The first time I heard of Cinco de Mayo was when I was about 8, and a white neighbor called it “national spic day.” That was also the first time I heard the word spic.
When I was 10, my dad was given a free cassette tape at a gas station that was basically an oral history of the Battle of Puebla narrated by some Mexican actor. I remember listening to it at home and thinking it was a badass story but realizing it had nothing to do with either Mexican Independence Day or getting shitfaced.
Every year in high school I remember cringing when my white friends would use that day as an excuse to throw some party, yet also cringing when my Chicanx friends would use it as an excuse to drive around waving Mexican flags out of their car and blasting Mexican music, knowing full well that once September 15th and 16th rolled around, they wouldn’t even grasp the significance of those days.
But as cringeworthy as white people wearing sombreros, drinking tequila and eating shitty tacos on May 5th, it’s as cringeworthy to have Chicanxs blasting Ramon Ayala and waving banderas because “it’s Mexican Independence Day bro” (it’s not). May 5th, in the era of Trump, there is a whole other level of…I don’t even know the right word…audacity (?) when we see Trump supporters go out and celebrate good ol’ “cinco de drinko.”
Just like we see Trump supporters who are all for locking up Latinx kids in cages having no problem with going out to Mexican or Cuban or Guatemalan or whatever restaurants, we also see those same people thinking they are all within their right to celebrate a holiday, if you can call it that, centered around (or meant to be) the Mexican people.
It is such a slap in the face to see these goddamn Build That Wallers think it is ok to co-opt a day meant to celebrate the Battle of Puebla, a day meant to celebrate badasses like Ignacio Zaragoza-– a Mexican general at all of 33 years old!
“They’re taking our jobs.” Motherfuckers, you’re taking our not actual holidays!
I don’t have any Trump supporting FB friends, unless I done fucked up somewhere, but what I would like to suggest to those of you who might find yourself “celebrating” (don’t you dare rock a sombrero and sarape though) is instead of taking that 4th shot of tequila, set aside $5, $10, whatever, and donate it to something that will benefit Mexican-Americans and/or Latinxs.
Donate to a local Latinx politician’s campaign if their values align with yours, donate to the Florence Project, donate to the IRC, donate to any number of organizations either working to better Mexican-American lives or working to help the asylum seekers at the border.
I don’t know, just a thought. It might even help alleviate some of that white guilt, who knows.
Oh also also kindly stay the fuck away from Taco Bell or Del Taco and support your local taco truck or hole in the wall taqueria instead. If you live in the Phoenix area or the Chicago area I will gladly point you to where you can get some bomb ass authentic tacos. Don’t play yourself.
Play some Chente too, it will temporarily make you up to 21% more Mexican. It’s science.