Kooks Burritos Controversy

Kooks Burritos Controversy

Part of a series on Cultural Appropriation. [View Related Entries]

Updated May 25, 2017 at 12:53PM EDT by Don.

Added May 25, 2017 at 10:53AM EDT by Don.

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The Kooks Burritos Controversy refers to a backlash against the owners of the Kooks Burrito food cart in Portland, Oregon, who closed their business after being accused of cultural appropriation for starting a Mexican food cart as white women in late May 2017.


On May 16th, 2017, the Willamette Week[1] published an interview with Kali Wilgus and Liz Connelly, the owners of Kooks Burrito food cart launched in Southeast Portland, Oregon.

"I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did. They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins. They wouldn't tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn't quite that easy."

Two days later, Twitter user @rjhopjr tweeted a link to the article, along with the hashtag "#PoliteWhiteSupremacy" (shown below). On May 19th, Mic[6] published an article titled "These white cooks bragged about stealing recipes from Mexico to start a Portland business" and the Kooks Burritos Yelp[8] page was flooded with negative reviews. That day, the food cart was closed.[12]

Bob @rjhopjr #PoliteWhiteSupremacy à la Portland & @wwweek wweek. com/uncategorized 6:43 PM- 18 May 2017 Kooks Serves Pop-Up Breakfast Burritos With Handmade Tor During an impromptu Christmastime road trip last year to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, Kali Wilgus and Liz "LC" Connelly lost their minds over wweek.com


Google Doc Spreadsheet

On May 23rd, Reason[4] published an article titled "White-Owned Restaurants Shamed for Serving Ethnic Food," which reported on a Google Docs[5] spreadsheet featuring a list of 60 Portland restaurants with white owners, encouraging viewers to go to competing restaurants owned by people of color.

Online Reaction

On May 22nd, The Portland Mercury[2] published an article titled "This Week in Appropriation: Kooks Burritos and Willamette Week," which accused Wilgus and Connely of "cultural appropriation" for being white and starting a Mexican food cart.

"This week in white nonsense, two white women--Kali Wilgus and Liz “LC” Connely--decided it would be cute to open a food truck after a fateful excursion to Mexico."

That day, the article was submitted to /r/Portland,[3] where the top comment referred to the controversy as "a joke" and asked "can you believe we live in a time when people actually give a shit who makes a burrito?" In the coming days, posts about the controversy reached the frontpage of various other subreddits, including /r/news,[13] /r/uncensorednews[14] and /r/KotakuInAction.[15]

Twitter Reactions

Hella Bella @SelaSmella It's only cute, exotic and trendy when white girls do it wweek.com/uncategorized/ Leslie Mac @LeslieMac When theft is positioned as "cool" you know it's about WW. fb.me/244wNwtys Jordan B Petersorn @jordanbpeterson One appalling self-righteous persecutor wrote this piece. Oh no. Two women wanted to make a living. Kill them, portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2017. Christina Sommers @CHSommers Help! My favorite restaurant in #Portland is on a cultural appropriation hit list for "culinary cis-white supremacy"

News Media Coverage

In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the controversy, including Fox News,[9] The Daily Mail,[10] NY Daily News[11] and HeatStreet.[7]

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 1 total

Recent Images 8 total

Top Comments

Mr. Candles
Mr. Candles

Wow, so unless there's something misleading here these accusations actually caused people to lose their jobs!

Glad to see we're still not past that point in time where tumblr-level accusations can be tossed around by actual media and actually ruin people's jobs.

And by glad I mean infuriated.


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