All right Tumblr, listen up!
As a proud Chicana living out of the Bay Area California, I have decided that enough is enough, and I am done sitting back year after year watching people abuse Cinco de Mayo as a white people’s “Drink-o de May-oh”. Cinco de Mayo is a day that has been celebrated for years, and shouldn’t be used as an excuse for people to drink margaritas in sombreros while shaking a pair of maracas- enough is enough!
SO SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND TAKE SOME NOTES KIDS! BECAUSE THERE WILL BE A QUIZ!
Here’s some basics:
Is it cool if I dress “like a Mexican” on Cinco de Mayo?
Hmm, let me think about that one…10/10 Mexicans/Mexican Americans would say DEFFS NOT. I strongly insist you resist the urge to wear a sombrero or a fake mustache. Also, the jokes about donkeys and all Mexican people being either gardeners or maids have got to stop.
What about hosting a Mexican Themed “Cinco de Mayo” Party so my friends and I can all get wasted?
Have you been taking tips from Party City’s “Sing-oh Day May-oh” ads?No, it’s really not cool for you and all of your white friends to get smashed on cinco de mayo while wearing mini sombreros on your bra. NOT. OKAY. It’s racist.
But what if I’m not trying to be racist?
Even if you’re not “trying” to be racist, you’re most likely coming off that way, so it’s honestly just best to avoid the whole thing and just don’t do it. If it’s not your culture, then it’s cultural appropriation.
What is Cultural Appropriation?
I’m glad you asked! You may think you look really awesome in that sombrero, but if it’s not your culture, then it may not be the right decision to be wearing it. See, Cultural Appropriation is when people pick and choose elements of a cultural by a member of another culture without permission. This could be traditional knowledge, religious symbols, artifacts, and traditional clothing items. When people who are not Native American walk around Cochella wearing the headdresses of a Native American Tribe, this is considered Cultural Appropriation. Examples of Cultural Appropriation in the media include Avril Levine’s music video for Hello Kitty and Katy Perry’s performance of Unconditionally at the AMAs.
Is Cinco de Mayo considered Mexican Independence Day?
This is actually really important, because most people believe that the answer is yes, but in actuality, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day! Mexican Independence day is actually on September 16th, and isn’t recognized as much in America, unlike Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo is actually the celebration of Mexico’s victory in a battle against the French, known as the Battle of Puebla. The battle was the result of Napolean III’s attempt to invade Mexico, and the fact that Mexico won the battle was a really big deal. (Think David vs. Goliath) The imperialistic powers lost, just this once, (even though France went on to successfully invade Mexico City a year later). This date is important to US History This date was also important to US history, because by temporarily losing to Mexico, France was unable to send support to the Confederate Army until it was too late and had very little effect. If it wasn’t for the Battle of Puebla, the Union may not have won the Civil War, and you can just imagine the way America would have turned out then.
Cinco de Mayo was first celebrated by Mexican-Americans living on the West Coast of the U.S. who were passionate about the struggle for Mexican freedom from imperialism. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that corporations – particularly companies that produce alcoholic beverages – began to capitalize on the holiday as a “celebration” of Mexican culture. Today, the holiday has a lot more to do with U.S. capitalism than it does with Mexican-American history.
What are some Dos and Don'ts for partying on Cinco de Mayo?
Okay, so in summary:
- Wear a fake mustache or sombrero
- Call the holiday “Drinko de Mayo” or “Cinco de Drinko"
- Shop at Party City for any costumes or decorations
- Scream ”Ay, Ay, Ayyy!“ or ”Arriba! Arriba!“ Seriously, just don't
- Don’t get mad when people call you out for being racist, you brought it upon yourself.
- Take the opportunity to learn more about the culture
- Go to a community based Cinco de Mayo event and support local Mexican organizations
- Listen to some awesome Mexican music
- Watch some beautiful Mexican cultural dancers
- Eat some delicious Mexican food (not Taco Bell, I’m talking Taqueria status up in here)
- Educate others on Cultural Appropriation
- HAVE FUN!