I’m often accused of being a liberal (as if that were an insult) and a radical leftist (among other things not fit to print), and I get why.
I side with liberals and progressives on most matters of public policy because conservative policy ideas are mostly bromides of feckless, fustian rubbish. Don’t get me wrong, though: while I am very political, I am decidedly not ideological.
Which brings me to Cinco de Mayo. As usual, it came and went here in Mexico with barely a notice, kind of like Arbor Day in the United States. I went to the bank, went to work, and my kids went to school. I also read the dumbest article in my life, written by a fourth-generation Mexican-American, entitled “On Cinco de Mayo, here’s how not to be racist.”
The author went through the usual banal litany of things not to do in order to avoid the liberal sin of “cultural appropriation” – don’t wear oversized sombreros or Mariachi outfits, and don’t host Mexican-themed parties, among other things.
The author was apparently deeply offended by non-Mexicans celebrating with these distinctly Mexican pop-culture symbols, and thought all Mexicans should be too.
Which is funny. I’ve lived in Mexico for 15 years. While you could probably find one if you tried hard enough, I’ve never heard of a Mexican being offended by anything mentioned in the article (or anyone dressing up as Zorro or Frida Kahlo on Halloween, for that matter).
I don’t know, perhaps the author is too far removed from the reality of Mexican society, or drank too deeply from the well of liberal Kool-Aid that is political correctness.
The author did not apparently realize, nor did her editor, that racism is very different from “cultural appropriation.” The latter is a silly ideological shibboleth of the Left, firmly rooted in political correctness, not racism.
If you get bien pedo on margaritas while wearing a sombrero, you’re not a racist, or for that matter even a cultural appropriator.
If, on the other hand, you don a sombrero in the Home Depot parking lot with a sign that reads “Build that Wall!” you are, at the very least, an ignorant and misguided hillbilly xenophobe.
The Onion, my favorite satirical rag, recently ran a piece that explained why Cinco de Mayo was not a celebration of Mexico’s independence but rather the Battle of Puebla: “because Diez y Seis de Septiembre was too clunky to catch on with beer distributors.” That’s the spirit, and funny.
So, lighten up, liberals, you didn’t appropriate anybody’s cultural intellectual property by drinking a Corona while wearing a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo.
Glen Olives Thompson is a professor of North American Law at La Salle University in Chihuahua, a specialist in law and public policy and a frequent contributor to Mexico News Daily. Some of his other non-academic work can be viewed at glenolives.com.