• Gravity Magazine

Flamin' Hot Mistake?

Corn meal, Flamin’ Hot seasoning, cheddar cheese, and onion powder. That is what the Mahoney-Pearson dining hall reduced Black culture to during their Black History month event on February 4th 2020.

The dining hall at the prestigious University of Miami served hot Cheetos (naturally with a side of mac and cheese because apparently we actually eat that together) and deemed it a Black History event. I am not lying. This is not an episode of a Netflix original. I am not trying to be some vigilante, mysterious, black-Radio-Rebel enigma, but someone please make it make sense.

The illustrious, radiant Flamin’ Hot Cheeto station

Taken Feb 4 2020 and retrieved from a black student at UM.

As I sat and listened to the workers, a majority of them Black, justify why they were serving me Flamin’ Hot Cheetos with mac and cheese, I genuinely felt as if I had been transported onto the set of 'Get Out.'

Also, unless I’m not up to date on my pop culture, when did hot cheetos become an exclusively black stereotype? Cheetos? Not even hot fries?

I’ve definitely seen a significant number of people from all races munching on some cheetos. Additionally, the moment Katy Perry thought it was cute to dress up as a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto for Halloween is the moment we disowned, severed, and burned our ties with the snack altogether.

In fact, the origin of the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were created by Richard Montañez, once a janitor and son of a Mexican immigrant who dropped out of school because he struggled with English. Montañez is now a marketing executive at PepsiCo, with a net worth of 14.3 million. The creation of Hot Cheetos therefore was a monumental moment in history for Hispanic individuals that we, as Black people, do not deserve credit for (nor did we ask to be credited for this).

Am I doing too much? Probably. But, a simple choice to put a side dish and a snack together had the ultimate effect of making me feel so minimized. I felt minimized because not only was the food not representative of my culture, but they ultimately took three seconds to dump a bag of chips in a metal bowl and call it a day.

Is that all my culture is worth? A bag of chips I can buy in the vending machine with five quarters? Like, they couldn’t even buy the nice, boujee, puffed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? The audacity.

Reporter: Julian Crosby

The City, Gravity Magazine, 2020

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