Changing the narrative of May Fifth

The Latinx Student Union calls out misinformation around Cinco de Mayo


Courtesy of @Ballard_LSU

Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexican Independence Day, nor is it particularly celebrated in Mexico.

Xander Howarth, Staff Reporter

On May 3, the Latinx Student Union (LSU) released a series of Powerpoint slides revealing the truth about “Cinco de Mayo,” or the fifth of May.
These slides detailed the true history of the day and how it “marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when Mexicans warded off the French during an attempted intervention,” according to the Powerpoint.
The post also made sure to emphasize the fact that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, which YouGov reported that 41%of adults in America believe is true.
Anya Souza-Ponce, a junior and president of LSU, brought up how the day began to be celebrated in the US and the negative effects these celebrations have on Mexican culture.
“Cinco de Mayo, as it is currently celebrated in the United States, came from grotesque marketing and appropriation of the day,” Souza-Ponce said.
Many different alcohol-producing companies use the day to market alcohol, especially tequila. According to a recent report done by Flaviar, 126 million liters of tequila are consumed on Cinco de Mayo.
In addition to the large amount of alcohol consumed, the day has been used to perpetuate cultural appropriation, a practice that Souza-Ponce brought attention to.
“Cinco de Mayo has been held up as the Mexican day,” Souza-Ponce said. “It’s just used as an excuse to dress up as a caricature or drink margaritas.”
Many Americans use the day to dress in sombreros and gorge themselves on Mexican food, actively ignoring real history and instead opting for the Americanized version.
These stereotypes have been used to erase Mexican experience and history, perpetuating the whitewashed practices that still continue.
“It’s important to recognize Mexican culture every day,” Souza-Ponce said. “Otherwise, it erases our actual stories and traditions, and it creates a false narrative.”
LSU sent these slides to the library after Assistant Librarian Alina Gaulin reached out to them.
“Ms. Chambers and I are trying to do our best to make sure we reach out to all the student organizations,” Gaulin said. “Since we know the fifth of May has solely been culturally appropriated, we thought we’d reach out to the Latinx Student Union.”
Souza-Ponce wants people to be more aware and conscious of Mexican history and culture, and there are many ways that do not include celebrating the fifth of May.
“Even just following the LSU Instagram is huge,” Souza-Ponce said. “We post about many different topics and a lot of misconceptions.”
Of these misconceptions, LSU specifically has talked about Dia De Los Muertos, Hispanic Heritage Month and different pieces of Latinx heritage.
“We just really try to teach and use our position to amplify Latino voices,” Souza-Ponce said.