Mexican Culture

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On Cinco de Mayo, here’s how not to be a racist

Cinco de Mayo: a holiday known for oversized sombreros, mouth-wateringly delicious tacos, one too many margaritas and racism.

Every fifth of May, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans prepare for yet another day of cultural appropriation, racist jokes and perhaps a tweet or two from President Donald Trump about his long-promised border wall.

As a fourth-generation Mexican-American, I’m hoping 2017 is the year we, as a community, put an end to the appropriation and degradation of an entire culture. This Cinco de Mayo, know the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation in order to make this “holiday” enjoyable for everyone.

Before you go out and drink as many Coronas as you can, try to get a basic knowledge of what you’re “celebrating.” Frequently confused with Mexico’s independence day, which is Sept. 16, Cinco de Mayo commemorates an unforeseen victory by the Mexican army against the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Puebla is located in east-central Mexico and is one of the 31 states that makes up the country.

And, while Cinco de Mayo in America is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture, the lack of appreciation for Mexican heritage, the historical significance of the event itself, and the influx of racial stereotypes has transformed the holiday into an almost unbearable occasion for anyone of Mexican descent.

Rather than subjugate Mexicans and Mexican Americans to yet another year of cultural appropriation and lack of appreciation, read up on ways you can help celebrate our beautiful heritage — and ways to help avoid further degradation of an entire culture. Read more (Opinion)

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Y’all seriously need to learn to fact check things you see on here.

1.) it wasn’t Disney who turned down Coco but DREAMWORKS. 
and to those who STILL erroneously insist that Disney/Pixar turned down The Book of Life

2.) People getting mad at this:

Marigolds are traditional to our culture as well as to the holiday, ESPECIALLY in petal form. Not the best example but that’s like getting mad at different Christmas movies for using mistletoe.

3.) “Oh it’s the same plot.” Has anyone looked up the plot for this movie other than outright bashing it from the trailer? 
“The footage, raw though it may be, spun a compelling story about Miguel, a sweet kid who loves music despite the fact that his abuelita banned music long ago, thanks to an ancient drama involving Miguel’s great-great-grandfather—a dashing musician—who walked out on the family. That musician, Miguel discovers at the start of the film, is his town’s most famous son: deceased film star and music supernova Ernesto de la Cruz. On the eve of Día de Muertos, Miguel breaks into de la Cruz’s mausoleum in order to borrow the famous skull guitar that hangs there so that he can enter a talent competition and convince his family to embrace music again. Once Miguel touches the guitar, he becomes something of a living ghost. His family can no longer see him, but Miguel can now see all of his dead ancestors—who look like fantastically decorative skeletons—crossing over a bright bridge made of marigold flower petals from the Land of the Dead. Looking for help and answers, Miguel travels to the Land of the Dead—a dazzlingly vibrant, stacked metropolis inspired by the Mexican city of Guanajuato—himself and sets off an adventure with trickster skeletal companion Hector to find the rest of his family, de la Cruz, and the answer to how he can fix this curse.”  
You know how insistent Pixar is on always making original films. So don’t you think that they would continue that?

4.) “But the white director who thinks he knows everything because he’s been to Mexico.” That’s right, a white person who is not of Mexican/Latinx culture can not truly KNOW our culture simply by visiting it. And Lee Unkrich knows this fact. Which why he assembled a group for the sake of making sure the movie is culturally accurate, rather than him taking on that role

you know, a team of actual latinx. Including someone who was a huge critic of Coco, and is a critic of Disney, Lalo Alcaraz. He is most famously known for his response to the action of Disney attempting to trademark Dia de los Meurtos (which will be our next point). It’s not Alcaraz selling out. It’s him working together with the movie so it’s not just Disney trying to bring in more Latinx fans but rather creating what Unkrich’s true mission: “a love letter to Mexico.” This team along with many other Latinx creatives (like Adrian Molina who was originally just a writer and then promoted to co-director) and a fully latinx cast (again, as insisted by Unkrich), are working together to make it a Latinx piece of media. ( http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/12/pixar-coco-gael-garcia-bernal-dia-de-los-muertos-miguel )

5.) We all know and got rightfully angry at Disney for attempting to trademark Dia de los Muertos. This was due to the similar original name the movie had. As expected, it received intense backlash to which Disney quickly revoked the request to trademark. Unkrich was the first to vocalize that this was a mistake. This even leading to that point most likely has to do with him being a white man not of our culture, but this humbling experience is what really knocked that message into him and he began recruiting people like the ones in the above point to make sure that the movie itself is true to the people, culture, and holiday, in ways he himself could never fully grasp.

6.) It’s about the Day of the Dead like The Book of Life. My response to this is easy: look at how many movies are there about Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s day, Saint Patrick’s day, etc.

7.) Gutierrez himself doesn’t want it to be a competition but as two wonderful films about one aspect of Latinx that will hopefully lead to more in the future.

I love The Book of Life, and is one of my favorite movies if I’m being honest. When it first came out I was filled with such pride and joy for many reasons. One of course for it being a gorgeously rendered film, but for it being such a positive and beautiful representation and celebration of Mexico. As someone who grew up only seeing white main characters, with people like my family and I as only side characters, it brings me such joy to see more media being produced in which Mexicans are the focus along with our culture (which is agreeably much more diverse than what is being tapped into). We still got a long way to go as Mexico is still only one group of Latinx culture, but we are witnessing the stepping stones of Hollywood beginning to reach out and representing this community by working with people of those cultures. The Book of Life will always have a special place in my heart, but I’m not letting my love of that movie keep me from supporting Latinx creators that are putting out Coco. I’m finally getting the representation that I craved as a kid and loving it.

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Remember, just because you once went to a quinceañera or traveled to Cabo for spring break doesn’t mean you understand the Mexican culture and it gives you absolutely no right to use the culture as a costume.

And look, I totally get it — Cinco de Mayo is a perfect excuse to unwind during the week and drink with friends, but just take a little time to learn more about the culture and holiday you’re celebrating. Read more (Opinion)

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Dear White people,

actually…

Dear non-Mexicans,

Okay so, tomorrow is May 5th or Cinco de Mayo, if you’re that type of person. 

And contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexico’s Independence day. That day is September 16th (celebrated on the 15th). So if you believe you are celebrating Mexico’s independence, then you are wrong.

Also, if you wear a sombrero and dress in “typical’ Mexican fashion, then you are being racist. And if you use this day as an excuse to get wasted on tequila then you’re just gross and have reduced a pretty significant day in Mexican history to a day where you eat tacos and get bombed on margaritas.

Also, Cinco de Mayo isn’t really celebrated nationwide in Mexico. It’s mostly celebrated in Puebla. Because Cinco de Mayo is also know as “La Batalla de Puebla” or “The Battle of Puebla” where the Mexican army won, despite the odds, against the French army during the French intervention in Mexico.

Now, I need you to remember that because it is important. To me, since Puebla is where my mother was born. To my people. And to my culture. 

Cinco de Mayo is not yours to celebrate. It is not your excuse to get drunk on what will be a Thursday.

Now, despite that being said, I don’t mind if you celebrate Cinco de Mayo so long as you know it’s significance and you don’t reduce the day to gross stereotypes.

Respect the culture and Mexicans will invite you over for a cook out and a good conversation. We are not what you see on tv. We are a diverse people who love our culture and don’t mind sharing as long as there is respect.

Respect Cinco de Mayo and Enjoy Cinco de Mayo.