Monday, April 08, 2013

While in NYC... Equal Opportunity Stereotypical Iconography

I will begin by confessing: I love Rice to Riches. They are the yummy goodness that only rice pudding can be: thick and savory but not overly sweet and mushy. To top it all off, you get to sample flavors, just like you can in FroYo places, or ice-cream joints. When you walk into this shop a customer is greeted with the no-nonsense hip vibe of Virgin Atlantic and Wagamama. It's groovy minimalist design for sure.  That's always hard to pull clean and understated as Apple or Braun have shown. So I imagine someone took great care to plan branding and signage for the shop.

My story begins when I first visited to Rice to Riches in 2009. I never really noticed this sign on the wall until I went again sometime later on the same year.

I wondered if Rice to Riches was making a point of saying they don't hire people who wear Sombreros to make their pudding? Or were they stating that the Americans who work there are dressing up as a Mexican cartoon character in solidarity for our sister nation? Or were they inferring that an "American worker" is not the dreaded undocumented worker who happens to be Mexican? Either way, I wanted an answer and to give Rice to Riches the benefit of the doubt. So on December 16, 2009 I emailed Rice to Riches via the site's comment box.

"So I had a question: First of all, I love, love, your store and your flavors. I am a Boston-ite but whenever I am in the big City, I come over to taste your rice pudding. I am never disappointed. My question is: Could you tell me what you're trying to convey with your sign that tells your customers you only hire American workers? I support the sentiment but have a huge problem with the stereo-typical depiction of the non-American work-force being A. Mexican and B. Wearing sombreros. I wonder if there is a more benevolent explanation for your sign and if so, I would love to understand it.

Thanks kindly for your time and serious attention to a matter which is important to me, being the daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrants.



So unfortunately I never heard back. However, the last time we visited Rice to Riches, I saw this new signage:


Seems Rice to Riches decided to spread the stereotyping around.

37 Spring St
(between Mott St & Mulberry St)
New York, NY 10012
Neighborhood: Nolita
(212) 274-0008

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