#ReclaimingCinco Editorial

Cinco de Mayo

Spring term at OSU is probably one of the busiest times for any student on campus. There are so many things to do and people to see with the sun coming out; it’s a great time. But every year, May 5th comes around and problematic images of Mexicans and celebrations are put on by some people on and off campus. Cinco de Mayo, or Cinco de Drinko as some college students recognize it, comes around and people suddenly think it is okay to dress up in a serape, wear a sombrero and an iconic mustache to celebrate Mexican Independence.

But the truth of the matter is, Cinco de Mayo isn’t even celebrated by most Mexicans or a celebration of independence at all. Cinco is primarily only celebrated in Puebla, Mexico, where the Battle of Puebla took place in 1858 during the French-Mexican War. This was not a very significant battle to be completely honest, but the win over the French Army, which was significantly larger than the Mexican Army, ignited a fire in the Mexican opposition that brought them to defeat the French Army in 1864. Although the Mexicans won the battle, they were ultimately confronted with defeat at the end of the war.

Since then, Mexicans in Puebla have continued to celebrate the victory that took place in their town, with every reason to, but most of all Mexico doesn’t celebrate the victory. Cinco de Mayo has become a capitalist holiday where the beer industry uses this one day a year to sell a majority of their product. Coronas, Tequila, and any other alcohol is sold predominately on this day for the parties put on by folks who would otherwise want nothing to do with Mexican culture.

In the age of Trump, this becomes even more ironic and disrespectful. We are living in a time where people are defending the racist and hateful things that have been said by the President of the United States and other anti-immigrant folks and yet, those same people are some who will be making nachos and guac this Saturday. To say the least, it shows how ignorant the United States can be. We live in a time where justifying someone’s right to say “deport all immigrants” is more important than thinking about the fact that people fled their home countries, leaving everything they knew and had behind them and had to start from the bottom up to have a better future for their children. But because they decided to go against an unjust system that can take DECADES to allow someone to cross an imaginary line across land that doesn’t even belong to them, they should have the right to take someone’s humanity from them.

Cinco de Mayo is so much more than people make it out to be. As someone who is Mexican, I hate seeing how people will host racist parties that demean my culture and my experience. I hate seeing how people who call me a “spic” or a “wetback” and tell me to “go back to my country” decide to get drunk and shout “Arriba!” And the fact that I have to pay for my own culture is bullshit entirely. I’m Mexican, so why should I pay for nachos and guac on Cinco de Mayo? Why should I have to pay for a famous Mexican margarita? You cannot take things from my own culture and grossly misappropriate it, call it “authentic” and then triple the price on it- it doesn’t work that way.

But you know what, people will continue to celebrate Cinco and if y’all are going to do that, I would rather you do the following:

-Donate money to an immigrant rights organization

-Go to an actual authentic Mexican restaurant and support local Mexican and Latinx businesses

-Educate yourself on Mexican culture 

-But please, DO NOT WEAR A SOMBRERO OR SERAPE

Photography by Cesira Alvarado (via unsplash.com)