EXCLUSIVE: Latino Students at Brown Warn Against Wearing Sombreros on Cinco de Mayo

ashley.rae | May 4, 2016
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“Latinos” at Brown University are warning fellow students not to use Spanish “disrespectfully” or “dare” to wear a sombrero when celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Instead, they say students should celebrate by donating to “organizations working for immigrant rights."

Using the hashtags ‪”#‎ReclaimCinco,” “‪#‎MasQueSombreros,” ‪"#‎RealCincoDeMayo” and "‪#‎CelebrateResponsibly,” MEChA de Brown, an organization dedicated to creating a “sense of community” among “Latinos at Brown,” shared various images about how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo the “right” way.

In one of their images instructing people how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, MECha de Brown wrote people shouldn’t wear sombreros (or fake mustaches or serapes, for that matter), buy any costumes or accessories at party stores, or even “use Spanish disrespectfully.”

To properly celebrate the holiday, students should “Support AUTHENTIC Mexican businesses,” “Read a classic Mexican novel,” and “Be respectful if someone calls you out for being disrespectful.”

(Image source: Facebook)

An image MECha de Brown co-chair ‎Gisela Guerrero posted on the Facebook page‎, which has since accumulated approximately 15,000 shares, gives “ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO.”

The image warns people, “Don’t you dare put on that ‘sombrero.’”

Instead, students should “acknowledge the stereotypes you have internalized and discover why they are problematic.”

Like the other image, this image claims there should be “No disrespectful use of Spanish” when celebrating.

As well, the image suggests that to properly celebrate Cinco de Mayo, students should “Donate to organizations working for immigrant rights.”

“If you celebrate this holiday while disrespecting the people whom it belongs to, shame on you,” the image reads.

(Image source: Facebook)

The images posted by MEChA de Brown are part of a larger “RECLAIM CINCO” movement a week-long campaign to “educate others and reflect on what 5 de Mayo means (or doesn't!) for us.”

According to MEChA de Brown:

5 de Mayo IS NOT Mexican Independence Day

5 de Mayo IS NOT an excuse to appropriate Mexican culture

5 de Mayo IS NOT a monolith celebration for Latinx

5 de Mayo IS NOT a Mexican national holiday

The group writes, “WE reclaim the day to educate others. WE understand that with a historical context Mexicans CAN use this day as a way to solidify community ties and celebrate together. In this way, WE recognize that OUR culture is transforming and transcendent.”

Other schools across the country have also joined in on the “#reclaimcinco” effort, including CUNY’s Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute.

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