I’m going to be honest. When I first heard of Cinco de Mayo, I didn’t know what the hell people were talking about. After all, I’m not proficient in Spanish by any means; ironic because I spent six years in the Southwest, close to Mexico. I damn sure didn’t know the meaning behind it.
I tend to be a student of history. History has fascinated me since I was about 14. But I’m not a history buff in every segment of history. I soon realized that Cinco de Mayo was an important day in Mexican history, something that I know very little about. But I’ve done some research on the significance of the day, and I appreciate it more.
Of course, I’m a Black man who grew up in a part of the country where there weren’t much emphasis placed on days like this one. The 80s and 90s in Mississippi weren’t necessarily the most-culture aware decades. That was another reason why I wanted to leave and travel. I wanted to experience different cultures; America is full of different cultures that doesn’t require you to leave the country, though you could never fully get the experience until you go see the origin of that particular culture.
I haven’t left the confines of my living space for a few days now, aside from going to get food or the occasional walk to the mailbox. I’m sure when I step out tonight, I will see people partake in the celebrations in their own ways, at the very least eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas. This by no means defines what the day is all about, but why not join in a little? As long as it’s malicious, inconsiderate, and just plain stupid, such as President Trump’s (still makes me want to vomit and cringe when I say or see that) Cinco de Mayo’s tweet bragging about how Trump Tower make the best taco bowls (taco bowls are as American as Taco Bell), then by all means have fun with it. When I was in El Paso and Las Cruces, I saw people who knew nothing about the day do all kinds of things; they usually involved getting drunk as shit, but at least most of them respected the day.
So it’s May 5, Cinco de Mayo. Enjoy, but be careful. If you’re in locations that have more elaborate celebrations, check some of them out. Also take the time to do a little reading about why the day is so important to Mexicans, even if it’s a one page article. By the way, it is to celebrate the Mexicans defeating the French in an unlikely victory at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.