Please Don't Colonize Mops


Confession: I love home design websites. I devour Apartment Therapy posts, even though I recognize them as Amazon and Target not-so-subliminal advertising. But my favorite has been Remodelista, an IKEA wet dream for the wealthy creative class. I can usually go along with much of what it peddles, and I’m especially drawn to its tips on how best to use design to maximize awkward home layouts.

This week, however, Remodelista reached peak appropriator status when it anointed the “Cuban mop” as a revolutionary discovery.

First correction: It ain’t just Cuban. Growing up in Ecuador, where we didn’t have Swiffers, this is what we used. And I'm sure we aren't the only ones!

Second: We used resources available to us, in this case, a broomstick and an old t-shirt.

Third: 1 OLD BROOMSTICK + 1 OLD RAG, fold the rag over the broomstick, get it wet = MOP. You do not need instructions for this shit!

Four: This contraption costs $2 at most, not Amazon's $17.95 for the “Cuban Mop Stick” and an exorbitant $16 for a set of “Cuban Style Cloths.”

The article has a mildly anthropological vibe:

“In the US, the mops are widely used among the Cuban immigrant population, particularly in Miami.”

Even more offensive is its blatant disregard for Cuban history. Remodelista suggests what is remarkable about Cuban resilience is the ingenious ways they invent to clean floors, rather than Cuba’s recognition that healthcare is a fundamental right.

They aren't the first to commit a tone deaf, massively inappropriate offense in cultural appropriation. Nor will they be the last. Remember the "Modern Fruteria" in San Diego or a former Google employee's Bodega app?

So say it despacito, if you must: White folks, please do not colonize mopping!