Cultural sensitivity should be exercised concerning day


Cinco de Mayo, May 5, is a day giving a majority of Americans a day to celebrate and reinforce the stereotype that all Mexicans do is party and drink.

On this day of celebration we see people with lime-necked Coronas and margaritas supposedly celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day.

While walking around at the Stockton Flea Market I reached a sad realization that many born and raised Mexicans from Mexico aren’t able to tell the history of the place they call home nor can they correctly identify the reasoning behind, Cinco de Mayo.

“We celebrate the 5th of May in America because that’s the day Mexico won its independence,” said shopper Carlos Trejo.

But was I the only one who received the history lecture that May 5 is supposed to commemorate military victory?

Like most Americans I can’t deny that I jump at any chance I get to show off my Mexican pride and attend any celebration that is showing off my beautiful heritage.

However, what I loath is trying to enjoy the Cinco de Mayo parade and having to witness the audacity people have to try and speak what they call “Spanish” and listen to the idiotic assumptions that my culture revolves around cerveza and tacos.

MECha teacher Patti Rivera at Chavez High School makes sure during this time of year all of her students are well educated on the history of this day and when Mexico really won its independence.

“I assign a club officer to get several members together and create a presentation to explain to MEChA students what is Dia de la Independencia.

I have them explain that it is a holiday that started on Sept 16, 1810 when a Spanish priest Miguel Hidalgo of the town of Dolores called for the end of the Spanish rule in Mexico which was 300 years,” said Rivera.

So what exactly is the reason we celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Factually, it’s to celebrate the defeat of the French army during the Battle of Puebla in 1862, but other people have a different idea as to why.

“I feel like it is more of an American holiday. It takes away the meaning of Mexico’s Independence Day and have an excuse to get together to get drunk,” said Delta College tutor Alejandro Bolanos.

Rivera said this holiday is simply another reason for people to drink. It’s a way to advertise alcohol too.

“I do not like the commercial ads with alcohol and the overboard drinking!  I don’t like having to explain to people what they are shouting happy Mexican Independence day at a Cinco de Mayo parade,” said Rivera.

Although it’s nice to have a celebration filled with sombreros, beautiful colors and mariachi, we should acknowledge the history that comes with this specific date.

If Americans are adamant about wanting to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day and have the luxury of yelling, “Que Viva Mexico”, let’s set the record straight.

That should be done on Sept. 16.

Being able to show cultural sensitivity and correctly identify historical facts: that’s something I’ll drink to.