Cinco de Mayo brings Stereotypes

by Una Voz Unida on 4/28/2015

Every year there are days where people take traditions with rich meaning and cultural significance and turn them into an opportunity to drink, party, and ...........Stereotype. What?! Stereotype?! No.... Yes, Cinco de Mayo, the day that is mainly celebrated in Puebla Mexico and the United States. But they are celebrated very differently from each other. In the US, the day has turned into a day of partying and stereotyping Mexicans. Even at heritage events this happens. Is this what we want to teach our children about our heritage? Large colorful sombreros with thick black moustaches, along with maracas with a costume serape to top off "the look." What?! "The look" of a Mexican? Really? Or "the look" of Cinco de Mayo? The facts are clear; "the look" is far from reality and certainly does not flatter or honor our culture, our Mexican heritage, or does it show remembrance to the outnumbered Mexican soldiers who defeated the French and in essence prevented the French from joining the Confederacy during the Civil War.

So why does it seem like everyone does it, including Mexican-Americans? Because if no one says anything about it, it becomes an “okay” practice to degrade and stereotype our brothers and sisters across the border. So some can call it what they may. "Being sensitive" "It's just for fun" "no one is upset by it” Think for a moment, how would we celebrate a Black holiday? Or let's say a Native American Holiday. A simple Google search will find instances where colleges, universities, organizations, and individuals who have took these ideas as being acceptable, and found themselves or their organizations in trouble by losing sponsors, licenses, and charters. So why do it?

This year take Cinco de Mayo to learn about the Battle of Puebla. Use it to educate your children about how determination and unyielding fight against all odds can achieve victory. Let's teach our children how this event contributed to the United States. Let portray our rich culture with pride and respect. Say NO to stereotypes at the next event you attend and take a moment to inform others of the importance of not disrespecting others with stereotypes. You will be glad you did.

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