This past weekend was Cinco de Mayo and contrary to what so many ignorant people believe, it is not in fact Mexican Independence day, which is actually September 16 if anyone actually cares.
Cinco de Mayo marks the Battle of Puebla where the Mexican Army defeated the French Army attempting to occupy the land. The day that isn’t necessarily seen as a holiday, but instead is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla.
So, all of you who had sombreros and piñatas—which you probably didn’t even bother to get from a Mexican-owned market—and went all out for Cinco de Mayo were really celebrating the death of white people. Have fun with that thought.
Of course none of what I’m saying is brand new information. For years people have taken a day in Mexican history and turned it into a racist and stereotypical holiday without understanding the history.
But this year is the first year that Cinco de Mayo has rolled around under the reign of our racist, homophobic, and xenophobic President Trump.
In past years, it angered me to see people who were ignorant about Mexican culture and its history celebrating Cinco de Mayo. There is no reason you can’t take part in a celebration as long as you understand its importance and do not trivialize the culture it is attached to.
I’m still angry for the same old reasons, except now it’s paired with people who also voted for the man who wants to see my people deported and has instigated countless acts of violence and xenophobia on the Mexican people.
The more extreme Trump supporters have expressed their hatred for immigrants and have targeted Mexicans as if they are the only people who are immigrating to the United States.
It’s this blatant discrimination against the Mexican people that makes celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year even more problematic.
In response to this current political energy and ignorance, the hashtag #reclaimcinco was passed around Twitter this past weekend. A graphic associated with the hashtag offered alternative ways to celebrate and support Cinco de Mayo that I feel are extremely important to note in my own way.
Educating yourself is key! Know what you’re celebrating and understand it’s significance to the culture.
Don’t be stupid with all of the stereotypical things like piñatas, sombreros and serapes. You look stupid and it is extremely insensitive.
Donate to organizations that help support immigrant rights and actively participate in conversations with friends and family about such matters.
And support local, Mexican-owned businesses!
Lastly, understand the political energy right now. Understand that families like mine are afraid. They are afraid for their lives, their children and the lives that they have been able to create here.
Understand that a lot of the same people who want to see my people suffering and deported are the same people who trivialize Mexican culture and drink margaritas with their besties and eat tacos on Tuesday’s for funsies.
Be smart. Educate yourself. Actively participate in the conversation. Cause it’s gonna be a hell of a long four years.