and paying tribute to our ancestors. Using these images next to a word with a negative connotation like “cartel” is a serious matter, exacerbated by “honouring a burrito” on top of an altar as per their Instagram post where they are likening a burrito to one of our ancestors. Let's also not forget to mention their use of the image of la Virgen de Guadalupe, an image of religious importance and cultural identity, as an image for their merchandising. 

According to a podcast conversation with the owner of the brand, it was mentioned that the company wants to:  "create something memorable, that wasn’t the typical kind of cliche...something a bit more edgy", "fun as well, lighthearted". So, we ask them:

- How is calling a Mexican food brand ‘Cartel’  not reproducing a cliche?

- Are drug cartel issues ‘fun and lighthearted’?

- Do you think this is a lighthearted topic for us?

- In what way do you think you honour NZ’s respect for diversity, inclusiveness, and multiculturalism if you are using other countries' social problems as a commercial device for your own benefit? If you truly enjoy Mexican culture and cuisine, you should equally exhibit respect for the people who have created such a rich history of culture and traditions.

Until this point, they have not replied to us. 

As we are in Aotearoa, we can draw from the Māori experience of misuse and cultural appropriation which they have been a target of. Fortunately, there is now legislation that protects their culture from cases like this, which is enforced by the Intellectual Property of New Zealand where applications are reviewed by an advisory board to consider if its offensive or contrary to Māori values. Why are there no mechanisms to protect migrant or minority communities in a similar way?

We ask for regulation reforms to Intellectual Property New Zealand, to the Advertising Standards Authority and NZ Human Rights Commission to protect and prevent the reproduction and profiting of harmful stereotypes of minorities and migrant communities in Aotearoa. 

"We all have the right to be treated fairly, with respect and to be free from unwelcome racial discrimination." NZ Human Rights Commission

Mexican and Latin American community members,

Diana Albarrán González, PhD in Decolonising design and Indigenous Studies, AUT (Mexico)

Assoc. Prof. Walescka Pino-Ojeda, Director New Zealand Centre for Latin American Studies (NZCLAS), The University of Auckland (Chile)

Natascha Díaz Cardona, PhD Theatre and Performance Studies, AUT (Colombia)

Sara G Ugalde Guzman, Master in Counselling (Mexico)

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