Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo was yesterday.  As a Spanish teacher, I am now going to point out a few things:

  1. It is not Mexico’s independence day.  That is el dieciséis de septiembre (September 16).  
  2. It is not even a victory in a war.  On May 5, 1862, a rag-tag Mexican force turned back an invasion by a much stronger, better trained French army at Puebla.  Mexico owed the French a lot of money and could not pay it back, so Napolean III decided it was time for France to have territory in the Americas again, having sold Louisiana and lost Haiti to a slave rebellion and Canada to the British.
  3. It is not celebrated in Mexico as much as it is in large US cities.  It is a holiday in Mexico, but not as big a deal to them.  Kind of like Presidents’ Day or one of our other minor federal holidays.
So, why is it that I, as a Spanish teacher of Puerto Rican descent, am asked by my students if we can have a party that day?  Because we as Americans like celebrating holidays from other countries.  Think of St. Patrick’s Day.

So I listened with interest as the news reported the high school students in California who got in trouble yesterday for wearing clothing with the US flag on it.  Isn’t California part of the US?  Do we not, as US citizens, have a First Amendment Right of free expression?  The students were told their clothing might offend the Mexican-American students.  Excuse me?  If the Mexican-American students are offended by the flag of their adopted country, then perhaps they need to go back to Mexico.  I am glad the superintendent’s office in the school district reversed the suspension the students received.  Let the Mexican-Americans celebrate their heritage, as do Germans during October, or Jewish adherents during Yom Kippur or Hanukkah.  Just don’t punish American students who want to show a little patriotism, as is their right.

Oh, and if you have a chance, go buy something sold in Arizona, or go spend money in the Grand Canyon State, or write the governor and thank her for doing what our “Representatives” in Washington do not have the guts to do concerning illegal immigration.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Hello, Peter. This is Margaret. Loved your piece about Cinco de mayo. Hurray for America! I will read my Bible and pray in public. I will fly my American flag and wear my patriotic shirt. I am an American and these are my God given rights!