Once again, our Facebook timelines are blowing up with posts, videos and articles explaining that no, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo—as many people in this country still apparently need to be reminded—commemorates a military victory in the city of Puebla in 1862, in which troops defeated the French troops of Napoleon III. As one popular video added, that victory was not only significant for anti-imperialist efforts locally, but also contributed to the Union winning the US Civil War because the French were not able to make their way north to support to the Confederacy.
I have historically been anti-Cinco de Mayo because it gives me flashbacks of messy drunk white people taking shots of cheap tequila while wearing plastic sombreros from Party City. Given the dope history the date commemorates, it bums me out to see it turned into a Mexican version of St. Patrick’s Day—an excuse to get drunk and spew stereotypes—especially because virulent racism against Mexicans is not a thing of the past. It has been a persistent presence since before the border crossed us in 1848 and with current US president we have, to say the least.
The way some people celebrate Cinco De Mayo can serve as a reminder that Mexican people, as is the case with all POC, are still othered, oppressed, and denigrated as a fact of life in the US. On the other, it’s real history should can serve as a reminder to say f*** you to imperialism and yes to supporting those who put themselves on the line for us.
One small way you can give a nod against imperialist nonsense is to boycott Constellation Brand Beers this Cinco de Mayo. Their beers include Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, Pacífico, Ballast Point & Funky Buddha.
Constellation Brands beer conglomerate, which has a corporate office in Chicago, made shady deals in order to steal water for drinking and agriculture from people in Mexicali, Baja California. As reported by TeleSur, this region is already experiencing drought and the company is ” building a beer factory that would consume 20 million liters of drinking water every year: the same amount that would normally quench the thirst of some 750,000 people.”
Happy drinking and be safe and not-racist today!