Rethinking Cinco de Mayo May 3, 2015

1901 poster for Cinco de Mayo: “May 5, 1862 and the siege of Puebla” by Jose Guadalupe Posada.

This month we feature the very popular article on how the commercialization of Cinco de Mayo perpetuates stereotypes and misconceptions of this holiday that commemorates the defeat of Napoleon III, not Mexico’s Independence Day. Published on the Huffington Post and the Zinn Education Project websites.


By Sudie Hofmann

I recently came across a flier in an old backpack of my daughter’s: Wanted: Committee Chairs for this Spring’s Cinco de Mayo All School Celebration. The flier was replete with cultural props including a sombrero, cactus tree, donkey, taco, maracas, and chili peppers. Seeing this again brought back the moment when, years earlier, my daughter had handed the flier to me, and I’d thought, “Oh, no.” The local K-6 elementary school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) was sponsoring a stereotypical Mexican American event. There were no Chicana/o students, parents, or staff members who I was aware of in the school community and I was concerned about the event’s authenticity. I presumed the PTSA meant well, and was attempting to provide a multicultural experience for students and families, but it seemed they were likely to get it wrong. Continue reading.

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