In the Mix

June 12, 2020

Cinco de Mayo

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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There’s a new sitcom on CBS called BROKE. It’s about a single mother who’s sister returns to live with her and her son because her formerly rich Mexican husband has been cut off by his rich family. They also bring along his butler of whom is still in the employ of said rich Mexican family.

Yes, it is essential to identify the Mexican characters in this show because – according to the TV facts – there hasn’t been a central male character of Hispanic origin since Ricky Ricardo… I Love Lucy… the 1950’s… its 2020…

I reference this show because they did an episode where they dispelled the myth of Cinco de Mayo and it made me stop and create the correlation between the misunderstandings our society has about the black experience with Mexican history and culture.

Apparently, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That happened on September 16, 1810. They gained independence from Spain who was rule by the French under Napoleon Bonaparte. So most Mexicans actually blame the French for their bondage…

Cinco de Mayo is the commemoration of the Mexican army’s victory at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The way Cinco de Mayo is celebrated here in the USA is a creation of the large beer companies…

And we’re back at the root of our racial, ethnic and overall diversity struggle…
“Our institutions are responsible.” – Gavin Newsom, Governor of California.

To go just one step further, many Americans don’t even realize that Cinco de Mayo is exclusively a MEXICAN holiday. Many Americans think all Hispanic nationalities celebrate Cinco de Mayo…

My cousin is a history geek. She has two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in history. WTF. So she talks a lot about history as an avenue to cure ignorance. History geek or not, she’s spot on…

When we take the time to ask questions or do some research into an underrepresented group, we become a part of that culture in that we can now speak in celebration of their message.

While I have never celebrated Cinco de Mayo, I knew there were some misunderstanding about the day. I did not however, know the exact details between Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day. I did my research. Journalist or not, I now know the sensitivities attached to the two holidays and can choose to celebrate them with Mexicans sans ignorance.

And so the moral of this story is again, EDUCATION! Mexico has a history and culture that is completely independent of the United States of America. And that’s okay. It’s actually great. Our differences provide color to our lives if we let it.

Cinco de Mayo is one of those colorful experiences that allow us to step outside of mainstream America and learn something new.

Step out…






 
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