Dust up over Mi Pueblo facade – color it veiled racism in Gilroy?

Dear Editor,
I found the front page news article

Sparks Fly Over Store Colors

(Oct. 5) regarding the opening of the Mi Pueblo Food Center to
be disturbing on many levels.
Mr. Chris Chung, the owner of the adjacent restaurant Ninja
Sushi, called the color scheme of the center

kitsch

, and the loud implication was that it was

offensive.

Dust up over Mi Pueblo facade – color it veiled racism in Gilroy?

Dear Editor,

I found the front page news article “Sparks Fly Over Store Colors” (Oct. 5) regarding the opening of the Mi Pueblo Food Center to be disturbing on many levels.

Mr. Chris Chung, the owner of the adjacent restaurant Ninja Sushi, called the color scheme of the center “kitsch”, and the loud implication was that it was “offensive.”

Gilroy, like most of California, is a culturally diverse, lively community. Diversity is the norm here. My partner and I moved here, happily, from the culturally homogenous town of Woodside to live here, in this community, where we live among people of many different cultures and ethnicities. Coming originally from New York and Chicago, we have settled here in an atmosphere that is more comfortable to us, a community that is a true mosaic.

When we noticed the bright colors of Mi Pueblo, it made us smile. Mi Pueblo has long been a fixture in Mountain View. It has recently opened a branch in East Palo Alto, serving the needs of a community that had no prior access to the purchase of fresh foods and produce in their own community, at great expense to the owners.

Despite the fact that the city council put up roadblocks, Mi Pueblo prevailed, went in and created jobs to a community that other businesses have eschewed. They not only serve their targeted Mexican community with their specialty foods, they also go into communities and create many local jobs. Their success is based on “win-win.”

Getting back to the issue at hand, the “kitsch” colors represent Mi Pueblo’s brand. As the representative from Mi Pueblo pointed out, there were seemingly no objections to the bright golden arches of McDonalds, nor the electric blue “Chase” sign, nor any of the other hundreds of colors that make up the storefronts lining First Street.

Trying to censor a brand colors of the only Hispanic, large-scale business on the street smacks of racism, and it should not be entertained in a town that represents multiculturalism. In using the Yiddish word “kitsch” to describe that which he finds offensive, Mr. Chung illustrates that unassailable fact.

When the issue comes up before the City Planning Commission on Thursday, I hope that they dismiss the thinly veiled racist grievance, and that they take the time to apologize to the representatives of Mi Pueblo for having to justify the use of their brand colors. As former owners of a restaurant in a small town, it is our experience that increased traffic can only enhance the chances for more business for the surrounding businesses. We wish Mi Pueblo every success, and it is our sincere hope that the City Planning Commission does the right thing.

Lin Daniels and Angela Schmidt, Gilroy

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