In the past, the City of Dallas has been predominantly white. However, throughout the 20th century, the city’s population grew in size as well as in its diversity. This has led to Dallas being one of the cities with the richest cultures in Texas. The largest influence and cause for Dallas’s rich culture is due to the ever-growing ethnic minority group: Mexicans/Hispanics. The people from this Mexican community help contribute to their neighborhoods with the small businesses they own such as their panaderías, their paleterías and their elote stands.
Recently, there has been an increase of businesses that have taken parts of the Mexican/Latino culture and have shaped it to work in their favor by making a profit out of it. Non-Latinos make their business in order to cater upscale (white) clients.
A prime example of this is Steel City Pops. Steel City Pops is an ice-cream shop that sells gourmet, all natural popsicles that started in Alabama and later expanded to locations in Kentucky and Texas, DFW area having the majority of these shops. The owner, James Watkins, explains the idea originated when he and his family were on a vacation and came across a shop called “Las Paletas.” “It was a simple store, selling unique sweets called Mexican paletas—more commonly known as pops. But they were so much more than just pops…When we tasted these amazing pops, we decided everyone needed to know about this.”
These kinds of businesses are not necessarily harmful to the community. In fact, this kind of gentrification can actually help communities improve their services, become more profitable, and provide stability to the area. However, one business that opened up in the Oak Cliff area called Corn Connection became problematic.
On Corn Connection’s Instagram, they insulted other food cart vendors, which are mainly Latino-owned businesses. The post read “Elotes with swag. Buy them from the G’s who let the candy drip, Or I guess you could buy them from some roachin’ ass cart in front of Home Depot.”
After Corn Connection’s post came out, hundreds of angry posts appeared onto all of their social media platforms. These posts noted the violence that came about by Corn Connection and attempted to educate Corn Connection’s supporters as to why the post is offensive to the Latino community especially if the business is profiting off of a Latino business to begin with.
23-year-old, Lupe Garcia, helps her father at his elote stand outside of a local Home Depot and when she heard about this post, she was upset. “More than offended, I was deeply saddened by Corn Connection’s comments because it showed a lack of respect to the hard work put into the very businesses that made businesses like theirs possible. It’s one thing to see an idea, like it, and want to put your own twist on it, but it’s another to insult businesses by implying that the people running them are dirty and somehow less worthy of respect. It was a not so subtle attack on Latino business owners.”
After seeing all of the angry posts, Corn Connection’s owner, Miles, said that the post was made by a former employee—a Latino—and that at the time, all employees had access to the account and he never monitored the posts.
Since then, Corn Connection sent out a public apology on Facebook—which is now deactivated. Although Corn Connection and its owners have taken down all of their social media, they say that they will continue running their business, which Miles says is only a part-time hobby.