As a Mexican-American, every year I have witnessed people abuse Cinco de Mayo as a way to fully embrace every Mexican stereotype and march the streets with their sombreros, bright colored ponchos and tequila in hand.
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day and it is a bigger deal in America than in Mexico.
Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of La Batalla de Puebla (Battle of Puebla) in 1862 when a weak Mexican army defeated the French, who were trying to expand their empire in Mexico.
I am proud of my culture, and during Cinco de Mayo I find it offensive that Americans decide to interpret Mexican culture with mostly drinking.
In a time where Mexican immigrants have to fight against being stereotyped as being lazy alcoholics by many anti-immigration supporters, the way Americans celebrate it furthers the negative views.
In addition, it seems like this holiday is also an opportunity for racists to poke fun at traditional Mexican clothing, which is meant to be worn with pride and respect.
In a Twitter search of “Happy Cinco de Mayo,” there were multiple pictures of people wearing over-the-top sombreros, as well as pictures of people jumping the border.
One that specifically stood out was a tweet that said, “Happy Cinco de Mayo from your cleaning service Rosa y Javier” with a picture of a girl vacuuming while wearing a sombrero.
As surprising as it may seem, I rarely see any men wearing sombreros whenever I go to Mexico.
Unfortunately, Cinco de Mayo is not the only holiday that has fallen victim to stereotypes and drunkenness. St. Patrick’s Day is awaited with more anticipation here than in Ireland itself.
I am all for celebrating holidays, but not in the way that could be interpreted as offensive to a culture.
If you do not understand what Cinco de Mayo represents, do not celebrate it.
If Americans really wants to embrace and understand Mexican holidays, watching the televised celebrations on Sept. 15, the night before Mexican Independence Day, is a good place to start.
Here, the country comes together in Mexico City with festivities displaying its art, history and military pomp and circumstance- not drunken ragers.
Mariela Patron, a junior journalism major, is news editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.