NEW YORK — New York Times columnist David Brooks has become a target of online criticism over an opinion piece in which he describes taking a friend with only a high school degree to a Mexican restaurant after she appears anxious with his first choice, a gourmet eatery, and wants to leave.

In a column published Tuesday titled, “How We Are Ruining America,” Brooks used the story as an example of the informal social barrier that directs people away from opportunities enjoyed by upper-middle-class culture.

The column made Brooks a trending topic on Twitter, with some users mocking the story as condescending. Fellow Times columnist Ross Douthat tweeted that he too was intimidated by Italian menus, despite having an elite education.

Brooks didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.