Cinco de Mayo is not an opportunity to make a caricature of Mexican culture. Every single year – as if on schedule – people break out their sombreros, draw on crooked mustaches, and add the letter “O” at the end of every word to mock the Spanish language. This is neither cool nor funny.
Be mindful of the historical and present relationship between the USA and Mexico. 15% of the USA’s land mass was annexed from Mexico. Since 1993, the U.S. has used NAFTA to turn Mexico into a warehouse for cheap labor and products. President Trump has referred to Mexicans as “rapists,” vows to build a wall at the border, and plans to deport millions. Mexicans and Latinx people more generally are under attack.
That being stated – Cinco de Mayo began as more than just a celebration of culture. It was a fight against an oppressor. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army – which was the underdog – defeated French forces at the Battle of Puebla. In that spirit, we must stand in solidarity with Mexicans and Latinx people in fighting oppression.