An email to Gonzaga University students warned against “cultural appropriation” on Cinco de Mayo, and said that the holiday has been abused by “non-Mexican individuals.”
A holiday “full of cultural appropriation”
Campus Reform obtained the email from VP of Student Development Judi Biggs Garbuio to students ahead of the Mexican holiday that is celebrated on the fifth of May.
“Spring has finally arrived in Spokane and this weekend marks the official end of classes at Gonzaga University,” the message began. “Saturday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).”
“A relatively minor holiday”
“This is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico,” the email continued, “however, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.”
“Unfortunately, the celebrations have become less about the appreciation of Mexican heritage, and instead has become more about drinking and partying especially by non-Mexican individuals,” the message continued. “Because of this, there are many instances when Cinco de Mayo becomes a holiday that is full of cultural appropriation.
“At some college campuses, including our own,” it continued, “students create ‘theme’ parties or dress in costumes that are insensitive and offensive to the Mexican-American and more broadly the Latinx culture.”
The message concluded with a link where students were encouraged to study and employ “alternative ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.”
A “corporate success story”
Josefina Saldana Portillo, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University told NBC News that the holiday was more of a commercial success for corporate beer companies, who marketed the day in order to increase sales of their Mexican alcohol products.
Here’s the NBC News report on Cinco de Mayo