By Raoul Lowery Contreras
I have never bought any Goya Foods products. Outside of Spanish rice and paella, I can’t think of any Spanish food that I enjoy.
So, Goya Foods Chairman Robert Unanue’s compliments for President Trump neither impressed or insulted me like they did many other people.
Goya has 4,000 employees and sells numerous food products. It is a successful business. But it’s not successful because tens of millions of American Latinos flock to bodegas and supermercados to buy Goya products. The national market for “Hispanic food” is primarily Mexican.
My guess is that more Mexican food products are sold in Southern California alone than all the Goya products sold nationally in any given week or month. The reason is there are far more Hispanics who trace their linage to Mexico than to Spain.
And I believe Mexican food is superior to Spanish food, Caribbean food, Central American food and South American food. Having spent time in Florida, I’ve tasted them all. They were OK, but couldn’t touch the Mexican restaurants in Miami Beach run by Mexicans.
The reason is that we Mexicans cornered the market for God’s greatest food — the avocado. In second place, is the Mexican papaya, followed by the jalapeno pepper.
Then there’s the echo of the longstanding caste system in the former Spanish colonies in North and South America. The Spanish who colonized the Americas were racist, establishing 16 different legally-defined racial classifications in their colonies.
First in the racial and legal pecking order were the peninsulares, those born in Spain. Then came the American-born criollos, the sons and daughters of those born in Spain. Then came the mixed Spanish/Indian people, the mestizos. Then various mixes of whites and blacks, blacks and Indians (zambos) and, finally, at the very bottom of the racial pyramid, the 100% Indians.
Goya Floods was founded in 1936, the same year the Spanish Civil War broke out. Thousands of Spaniards on the losing side left Spain for Mexico, where they were welcomed by the leftist Mexican government that supplied arms to the coalition of republican loyalists and communists. Many Mexican families, like mine, welcomed Spanish refugees into their homes. Most had nothing when they stepped off the boat in Vera Cruz.
My great-grandmother volunteered our huge, six-bedroom house at #32 Calle Jalapa in the tony Colonia Juarez section of Mexico City to house two Spanish families.
I’m told that these Spanish refugees didn’t appreciate my great-grandmother, my 13-year-old mother-to-be and my 11-year-old uncle. They called my family indios, campesinos (peasants) and, horror of horrors, Catholic fanatics because daily mass was a must. They refused to eat Mexican food, calling it garbage. I wouldn’t be born for another year so I missed these pleasantries.
From the time I joined my great-grandmother for cafe con leche at dawn every morning, I heard all about the Spanish and what “ungrateful, ungracious, unlikable, un-Christian” people they were. I was five years old.
So allow me some leeway in how much attention I pay to a Spanish family’s food products. I don’t buy and eat their food, and I don’t vote for anyone who they suggest I vote for.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a Marine Corps veteran, political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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