Where I Grew Up, This Was the Worst Word You Could Say
Amarillo residents are currently dealing with controversy.
A local attorney decided to name his restaurant business "Big Beaners" and feature a character of a bean in a sombrero with a big floppy mustache.
I've been a Texan for over 40 years, but I can tell you that where I grew up and lived through my early teens, the worst racial slur was the word "Beaner."
To us, it was even worse than the n word, because, after all, Richard Pryor was normalizing the word by releasing comedy albums with that in the title. Saying 'beaner' was worse than 'wetback' or any other Hispanic slur. I am not kidding.
Citizens from the Amarillo area and some national organizations have expressed the offensiveness of the name to the owner, but he just continues to dig his toes in and deliver increasingly unhinged Facebook rants (with a huge dose of homophobia for good measure). Let's also not forget that image that is a direct take on the way Hollywood portrayed Mexican stereotypes (back in the day, when they usually had Italians play the parts).
Maybe you didn't grow up where this was considered such a hateful term. The fact that some find it extremely hateful is more than enough reason to avoid using it, especially since you have nothing to gain by doing so. I can't even believe that Amarillo's zoning folks okayed the sign in the first place.
None of this is my fight to fight. Amarillo can take care of itself. I just wanted to let the folks who are saying 'what's the fuss?' to know that at least where I came from, the word was the single most racist, vile, and hateful thing a person could say, so I completely understand why some residents are upset.