No, I Don’t Hate Mexicans on Cinco de Mayo.

cinco-de-mayoEarlier today, a gringo ex of mine sent me a text message wishing me a happy cinco de Mayo. Hmmm ok. I thanked him and then reminded him that I wasn’t really celebrating because:
A: I’m not Mexican and
B: I’m not a Mexican from Puebla.

See Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day and not even all of Mexico celebrates it, because the holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla.

Let’s make this comparison: most people in the U.S. celebrate 4th of July not the battle of Saratoga.

Pero an article making it’s way around suggests that Cinco de Mayo makes other Latinos hate Mexicans. Porque? Because it’s more proof that the Mexicans are taking over sillies! Cue the reconquista music please:

But for Dagoberto Reyes, a Salvadorian immigrant living in Los Angeles, May 5 is more a reminder of the dominance Mexican culture has in a country that is home to immigrants from many Latin American countries. His prime example: Los Angeles-area public schools.

“Our kids go to this school system, and the school system is more preoccupied with Mexico’s history, and not the rest of Latin America’s, much less El Salvador’s,” said Reyes, director of Casa de la Cultura, a Salvadorian community center. “They came back celebrating Cinco De Mayo. That holiday means nothing to us.”

Hell I’d be happy if any Latin American history was taught in my daughter’s public school, besides the rushed mention of the Aztecs eating hearts and Puerto Rico as a proud part of the United States. Pero instead, this article takes the position that non-Mexican Latinos are resentful for being confused as Mexicans.

“Not many of them know their geography,” said Diego Martinez, who has had to explain to several people the island nation of the Dominican Republic is not located in Mexico. “I like Mexican food very much, but I’m Dominican.”…This population difference can mean a struggle for immigrants vying for better position in American society and in the country’s economy, said Luis Guarnizo, a sociology professor with a focus on migration at the University of California, Davis.

“When you have a group in the majority, they control the situation, and they exercise some power over the other groups,” Guarnizo said, pointing to examples of non-Mexican immigrants imitating Mexican accents and parents echoing Reyes’ complaints about the teaching of Mexican history over that of other countries.

Apparently the idea is that the in the melting pot that we are told is the U.S. there is only room for fully acknowledging one Latino culture. That it would be too much work for people to wrap their heads around the idea that Latinidad isn’t one ethnicity.
Pero, more dangerously, it foments the idea that even other Latinos don’t really like Mexicans all that much and promotes divide and conquer politics. This is especially worrisome in light of hate crimes against Latinos and specifically Mexicans, such as the recent acquittal of two young men accused of beating a Mexican immigrant to death.

So while gringos fill up bars today, wearing sombreros, I worry a little, not just for Mexicans pero for all Latinos, who are still seen as carriers of disease, both physical and social and thus ok to deny rights, including the very right to exist.

Today it may be fun for some to “play” Mexican. Pero for all Latinos, daily life is a real struggle, not a never-ending fiesta.


Post to Twitter

7 comments on “No, I Don’t Hate Mexicans on Cinco de Mayo.
  1. First a disclaimer: As a non-Latina it is nearly impossible for me to have a full understanding of the prejudice experienced by the Latino members of American society or any other group to which I do not belong. However I think 5 de Mayo is suffering the same fate of religious holidays such as St. Valentines Day or the Irish/Catholic celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. I believe it is not the “gringo” who is turning this small celebration from Puebla into a drinking fest but rather the marketing departments of many a Mexican themed, and authentically Mexican restaurants. The “gringo”, and most other Americans from varied ethnic groups, just can’t help themselves when there is any reason to drink on a weekday.

    As for the teaching of Mexican history in Los Angeles or any other California school for that matter, perhaps the proximity and the historical links between the state and the country of Mexico are the reason rather than discrimination against other Latino cultures.

    Happy Tuesday!

  2. I agree that there is an aspect of general commercialization with Cinco de Mayo but here is the difference. You don’t see it so much in Mexico. It happens here, in the US by US companies,overwhelmingly, so there is the additional matter of taking a historic date in Mexican history and turning it into a day to wear ponchos and eat salsa. So there is an issue of cultural appropriation as well.

    I honestly don’t know much about West Coast schools being a nyc chica pero I would assume that teaching Mexican history makes sense since California was once part of Mexico.

  3. I believe 5 de Mayo is more of a celebration of the Mexican-American identity and not so much as a celebration of “La Batalla de Puebla”. You don’t have to be Mexican or of Mexican decent to be wished a happy 5 de mayo any more than you need to be Irish to be wished a happy St. Patricks day.
    It is unfortunate many other Latino traditions get lost in the presence of the huge Mexican population living in this country and each culture should make every effort to continue celebrating their heritage.
    One last thing, I do remember learning about Mexico’s history in school but in reference to that of the United States.

  4. My family has lived in the Colorado/New Mexico region since 1704. We are Latinos/Mexican Americans, and we don’t give a hoot about this manufactured, pandering holiday. We really should not generalize about entire groups of people. Why would those of us who have lived in the United States for hundreds of years care about an obscure battle that took place in 19th century Mexico? And for the other Latinos complaining about Mexican dominance in the United States: If Argentina were “aladito” de los E.E.U.U., the shoe would be on the other foot. The cold hard reality is that Mexico and the United States have been joined at the hip from day one. Deal with it!!

  5. So this is a so call Latino page and you are all talking about 5 de Mayo here goes and not in ingles by the way.

    La unica de toda la bola aqui que tiene un poco de idea de lo que esta pasando en esta fecha es la Maegan enserio. Hasta cierto punto todo lo demas hijole estan bien perdidos. Yo fuy educado en la escuela en Mexico y se habla de la batalla de Puebla solo un poco. En Puebla si es una gran cosa por que no solo fue cuando General Zaragoza tomo armas en el asunto contra la gran nacion de aquel tiempo Francia. Aqui va – Cuando llegaron las tropas de refuerzo francesas, el ejército se componía de (7.000) siete mil soldados que salieron en la ruta de (225) doscientas veinticinco millas hacia la ciudad de México a principios de abril con la ilusión de que los mexicanos les darían la bienvenida. Esta ilusión fue nutrida por Juan N. Almonte, un reaccionario mexicano, y por el Conde Dubois de Saligny, el embajador francés, nombrador por Napoleón. El Presidente Juárez le dió la orden al General Ignacio Zaragoza de detener el avance de las fuerzas armadas francesas en los fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe cerca de la ciudad de Puebla. Zaragoza contaba con sólo (2,000) dos mil hombres. El 5 de mayo de 1862, los cañones resonaron y los rifles dispararon y más de (1,000) mil soldados franceses cayeron muertos. Los mexicanos habían ganado la batalla, pero no la guerra. Sin embargo, esta fecha es la que simboliza el valor mexicano ante una armada tan formidable. (Credito de esta informacion alos grandes estudiantes de Sinclair Community College –

  6. Pingback: VL’s La Mala Hitting the Calle Hoy | VivirLatino

Comments are closed.