Cinco De Mayo and Cultural Sensitivity

Cinco De Mayo, often mistakenly thought of as Mexico’s Independence Day, is Saturday and it seems like there’s some confusion as to how we should celebrate this holiday. Much like St. Patrick’s Day where people commemorate the event by drinking like the world is ending, Cinco De Mayo is observed in the same way but with tequila. But there is more to Mexican culture than tequila and sombreros.

Sombreros. Let’s talk about sombreros. I know that lots of high schools, universities and work places are asking that their students and/or employees show up in “Cinco De Mayo wear”. (Not quoting anyone specific, just paraphrasing.) What does that even mean, really? Does it mean dressing like this…:


From Partycity.com


…or this:



(Description from website: Hey amigo, this Mexican Costume is bound to be noticed! Hey Amigo Mexican Costume features a fringed poncho, long moustache, red trimmed sombrero and pants with an attached plush donkey and rider legs, which create the illusion that you’re riding said plush donkey...)

…or this?


(Check out this hot shot! Our Plus Size Sexy Shooter costume features a serape mini dress, belt with shot glass loops and bottle holster, 4 plastic shot glasses and a “TEQUILA” print sombrero. Ole!)

Is this outright offensive or do you think that’s being too politically correct? Even if you tone it down and don’t wear one of these “costumes” and just wear a sombrero is it okay or is it saying, “It’s May 5th, I’m going to wear this crazy hat!”?

Do you find this insensitive? How can one respect and truly celebrate Mexican culture on Cinco De Mayo? What do you think?

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