While it may be all in good fun, Cinco de Mayo is an appropriation of Mexican culture that some may find offensive. It involves playing at being Latino in a way that is disrespectful to those who have actually lived their life as a Mexican, and discounts their experiences and struggles.
Yes, the U.S. can be pretty racist when celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Most celebrations do not recall the history of the day, and know nothing about why it's celebrated. Instead, it's an excuse to wear huge sombreros and eat Americanized Mexican food. This holiday is not largely celebrated in Mexico because it was brought to prominence by a dictator who was later deposed through the Mexican Revolution. Celebrations of this holiday in America is often cultural appropriation, as well as inconsiderate and ethnically demeaning.
Very few people actually know the history of the Cinco de Mayo. Instead of celebrating culture and a victory in time of conflict, most people use it as a day to eat Mexican food and drink alcohol. Celebrating a day in this manner seems inherently disrespectful to a racial subset of America.
I do not believe that to be true about Cinco de Mayo. This holiday is a Hispanic holiday so I do not understand how it can the celebration of it has racist undertones. I just think for people who are not Hispanic it's just another reason to celebrate and get drunk but racist no.
Cinco de Mayo is not even celebrated nationally in Mexico so it's hardly cultural appropriation to appropriate something that isn't even a big part of a nation's identity, but regardless of who did it first, the date has a national significance for Mexico's northern neighbors as well, and is a worthwhile event to bring two nations together to celebrate.
The unexpected victory in the Battle for Puebla and ensuing resistance slowed French military support for the Confederates, leading to their defeat and allowing the United States to develop into a democracy and end slavery.
This victory and the resulting vigor and confidence of the battles that followed were instrumental in the creation of the United States as it exists today, and Cinco de Mayo as a result is an important celebration of not only Mexican culture by Mexican US citizens and residents, but binds two wars fought alongside each other that impacted each other in very profound ways.
Wearing brownface and dressing up like a Mexican stereotype is not required to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and yes, that's racist. And some people who celebrate Cinco de Mayo are racist period, so whatever they do will have racist undertones.
But eating whiter versions of Mexican food and drinking crappy tequila isn't an insult to Mexican culture (Ok maybe Taco Bell is) it's just people bringing what they have and enjoy of some minute relevance to their own limited understanding of Mexican culture.
And for some it's just an excuse to drink, but that's not racist. That's just *people want an excuse to drink, party, and eat food they love*.
If you are Mexican and have friends holding a Cinco de Mayo party, let them know about the costumes and to stop saying dumb stuff like "Cinco de Drinko" and for sure attend because your contributions of real mexican food and drink and spirit will definitely be a good education on what they're missing!
Honestly, we play Mulan and Kung-Fu Panda for Chinese New Year and only remember black history for the shortest month of the year. We drink gallons of green beer while watching "The Luck of The Irish" and stock up on Nachos for Cinco de Mayo. To be quite honest racism implies a degree of malice that simply isn't present here.
It's like watching Japanese anime if you happen to be black - sometimes all you can do is shake your head. Because they aren't generally trying to be actively racist... It's just a lot of really, really unfortunate implications. You know like that commercial from China with the little black girl and the KFC chicken. No harm was meant, but it just looked bad.
So yeah... Maybe back off a little bit? Unless you're a non-American Hispanic in which case I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.