Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:The Blurred Line Between Racism and Innocent Depictions: An Analysis of "Tacos and Tequila"
Author(s):Nunez, Daniel
LLS496 F07
Abstract:My research explores the question “When does something stop being funny and start being racist?” by looking specifically at the “Tacos and Tequila” incident. “Tacos and Tequila” was a controversial social exchange that occurred in the Fall of 2006 between a fraternity in the Inter Fraternity Council, Zeta Beta Tau, and a sorority in the Panhellenic Council, Delta Delta Delta. The controversy arose from the way these primarily Caucasian organizations depicted Mexican/Mexican American Culture. These portrayals are viewed as malicious racism by one side and as innocent depictions by the other side; I hope to explore why the two sides disagree on when “the line is crossed” and make recommendations on how to educate both sides and construct a clearer picture of what is racist. Although a consensus is unlikely, at the very least steps can be taken toward reaching a more understanding and tolerant campus environment.
Issue Date:2008-02-20
Course / Semester:LLS 496: Diversity Research Project: Assessing and Enhancing Campus Climate at UIUC, Prof. Jorge Chapa. The class begins with ethnographic research on the impact of the performances of "N*W*C*" and related events on the University of Illinois campus climate. As we are working on this initial collective effort, students also work on specifying their individual or group project for the semester. Examples include research on "cyberbullying" and "cyberhatred" i.e., internet postings that demean, insult, or threaten groups or individuals at UIUC; the self-segregation of UIUC students in social situations. Students are expected to create ethnographic "research process pages" with links to fieldnotes, interviews, maps, and other critical documents and to present their work at an EIU conference. This Diversity Research Project reviews the literature on actions and programs that comparable campuses have used to improve their campus climate. The goal of the Diversity Research Project will be to produce a report detailing these findings as they may be applied to UIUC. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-02-21

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.

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