On Sunday, a South Carolina journalist tweeted a photo of a worker at a local restaurant called Taco Cid that had been taken earlier by a local high-school teacher. The worker is wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with an illustrated, cartoonish "trap" baited with two hard shell tacos. "How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant" is printed at the top in the colors of the Mexican flag, and the restaurant’s name and contact information appears below the illustration.
Taco Cid is a Mexican restaurant in West Columbia, South Carolina, that seems to be using the same exact sliced-black-olive-adorned taco salad recipe that’s forever graced the sides of Old El Paso boxes. The one-star restaurant definitely coopted the design for the T-shirt from a company that makes tasteless novelty apparel, Think Progress reports, and uses its employee dress code to send the message that it hates "illegal immigrants," reports the Palmetto Public Record (via Gawker).
Incidents of racist restaurant receipts, one of 2012’s most troubling trends, may subside in 2013, but not because of a mass deployment of newly revised employee sensitivity training manuals at quick-service places, it seems, but rather because workers are now literally wearing the hate on their shirtsleeves.
The restaurant says the media just doesn’t get their sense of humor. ”Our t-shirts were created as a witty and comical statement regarding ILLEGAL immigrants,” Taco Cid claims in a statement released on its website. “There are NO racial nor hate remarks towards any specific ethnic group.” Elsewhere, as if trying to prove they are good people, the owners of Taco Cid state that they do not hire "illegal immigrants," that all of their workers pay taxes, and they’re closed on Sunday, "in observance of a day of worship."
The backlash has been nearly immediate, and several civic groups take issue with the offensive T-shirt’s message and have sent messages to Taco Cid’s owner. The restaurant is asking those who support their ideology to come on down, order some generic Mexican-ish food, and buy a T-shirt or two, of course, on the way out.
“How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant” T-Shirts Worn, Sold at S.C. Taco Joint [Free Times]
UPDATE: SC Mexican restaurant responds to uproar over racist T-shirts [Palmetto Public Record]
Earlier: 2012: The Year in Racist Restaurant Receipts