Another Cinco de Mayo has already come and gone this week, but not without a Mexican student instructing Americans in USA Today not to celebrate by engaging in racially-offensive activities, such as shortening the word guacamole and purchasing ponchos.
The self-appointed authority on how Americans should conduct themselves while celebrating the highly Americanized Cinco de Mayo holiday is Dani Marrero, a Mexican student who grew up in Texas and currently attends college in Boston.
After criticizing American versions of salsa (“just smashed tomatoes and disappointment”) and accusing Americans of using May 5 each year as “an excuse for excessive drinking and cultural appropriation,” Marrero tells readers to avoid “four activities” during their “fiestas” — a word she continually puts in quotes, as if Americans don’t know how to throw a rollicking party.
“Don’t buy sombreros, ponchos or fake mustaches” is Marrero’s first proclamation. “We have said time and time again,” she writes, speaking for 122.3 million Mexicans and some 12.5 Mexican immigrants. “Our culture is not for you to create costumes out of.”
Instead of buying this “racist garment,” Marrero suggests going “to the nearest bookstore” for “books by Chicano/as, memoirs by Mexican-Americans.” “Find out who Gloria Anzaldúa is,” she further commands. (Gloria Anzaldúa was an obscure feminist and queer theorist who believed learning a country’s language is “linguistic terrorism.”)
Marrero’s second edict is: “No more ‘wetback’ jokes.” This category includes jokes “about Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande” and “about Mexicans working the fields.”
The student does not state how many times she hears the derogatory term “wetback” in Boston. Also, interestingly, she refers to Americans with the slur “gringos” in her USA Today rant, on her Facebook page and on her Twitter page.
Marrero’s third politically-correct demand is her most bizarre: “Stop calling guacamole ‘guac.'” Her argument is that guacamole, as a word, “has significance as it comes from indigenous Nahuatl language, so please make the effort to pronounce it in its entirety.”
Less than two percent of Mexico’s population speaks Nahuatl (once known as Aztec). People who do tend to be extremely poor and live in rural areas. For almost the entire 20th century, the Mexican government mandated Spanish language education in schools and strongly discouraged Nahuatl and other indigenous languages.
Marrero’s final command is: “Don’t modify our words to phonetically match your fraternity or sorority name.” She hates that fiesta can become “Phiesta,” for example. She hates “guakamole.” (RELATED: It’s Official: At Dartmouth, The Word ‘Fiesta’ Is Racist And White People Can’t Use It)
She complains that Cinco de Mayo-themed frat parties “are packed with non-Mexican students dressed in sombreros and ponchos holding a Tecate or Corona. And they probably all love Taco Bell.”
Marrero does not indicate the exact number of Cinco de Mayo-themed fraternity or sorority parties she has attended.