- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2018

If you had fun on Cinco de Mayo, Gonzaga University wants a word with you.

The Jesuit school in Spokane, Washington, issued several warnings to “non-Mexican individuals” against “cultural appropriation” ahead of last weekend’s festivities.

In an email Wednesday to the student body, Judi Biggs Garbuio, vice president for student development, lamented that Cinco de Mayo, as celebrated in the United States, “has become more about drinking and partying especially by non-Mexican individuals.”

“Because of this, there are many instances when Cinco de Mayo becomes a holiday that is full of cultural appropriation,” Ms. Garbuio said in the email, as reported by Campus Reform. “At some college campuses, including our own, students create ‘theme’ parties or dress in costumes that are insensitive and offensive to the Mexican-American and more broadly Latinx culture.”

She encouraged students to go to the Facebook page of Gonzaga’s Unity Multicultural Education Center to learn about “alternative ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.”

On its Facebook page, the multicultural center posted an infographic on April 27 that warned, “Don’t you dare put on that ‘sombrero.’”

The infographic listed four ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo responsibly: “Educate yourself,” “Support AUTHENTIC Mexican businesses,” “Celebrate responsibly” and “Donate to organizations working for immigrant rights.”

Under the “Educate yourself” tab, students were encouraged to acknowledge “the stereotypes you have internalized and discover why they are problematic.”

Chipotle “DOESN’T COUNT” as authentic Mexican food, the infographic continued.

“Try a family-owned restaurant run by actual Mexican people (They have better food anyway. We promise.) Maybe even enjoy some authentic Mexican music,” it read.

“Celebrate responsibly” means “No serapes. No fake mustache. Avoid every party store. No ‘Cinco de Drinko.’ No disrespectful use of Spanish. No homogenizing Latinx communities. Oh, and hold your friends accountable when they do any (or all) of these.”

Lastly, the infographic reminded students that Cinco de Mayo can be “a good day to start recognizing the equality of all people, no matter where they’ve come from.”

“If you celebrate this holiday while disrespecting the people who it belongs to, shame on you,” it scolded.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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