ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
If you've been on social media today you, might have noticed a lot of talk about taco trucks. If you haven't seen the references, or you have and you're confused, well, here's Adrian Florido of NPR's Code Switch team to explain.
ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: It started like this - Marco Gutierrez, a Mexican immigrant and the founder of a group called Latinos for Trump, went on MSNBC Thursday and said something had to be done about Mexican immigration to the U.S..
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MARCO GUTIERREZ: My culture is a very dominant culture, and it's imposing, and it's causing problems. If you don't do something about it, you're going to have taco trucks every corner.
FLORIDO: Almost instantly, the hashtag #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner was born. And the pylon grew faster than a Chipotle taco bowl moving down the line. By midnight, #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner was the number-one trending topic in the U.S.. Filmmaker Jorge Gutierrez - no relation to Marco - took the warning as more of a campaign promise, tweeting...
JOSE GUTIERREZ: Historians will look back to this monumental day in history as the day the 2016 USA election was actually decided - #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner (laughter). And I'm not kidding. I think today will be monumental.
FLORIDO: Stacey Rayner said she could vouch for how awesome this new reality would be.
STACEY RAYNER: I actually live off of a street that has taco trucks on every corner. It's pretty much the best street ever.
FLORIDO: And Daniel J. Cox (ph) tweeted that it could, as Donald Trump has promised, make America safer.
DANIEL J. COX: If there were taco trucks on every corner, there would be less crime, unless you consider paying extra for guacamole an injustice.
FLORIDO: OK, you get the point. Let's get serious for a little bit. I called up one of the nation's foremost taco experts, Gustavo Arellano. He writes The O.C. Weekly's syndicated column Ask a Mexican and is also the author of "Taco USA." He said that as absurd as Gutierrez's warning sounded to many people, it's part of a long tradition of using Mexican foods as a way to scare white Americans.
GUSTAVO ARELLANO: You call people beaners, greasers. You talk about Montezuma's revenge and even with taco trucks call them roach coaches - this idea that somehow Mexican food is not healthy for you and even poisonous.
FLORIDO: But Arellano says those days are mostly gone.
ARELLANO: We're now of a generation that almost everyone has grown up eating Mexican food of some sort or other, whether it's breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos or big, huge combo platters. So to try to say that, oh, more Mexicans mean more Mexican food, if anything, that's the one thing all Americans like. You might not like the Mexicans, but you sure love Mexican food.
FLORIDO: I wanted to find out if this was true, so I took a walk to the long line of food trucks about a block from NPR headquarters here in Washington.
Fried chicken, Afghan. That looks like - oh, that's Mexican, I think.
It was actually a Mexican-Korean taco truck - good enough. Gina Cordero was taking a selfie to post to Twitter under the hashtag.
What did you get?
GINA CORDERO: I got the - I got two of the pork tacos and one of the chicken tacos.
FLORIDO: How do - how do you feel about the - the prospect of a taco truck on every corner?
CORDERO: As a Republican, I support small business. It's a good thing for the economy.
FLORIDO: I tried to get one more interview with the food truck's owner, but he was too busy selling tacos, so I just bought a few. Adrian Florido, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.