Fojol Brothers Food Truck Denies Racism Charge

Arin Greenwood, Huffington Post, May 16, 2012

The letter starts “Dear Idiots.” That’s the friendliest part.

On Friday, disgruntled D.C. area resident Drew Franklin, posted an “Open Letter to the ‘Fojol’ Bro-dawgs” on Facebook.

The letter concerns the Fojol Brothers food truck, whose proprietors sell decently-reviewed Indian, Thai and Ethiopian food while wearing fake mustaches and brightly-colored turbans, and whose fictional “traveling culinary carnival” origin story has the Fojols coming from the country of “Merlindia” to “share their family traditions with the world.”

These traditions are “over-the-top racist,” Franklin wrote in his letter. The “brothers” themselves are “worthy ambassadors of poor taste” and “well-meaning (if woefully misguided) white boys with a contemptible sense of humor.”

Edward Said’s famous critique of Western depictions of Asian and Middle Eastern culture makes it into the letter, which ends, less academically, by suggesting that the truck owners “Find a new gimmick, or else please set that ugly tin wagon on fire and drive it into the Potomac. Dicks.”

“I’m more worried about the Brussels sprouts going bad than this guy’s comments,” says Justin Vitarello, one of the food truck’s owners, who in real life comes from D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.

{snip}

With regards the turbans, and if they might be comparable to “brown-face caricature reminiscent of minstrelsy,” as Franklin put it in a follow-up comment to his letter, Vitarello says no. “They’re beautiful. They’re comfortable. They’re colorful. They’re worn by religious and nonreligious. There’s no accents. Everything is in the make-believe.”

{snip}

“We’re not going to stop doing that, is what it comes down to,” says Vitarello. “The people and the market will tell whether they like this or not.”

UPDATE, 11:11 a.m.: A petition—“Fojol Bros.: Respect Asian and African cultures—stop the brownface minstrel act!“—has been launched on Change.org. The petition has 246 signatures as of just past 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

UPDATE, 10:55 a.m.: There’s a new open letter about the Fojol Brothers food truck, this one addressed to Drew Franklin, in support of the truck. Read it here.

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  • guest

    I guess brown and black skin is also thin skin.  They really need to get over themselves, and good on these guys shrugging off the “outrage”.  These dummies won’t get over themselves until WE get over reacting to them like pandering, weak, sissies.

    • Francis Galton

      It’s funny, regarding your first sentence–I’ve thought the EXACT same thing, and even thought about making it a RAYCISS! slogan:  “A black skin is a thin skin!”  Great minds….

  • Up to my neck in CA

    Rule number one in the New World Order, only White people, their beliefs  and their religions can be made fun of, all others are protected.

  • Guest

     If pornography is protected by the first amendment, then so are the Fojols.

    “Free speech is hate speech to those who hate freedom.”
    -Rev. Jed DeValleyism

  • Easyrhino1

    Using this twisted definition of racism I suppose a guy from the ME or central Asia is also guilty of racism for wearing a baseball cap.

  • Church_of_Jed

    He should have said, “Yeah, it’s a little bit racist, and that’s what’s funny about it.”

    We must take the Tosh.O tact on racism: admit it, then call it funny.  Let the whiners make fools of themselves.

  • Hunter Morrow

    “White boy” can be said by anybody with an axe to grind. Wow, go back to India, that enlightened country where the street is the bathroom and the left hand is the toilet paper.

    Also, there is nothing in the Bill of Rights that gives somebody a constitutional right not be offended. Don’t like it? Don’t buy and explain to your friends why they shouldn’t buy it, either.

  • If only there was some sort of free market system where people that did not want to buy their goods could avoid doing so. I wonder if the renaissance fairs or medevil times locations are racist against europeans given that most of what we enjoy in civilization comes from either europe or east asia

  • Johnny Reb

    Yes, remove the turban.  It’s raciss.  Just do what Indians, Thai and Ethiopians do when a white person visits their restaurant . . .  spit on the food.  If they do it, it can’t be raciss.

    Win-win all around.  Everybody’s happy and that garbage they eat will probably taste better with a little white saliva.

  • sbuffalonative

    Move proof  THEY (insert any minority) are NOT like US.

    Most white folk know how to laugh at a joke. Other than Italians who can be overly sensitive to Mafia portrayals, not too many white ethnic groups make an issue of someone stereotyping them. Think of the stuffy Brit with bad teeth or the hot-tempered Irishman.

    I suspect this is less  about being insulted and more of an act of intimidation.     

  • The__Bobster
  • Brian Jones

    And the whole mess was started by some twerp named Drew Franklin. Another white libtard who needs to find himself a nice girlfriend so he’ll have something better to do with his time. [Or boyfriend, whatever the case might be.]

  • ViktorNN

    I watched a video about them posted on HuffPo. They aren’t actually dressing up as ANYONE. Not Indian, not Ethiopian. One or two of them are wearing turbans – that’s it. The entire thing is made up, as if they’re characters from some fantasy land. They could just as easily be selling brats from some fictional European-ish land, while wearing viking helmets.

    The politically correct thought police are way over-reaching on this one, as always.

  • Sheila Dinehart

    damn why wozzit kant noboby do nuthin!

    • ViktorNN

      If that’s an attempt to mimic a stereotypical white redneck, it’s not very well done, or funny. Try a bit harder next time.

      Plus, aren’t people like you against stereotyping?

      Oh right, it’s not that you’re against stereotypes – it’s that you’re hostile to white people.

      • Sheila Dinehart

        It is so strange you should say that I am hostile to white people…like, where did that come from?

  • slobotnavich

    Anybody genuinely indignant about this seriously needs to get a life.

  • anonymous_amren

    When I read the one-line summary, I was expecting some poor taste to be involved. But I was pleasantly surprised that there is nothing even slightly in poor taste about their fun. In fact, it sounds downright delicious. I think I’ll have the spinach and cheese.

    But does this mean I must shave off my moustache whenever I wear an unusual hat?

  • Michael C. Scott

    The only turban-wearers I know of are Sikhs, and since the “Fojol brothers” are not wearing beards, they are obviously not even satirizing Sikhs.  This is no more a deliberate smear of any group or nation in particular than Sasha Baron Cohen’s movie references to Khazakstan (which any honest individual would call “Boratistan”.)  A more honest, though less firendly depiction of Ethiopean cusine would be a food truck that sometimes sells bags of food aid rice and corn and is sometimes empty.

    One of the enduring aspects of the PC left is that none of them possess any sense of humour.