Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mt. Pleasant is a small community in Washington, DC that is home to much of the Latino community. Mt. Pleasant Street is filled with little Salvadorian restaurants, Latino grocery stores and other Latino owned businesses. It's nice to walk through the neighborhood and see that the Latino community doesn't just live there but owns businesses there too. It's refreshing and makes me feel like we have a place of our own.

That is until you get about half way up the street and find Dos Gringos. It is a small cafe that mainly has vegetarian and vegan food. It was started by who else, but "dos gringos". And guess who usually frequents the place? Gringos! Reviews of the restaurant mention that it is about the only place that's ever heard of a chai latte in Mt. Pleasant.

I say: Aren't there enough places for white folks to hang out? Do you really feel that threatened by the Latino community?

It's not just about white people owning a restaurant in the area. It's about the fact that they felt the need to claim that whiteness. Let anyone that walks by know that this is in fact a white establishment.

Today as I was walking through the neighborhood I saw a co-worker of mine eating there. As I walked up the steps to say hello I felt wrong, as if I were committing a sin against the community. I said my hellos as quickly as possible and left.

Another white male co-worker of mine mentioned that he has had a few interactions with people in the Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant areas that have stopped him to tell him to get out of their communities. The rapid gentrification of the areas is causing turmoil between the white and non-white members of the community. I look at places like "Dos Gringos" and think...this is where it started.

I haven't met a white person yet who hasn't made mention to the restaurant when talking about Mt. Pleasant. It's "trendy" and "hipster"....which means "white". It's there spot on the La-tino street. It's probably the second most popular reason for moving there right after; "I really feel like I'm connected to the people here". Oh yeah, look at that, I think your skin is changing's a lighter shade of white.

1 comment:

Jamilah said...

ohh, licious. fiesty. i like it.