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Friday, December 8, 2023

Columns

Cinco de Mayo celebrations give racism growth


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Today seemed normal as I went through my morning routine. I did everything pretty much the same including checking social media. Although I didn’t know what day it was, the countless posts of sombreros, Coronas and giant mustaches served well as a reminder.

Yes, today is May 5, otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo. To most people, this is the holiday that gives them an excuse to drink during the week and have a fun night. For others, they think the occasion is an opportunity to be blatantly racist.

So, back to my morning.

As I was checking Facebook, I came to find that even my University was not above racism and resorted to stereotypes. The University of Houston’s official Facebook page uploaded a picture of a Chihuahua donning a tiny sombrero with the caption “feeling festive on #CincoDeMayo.”

No, UH. I absolutely do not feel festive at all.

Although it may look like an innocent picture, proud Mexican Americans like me have fought hard to separate ourselves from the racism and stereotypes seen and heard on this holiday. It’s sad to see how little people actually know about what they are celebrating, because, contrary to popular belief, today is not Mexican Independence Day.

By simply educating yourself about what Cinco de Mayo represents, you can understand why this holiday was important to Mexicans before it became Americanized. Instead of trying to find the next dank meme about the day, try visiting Google for an actual history lesson.

To the University and readers: No, it’s not okay or funny to sum up such a proud race with tacos, sombreros, beer and cute chihuahuas. This is not a celebration of my culture. This is a slap in the face.

These images do not represent me and are just a tool that allows others to cloak racism and ignorance in a colorful serape.

Whether it’s the thought that black people are all good at basketball or that Asians don’t know how to drive, these stereotypes are the foundation of racism.

I urge everyone to go out and have fun, but do it knowing that this holiday represents a proud moment in Mexican history. Its meaning may have been lost as the years go by, but it represents a strong people. I am lucky to be a part of them.

This is a nation built by immigrants. The Mexicans of this country are more than just a chihuahua in a hat. We are doctors, lawyers, writers, artists and more. We are a part of this country’s future.

We will also continue to break barriers and end stereotypes, on holidays and otherwise.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a media production senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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