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New Strip Mall Caters to, Reinforces, Ethnic Stereotypes
The recently opened Westmont Shopping Center on Westmont and Pine Avenue will both exhibit and cater to several common ethnic stereotypes, further validating them to those who harbor such preconceptions in the first place.
The strip mall, which is comprised of seven businesses flanking a new Ross Clothing Store, boasts a Red Dragon Chinese Food and Donuts shop next door to a dry cleaners run by a family from Hong Kong, a Luigi’s Pizza, Pasta and Deli, a Mexican owned mattress and hammock outlet, a Starbucks, and a Bombay Liquor store.
Local resident Mario Rigatoni cheered the center’s opening, “Me-a so happy about the new-a shopping center. Luigi’s – they’re pizza a-can’t be beat-a, and Ross sell-a cheap the white tank-a-top shirt I wear-a everywhere I go!”
Indeed, despite the center’s potential for perpetuating stereotypes that many consider to be negative, its new patrons and owners seem enthusiastic about the opportunities it promises to provide.
Pico Rodriguez, a Mexican migrant worker who works in the area, expressed his excitement over the center’s having a liquor store in such close proximity to a business that sells bedding supplies: “After I finish mowing the lawn I drink two Budweiser cans because I am so thirsty… but then I am so tired and sleepy. Maybe senor will let me take a short nap in his hammock before I drive my pick-up full of gardening equipment back to my cardboard house in the canyon.”
Added an elderly man from Beijing as he passed by on his way to catch a charter bus to an Indian casino to play the slot machines: “Me likee eggrolls!”
Of course not everyone is as willing as local Jew Sol Silverstein, who praised the strip mall for the deals he can get on his dry cleaning and its cheap pastrami sandwiches, to turn a blind eye to the unseemly prejudices the center might exacerbate.
“Personally, I find it offensive. Besides it representing yet another proverbial weed in the desiccated utilitarian wasteland of sprawling modern America, devoid of any architectural imagination whatsoever, this strip mall overtly and egregiously advances odious ethnic stereotypes which corrupt and stunt the cultural growth of those they represent,” remarked Marcus Lemaire, a college student of French descent over a double latte and a copy of Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ at the Westmont Center’s Starbucks, “Of course, maybe I’d like it a bit better if there was a shop that sold berets and those black and white stripe shirts.”
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