Why Does Coffee-Mate Think We All Have an Inner Latino?

Apparently, Coffee-Mate (and parent company Nestle) haven’t been paying attention to any discussion around cultural appropriate and stereotyping. I opened my email today to find a coupon for two flavored creamers, Dulce de Leche and Mexican Chocolate. The tagline, however, took me aback.

“Indulge your inner Latino through Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond”

It is bad enough to use cultural appropriation to sell artificial creamer, but to suggest we each have an inner Latino is just ridiculous. I guess that inner Latino is spicy and a great lover per the blog Latino Rebels

Now non-dairy creamers have become examples of sexualized Latino stereotypes. Then you wonder why we have major issues when it comes to media representation of Latinos in this country. And if you think this is not a problem, you will never understand what the original problem is. Enough with the ad images of “hot Latinos.” It is so 1935. This is 2014. A bit more respect, Coffee-Mate. (Yeah, we cannot believe we just addressed Coffee-Mate.)

I can’t argue with that – this a patently offensive play in to stereotypes to sell a product guised as an honor to Hispanic Heritage. We don’t honor people’s heritage by pretending it is our own heritage while we drink coffee. Honoring Hispanic Heritage would more appropriately be donating $.05 from each bottle sold to a reputable Hispanic Heritage organization. Honoring Hispanic Heritage would be mini-profiles of US leaders of Hispanic heritage on the bottles or something. Honoring Hispanic Heritage would not be commodifying stereotypes while thousands of young people of perceived Hispanic Heritage are taunted and harassed for the crime of crossing the border.

Honoring Hispanic Heritage would not target people whose only Latino identity is “internal” aka “pretend” – it would be validating and honoring the culture of those who are actually of Hispanic heritage.

It is a terrible marketing idea, Nestle. You may have put me off my annual round of pumpkin flavored creamer this year because I just can’t support this really terrible campaign.

What the hell are you going to do to honor Black History Month? “Inner sassy black woman?” What about Pride Month? “Inner queen?” “Touch your inner lesbian?” This is a fail, Nestle, and Americans of Hispanic descent deserve better. Maybe you need to cough up some donations from a campaign that’s already on the shelves to help undo the damage.

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