You may think that celebrating cinco de mayo in your Spanish class is a fun reward for students at the end of the year to celebrate a year of language learning. But what are dangerous effects? As an educator are you OK with promoting stereotypes? Sure, you may teach the what Cinco de Mayo really is, including it’s history. But what are students going to remember? It won’t be a lesson in history. It will be: We had a party on Cinco de Mayo. I’ve seen it first hand. My students ask me every year if we are going to have a party. Why? “We had one last year.” For what? “This is Spanish class!” So? “It’s a Mexican holiday”
I’m sure you already have your own opinions and this blog post is not going to change your mind. But please, keep an open mind on what message your are sending to your students. Certainly no teacher wants to perpetuate stereotypes. So please, make sure your students know that the Mexican Culture is #MoreThanSombreros / #MasQueSombreros and that putting on a fake mustache can be offensive to many people. And just because you have a Mexican friend who is not offended, does not mean that no one is.
In this current political setting, Mexicans are feeling more marginalized and under attack than ever, so it is important to recognize their positive impacts in our society.
For further reading, please check out Tolerance.org article: What is Cinco de Mayo?
I think most of you will find this article eye-opening as well: Rethinking Cinco de mayo
Watch this video: