No! Today is not Mexican Independence Day! It is not the day all Mexicans go out and party. Moreover, it is not an excuse to walk around in sombreros thinking you are being cute. Contrary to the marketing of the Corona beer marketing team, Cinco de Mayo is the recognition of how the Mexican people came together to defeat the French as they attempted to conquer Mexico to add to the French domain.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo, as US citizens celebrate it every year, would be like Texans celebrating the San Jacinto victory wearing stupid cowboy hats and guzzling beer. That Cinco de Mayo is the largest drinking holiday in the US is a testament of how marketing erodes history and creates caricatures of reality. There is something wrong with a society that buys more beer on Cinco de Mayo than any other holiday, including the Super Bowl.
According to Nielsen, 30.6 million cases of beer were purchased in 2013. In other words, Cinco de Mayo has been marketed by the beer industry in order to intoxicate more people. Think about that for a moment, Cinco de Mayo, as celebrated in the United States, is nothing more than an excuse to drink beer, get intoxicated and many times drink and drive home.
How many people die because of a made up holiday each year?
How did a Mexican holiday commemorating the defeat of the French invaders become so bastardized as to celebrate beer consumption?
In the late 1980’s a group of Texas distributors wanted to sell a Mexican beer most Mexicans would be horrified to be caught dead drinking. Gambrinus Group, based in San Antonio, needed to create a market for its Corona beer that it had been importing from Mexico.
In the 80’s there were rumors of urine being found in Corona beer. I heard the rumors in Mexico growing up and thus for many Mexicans, Corona beer was synonymous with urine beer. How the rumor got started is something I do not know, although I have heard that it was a competing beer brand in the US. Regardless, it was many years before I felt comfortable enough to try a Corona beer. Gambrinus, faced with declining sales of Corona beer, started a Cinco de Mayo advertising campaign in 1989 and as they say, the rest is history.
Unfortunately, it is the wrong history.
For Corona beer, it is not about celebrating culture or history but rather it is about selling beer to consumers. Lost in the beer guzzling and the freakish sombreros is the cultural identity of a people who staked their own destiny through sacrifice and self-determination. As Latinos, or Hispanics we decry how our culture is misconstrued by mainstream television, movies and society yet we are the first to order the first rounds of Corona beers today.
We need to take a step back and demand that companies, such as the Corona beer distributors, reflect the true origin of the culture they want to sell to. If we continue to allow them to bastardize our culture through caricatures of it and misguided celebrations then we have no one to blame but ourselves for how the rest of society perceives us.
Enjoy the beer, but be cognizant that the cheers are only exasperating the misunderstandings of our culture in the United States. Instead, toast to the valiant Mexicans that took a stand and told the world we are Mexicans and we will defend ourselves against those attempting to mold Mexico into something it is not.
That is what I love about your blog you always bring up interesting things. Keep it up!
Come on Martin, lighten up. The information is good, but does everything need to do serious?
There are so many genuine holidays that are celebrated as they should be and there are those that are an excuse to party. Think about it, is Memorial Day really celebrated because of our war death ? Should be, but most people see it as a day off or a reason for family gatherings. Lotsa of food and drink. Is it disrespectful ? Is it changing the true meaning of the day ? For some it might, but most not really.
Memorial Day will probably have some drownings or auto crashes and maybe someone choke on a hot dog. Is that any reason to cancel the holiday or become disgusted because people get drunk ? Every holiday this happens.
Costumes so what. Don’t people dress for Irish holidays and October Fest ?
Life is made to be enjoyed. Some more dangerously than others, but that is an individual choice and we can’t stop it. Didn’t Prohibition prove that ?
Don’t forget to the thank the U.S. which gave France an ultimatum – leave Mexico now or we will make you leave.
VIVA LOS EE.UU.!
Mexico doesn’t need enemies. It is its own worst enemy.
“are only exasperating the misunderstandings”
exasperate: irritate intensely; infuriate.
exacerbate: make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse.
Yes, indeed, Happy Sin-Ko-di-May-O! It’s the day of the year that those of Mexican ancestry are permitted to come out and celebrate what has been designated as ‘their culture’. These include those from other American countries south of the border and Puerto Rico too, because after all if you are a brown from any part of the Americas you are Mexican. But don’t go getting too proud of your heritage, know your boundaries or else!
The rest of the year these same Sin-Kos ignore their heritage to prove how ‘assimilated’ into the ruling culture they are, great americans these. Always the first to denigrate their culture, ridicule the different accents that we have, and jump (how high, master) at the chance to denounce the ‘illegals’ lest they be grouped with those ‘Mexicans’. And don’t dare use the wrong word (accidently or not) or misspell a word (typo or not) because they’ll pounce on you like a cat jumping off a hot tin roof.
But hey, it’s parody, it’s satire, we have to laugh at ourselves. Yes, there is that. It’s a fine line between humor and sycophancy. Many of us can tell the difference and choose not to be part of this scam. Malcolm X spoke of the difference between the house negro and the field negro. I see these Sin-Ko types as the counterparts of the house negros.
Well, I suppose we have reached the point that everything is based on racism. So don’t enjoy St Patricks Day by dressing in green or drinking ale lest you be accused of being a wannabe Irish. Don’t wear the leather shorts and green hats with a feather and Carry a beer stein during October fest lest you are accused of being a wannabe German.
However, in order to prove and show unrestricted allegiance to Mexico, although you are fifth generation US citizen, wear sandals, straw sombrero, white shirt and pants. Find a shady spot in the afternoon to sleep. Practice saying si señor until you have the correct Mexican accent. Not brown enough, stay in the sun longer.
Don’t wear a suit to work or speak English. Drink tecate only ! Fire your landscaper although you have one because of health or age. Oh my goodness you didn’t sneak across the border ?! What kinda of Mexican are you ? You cross back into Mexico and sneak into the U.S. to be a genuine Mexican. Burn your the U.S. Passport and carry forged or fake documents. What are you the Patron’s favorite?
You work in an office ? Get back to making burritos, damn you.
Apparently some refuse to assimilate into the host, adopted or place of birth country. That might help you get ahead in business and better life. Insist that everyone speak Spanish ! What kinda of crap is that, you want me to learn English and stop wearing sandals? Never mind the old saying “when in Rome do as the Romans do” or that countries want immigrants to assimilate into their culture. I can’t believe the Mormons and Mennonites, in Mexico, speak Spanish only, that’s treason to their ancestors ! Another treasonous act is white or black Americans move to Mexico and learn Spanish. Or maybe enjoy adopting some if the Mexucan customs. Shoot them at sun rise !
Anyone that subscripts to Malcolm X divisive and racist philosophy will be relegated to a subcultures and spend their life blaming others for failure and denigrating those that assimilate and become success stories in their country of birth or adopted country.
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