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Burger King Hiring, Must Be Mexican


Looks like a Burger King in Washington has really stepped up its minority hiring practices. Over the last 24 hours, the image of Burger King’s marquee, which reads, “NOW HIRING MUST BE MEXICAN” has made the rounds of reputable news sites, who all agree that it is racist, yet cannot agree on which group it is most racist towards. Is this an example of Mexicans coming to the U.S. and taking all the good jobs? Is this an example of white/non-mexican discrimination? Is this an example of the exploitation of cheap Mexican Labor? Well, it’s none of those really.

Burger King released a statement this morning saying the sign was the prank of a disgruntled employee who was promptly fired shortly after the photo was taken several months ago. Marquee vandalism is nothing new. In fact, before Twitter, this was how hoodlums communicated in 140 characters or less, as we can see here:

When this photo was taken, no one honestly believed Wendy’s had changed it’s hiring practices. There weren’t FULL-TIME DORKS and PART-TIME LOSERS picketing out front because they felt discriminated against. If I was driving down the street and saw the “NOW HIRING MUST BE MEXICAN” sign, my first instinct would be to assume someone had pranked Burger King. I wouldn’t think that Burger King, which has been in business for almost 60 years, had suddenly decided to come out of the closet as deliciously bigoted. This isn’t Chik-fil-A we’re talking about.

And, if I was driving down the street and saw this other Burger King sign, I wouldn’t think that Burger King had suddenly changed up its menu to something less traditional. I’d laugh it off as nothing more than a delightfully ribald prank. (However, I would be offended if my girlfriend suddenly had indescribable, mouth-watering cravings for Burger King from then on, but that’s a different story). Was the “… MUST BE MEXICAN” sign offensive? Sure. But that’s how pranks work. I’m not condoning it, but I am also not allowing myself to take it personally.

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