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Cinco de Mayo - An Example of Cultural Appropriation

  1. An example of cultural appropriation
  2. For many Americans, Cinco de Mayo is just an excuse to drink tequila and act a fool. ! This is a quick overview of the American connection to Cinco de Mayo, and how the holiday is just one example of Mexican stereotypes perpetuated in the US.
  3. Source: Congressional Record Mexicans account for nearly 65% of the US Hispanic population (52M), and 10% of the total US population (314M). Source: Pew! Source: World Bank
  4. According to the US Congress “Cinco de Mayo serves as a reminder of the close spiritual and economic ties between the people of Mexico and the people of the United States” Source: Congressional Record
  5. However, “every year thousands of Americans mistakenly refer to Cinco de Mayo as Mexico’s Independence Day.” -US Congress Source: Congressional Record
  6. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 15 & 16th. It is a celebration of the moment when Mexicans rallied against Spanish rule in 1810. And is by far Mexico’s most celebrated holiday. Source: Wikipedia
  7. But, the “nation of Mexico” wasn’t formed until September 27, 1821. Source: NPR
  8. Shortly after the country formed, residents of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas declared their independence. Which lead to the Mexican-American war in 1846. Source: NPR
  9. And ultimately the expansion of the United States, in 1848... Source: NPR
  10. ...a Mexican civil war, in 1858... Source: Encyclopedia
  11. ...a French incursion in late 1861... Source: History Channel
  12. And an unlikely victory, against the otherwise undefeated French army, on May 5th, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. Source: History Channel
  13. The victory at Puebla was so profound that during the American Civil War, the US military commemorated the victory with cultural events, such as bullfights, to rally nationalistic passion among Mexican-Americans fighting in the war. Source: History Channel
  14. After the war, May 5th celebrations continued in the US; but it was half- hearted until the 1960s, when the Chicano Movement used the holiday to rally Mexican-Americans once again. Source: Time Magazine
  15. In the 1980s, US alcohol companies realized they could use the holiday for their own purposes... Source: Alcohol Professor
  16. “Thus was born a day of drinking tequila while wearing a stereotypical sombrero.” -Time Magazine Source: Time Magazine
  17. Today, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the US than in Mexico; and many Mexicans have come to resent the holiday as a result of its warped appropriation of Mexican culture. Source: History Channel
  18. But, Cinco de Mayo is only one example of how stereotypes are appropriating our understanding of Mexican people.
  19. In 2007, 60% of all major news covering Mexico was negative; rising to 80% by 2010. Source: Bloomberg
  20. As a result, only 17% of Americans see Mexico as a modern country. Source: National Journal
  21. And most Americans feel that Mexico is not a good neighbor (86%), unsafe for travel (72%), a problem for the US (59%). Source: National Journal
  22. However, 50% of the country is under 29 years old, 78% live in urban areas, and Mexico City (22M) is one of the largest cities in the world. Source: New York Times! Source: World Population Review
  23. And while the drug war isn’t over by any means, Mexico is working to decrease the crime rate, and to make significant economic improvements.
  24. In the past several years immigration to the US has decreased significantly, and in 2012 Mexico’s GDP growth (3.8%) was stronger than the US’s (2.2%). Source: Bloomberg
  25. Despite the drug war, the country is thriving economically. It is classified as a majority middle class society, and the world’s 14th largest economy. Source: National Journal! Source: Bloomberg
  26. Average income has doubled in the past 15 years; 1/4 of the country’s homes were built within the past 20 years; and the average number of school years Mexicans attend has doubled in the past four decades. Source: Bloomberg
  27. And with more international trade agreements than any other country in the world (44), Mexico is poised to continue strengthening their economy. Source: New York Times
  28. So as Mexico continues to shift towards a more vibrant future, lets shift our sentiment towards positively supporting their effort.
  29. Starting with Cinco de Mayo, lets confront outdated / misrepresentative stereotypes, by celebrating with an accurate understanding of the country’s history, and respect for the improvements being made.
  30. I’ll leave you with these final thoughts from our Congress: ! The battle of Puebla was but one of the many battles that the courageous Mexican people won in their long and brave struggle for independence and freedom. ! ... [we call] upon the people of the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities. ! Cinco de Mayo serves as a reminder that the foundation of the United States is built by people from many nations and diverse cultures who are willing to fight and die for freedom. ” “ Source: Congressional Record
  31. Thank you. ! @dktgrn