A pretty interesting rhetorical story out of Philly. A taqueria formerly named Illegal Tacos has changed its name to Tacodelphia. While the owner says that the protests over the original name were only a minor factor in the change, the protests prove a major factor in the rhetoric of the name and the protests it inspired.
The protests essentially hinge on whether or not the ‘illegal’ is interpreted as a transferred epithet. As a transferred epithet, the name traffics in racial stereotypes (at best, and is downright racist at worst). The owner maintains that the ‘illegal’ is not transferred at all, that it is a straight adjective, with no transfer (to peoples) implied at all.
Wherever the truth lies, the interpretation of the name provides a great example of how rhetoric can be used and read differently to fit different agenda.
Here’s the link to the Philly.com article and it is pasted below with my emphasis. I’ve also included at bottom an image of the original sign / name.
Access the original article here.