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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cinco de Mayo debacle

Cinco de Mayo is an annual ritual at Conn, but not the kind that you might expect. Instead of using the event to educate the community about Mexican - American culture and history, the event is a staging of cultural domination. Inevitably and every year a bunch of white students will use the event as an opportunity to “play Mexican.” Fliers will be posted around campus and emails sent basically inviting others to “Bring your sombrero! Bring your poncho!” The message is, come be Mexican for a few hours.... let’s drink margaritas, eat tacos, do some salsa, and perform our parochial illiteracy.

This happens every year. Some people host the “costume party” and others from MECHA -and their allies- protest, complain, and file bias reports. The administration responds, annually, in the same way, with an invitation to dialogue. Dialogue means we create a safe space for the offending party, provide psycho-babble to couch the explanation of their offense so that they don’t feel bad....and we labor and endure for their benefit.

No matter how hard we try, the words cultural appropriation do not enter the administrators' vocabulary. We are asked, every year, to educate the admin, the staff, students etc. We even point out the patterns, namely that this happens every year, and even with other identity groups for other holidays and yet administrators and the white students who are their presumed “clients” act surprised. They might even issue an apology, if we push hard enough, but no learning happens....and all this at an institution that is really only here for one purpose: to provide an education.

Strangely, we ask for education and public announcements, all in hopes that next year we won’t be doing the same thing again. Instead, we are made to labor, explain, relive the trauma, and educate the dominant culture. This is diversity in action, folks. Bring in those “others” to campus so that the dominant group can benefit, so they can learn....and we do this every year. 

The Associate Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion this year told students that she would organize an open forum in which they were to educate white students. Do we really need a Dean to "organize" a forum in which we do the educating? Competent and trained administrators with the freedom to implement policies and programs that achieve more than just making the College event calendar seem packed are necessary for next year's Cinco de Mayo to be any different.


  1. More sensitivity to every minority culture--except for that of the Jews! Lamiya Khandaker regularly belittles concerns for anti-Semitism on her Facebook page, and Michael Fratt dressed up as a Jew for Halloween. But that's okay, of course! Our beacons of left-wing tolerance are strangely intolerant of Jews.

    By the way, your "eviction" posters are filled with factual errors and agitprop. And you used them to frighten Jewish students (and others) who might dare to be pro-Israel. We don't need any lectures on tolerance from the likes of you haters.

    By the way: You keep deleting comments on your blog, while you scream and screech about free speech. Kind of hypocritical, eh?

  2. Your case would be a lot stronger if you could actually point to a specific incident that occurred this year on Cinco de Mayo that the administration ignored or mishandled. Zero evidence of that in this post.

  3. Yes, it is predominantly white people doing this but people of color also participated in the Cinco De Mayo celebration. There needs to be an administrative effort to inform all students, not just the white ones. We have to hold everyone accountable for these acts.

  4. Do you have a photo of fliers on campus that ask students to come to a Cinco de Mayo party where they should "Bring your sombrero" or "bring your poncho"? Specifically parties not held by a Mexican/Hispanic/Latino club?