I grew up on the border of Souteast, DC in Suitland, Maryland. It was far enough for DC residents to say I am from Maryland, but close enough for me to claim I was from DC. Now, under this umbrella identity of “The DMV” (DC, MD, VA), I can confidently and without reservation publicly claim my love for Go-Go music, Ben’s Chili Bowl, chillin’ in the airport parking lot watching the planes fly over, our Burgandy and Gold home team, and yes, for chicken and mumbo sauce.
Even if you do not fancy any of those things, if you claim The DMV, the one thing you should not do is take to social media and speak against them with a snobbish, disrespectful undertone. Still, that is what newly re-elected DC Mayor Muriel Bowser did in this recent comment:
“Is anybody else annoyed by Mumbo sauce? I wish people would stop suggesting that it is quintessential DC. I’m just saying I was a full-grown woman before I had heard of mumbo sauce! So there, I’ve said it.”
Her timing was perfect as it came AFTER her re-election, but her comments were not appreciated by this personality or by many who were born and raised in The DMV loving fat pickles, chick osticks, “nigh-laters,” and chicken with mumbo sauce. Some called her comments “out of touch” and even equated her them to the “changing face” of gentrified DC. Social media backlash included such comments as:
Ryan Blakeney: “I can’t believe she even posted this. So out of touch with the real DC. I guess this new demographic required a show of support and this post was it. I bet u had them raisins in your macaroni and cheese from day 1 though huh???”
Tony Sizemore: “This is very insulting from somebody who’s supposed to be uplifting DC and it’s very proud culture and storied history and this is coming from born and bred DC native. I was eating Mumbo sauce in 83 from Cadillac Carryout in NE after leaving go go’s at Cherry’s and the Atlas. This is why people don’t feel like ur part of the city.”
Da Davis: “Mumbo sauce is definitely a DC thing, just as go go, the big chair and Ben’s chilli bowl and Horace and Dickies. Shame on you Mayor.”
There were a few who agreed with Mayor Bowser believing that mumbo sauce is “overrated.” Understand, from my perspective, it is not about whether or not you like mumbo sauce or not. It is about understanding the culture and the importance of preserving the culture of a people in a city where they are continually devalued and pushed out, not even having a vote in what goes on in this nation. With its own sound, language, music, art expressions, food, fashion and more, the components of the very soul of DC should not be minimized by the very person who is supposed to stand as the representation of ALL in DC; not just the young professional with expendable income who can afford the new highrise complexes on the Waterfront. The disrespect of this comment goes far beyond a culinary taste. It unwittingly extends into the continued dismissal of a culture and lifestyle of a specific population of people; people she represents even if she doesn’t like their sauce. Mayor Bowser has done a lot to grow and expand the city and to invest in its residents. However, this comment says there is still some work to be done. That is just my perspective. What is yours?