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Cinco de NO-NO: Students warned ‘don’t use Spanish disrespectfully’

Some Brown University students have a message for their Ivy League peers, and everyone else in the U.S.: Today may be Cinco de Mayo, but that doesn’t give you the right to wear sombreros or say things en Español.

The prestigious university’s MEChA de Brown student group has put out a series of admonishing social media posters and YouTube videos that lecture viewers on the do’s and don’ts of marking Cinco de Mayo.

One “how-to” states: “Don’t wear a sombrero, fake mustache, or serape. Don’t assume all Latinx communities observe Cinco de Mayo. Don’t call it ‘Cinco de Drinko.’ Don’t visit party stores for costumes and accessories. Don’t use Spanish disrespectfully. Don’t perpetuate harmful stereotypes.”

RELATED: ‘Cinco de Drinko’ Campus Party Declared Racist

What are we allowed to do today? According to MEChA de Brown, things like “read a classic Mexican novel” or “learn about Mexican Americans in the United States” or read up on “the history of Cinco de Mayo.” We can also be sure to “hold friends accountable.”


What types of restaurants can we eat at? According to these students, only “authentic Mexican businesses.” Another one of their social media posters explains further: “No, Chipotle doesn’t count.”

MRCTV, which first reported on the effort, notes the campaign is using hashtags such as #‎ReclaimCinco to help spread its message.

A series of YouTube videos uploaded this week as part of the campaign also shows snippets of people telling viewers things like “don’t be racist on Cinco de Mayo” and asking them to call friends out on “how they might be inflicting pain on people who hold that identity.”

RELATED: All-You-Can-Eat Taco Bars Deemed Offensive, Face Campus Extinction

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.