Happy Cinco de Seis! That’s Spanish for “five of six.” It is a greeting based on one the smartest man ever to occupy the Oval Office gave on May 4, 2009, when he wished a crowd a happy “Cinco de Cuatro,” words he uttered with an exaggerated accent.
Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo (the actual name of a Mexican holiday), which I probably desecrated by having Mexican food for dinner. I didn’t don a serape for the occasion, but I did start my meal with guacamole, which I may or may not have referred to as “guac.”
Doing so, an article in USA Today informs, would have been a cultural faux pas almost of the magnitude of the president’s idiotic salutation.
What else shouldn’t we gringos do on the 5th of May? According to the article’s author, Dani Marrero, we shouldn’t “buy sombreros, ponchos or fake mustaches” (or presumably wear them if we already own them — she never says we shouldn’t) and we shouldn’t make wetback jokes (I imagine Marrero opposes such jokes on other days of the year as well). There are other taboos, but you get the gist.
Marrero also offers some proactive suggestions on things that Americans who want “see what what it is like to be Mexican or Mexican-American for a day” should do. Included is heading “to the nearest bookstore”:
Look for books by Chicano/as, memoirs by Mexican-Americans, or narratives of immigrants. Find out who Gloria Anzaldúa is. Look at a map and identify the state of Puebla. If you have already done all these things, do it for someone else who hasn’t.
It was kind of Dani Marrero to take time out of her hectic schedule (she is in college) to lecture us non-Mexicans on her culture. I would like to return the favor by suggesting certain activities that Mexicans eschew, not just on Cinco de Mayo but everyday. Among these are sneaking across the border between Mexico and the United States. This is not just a cultural no-no but a crime, whether Barack Obama accepts the fact or not. If nothing else, a cessation of this activity will put an end once and for all to those odious wetback jokes.