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Students Told Not To Drink Tequila, Eat Tacos on Cinco de Mayo

An open letter to the Northwestern University community from the student government president and leaders of a Hispanic/Latino campus club admonished students not to eat tacos or drink tequila on Cinco de Mayo – but the effort prompted a backlash from some students from Mexico who said they were offended by the notion and that the request didn’t represent their beliefs.

Those who party on Cinco de Mayo, accused the letter signers, would “have fun at the expense of our peers and the cultures and traditions we should cherish.”

It went on to note that “drinking tequila shots, eating tacos, and wearing sombreros do not commemorate Mexican culture; on the contrary, that offends, marginalizes, and isolates many of our friends, classmates, and community members, and casts our entire community in poor light.”

“This weekend, please join us in honoring the tradition of El Cinco de Mayo with appropriate, tasteful and respectful celebration.”

The May 2 letter, published in the Daily Northwestern, prompted anonymous posts from online commenters who sided with its writers, while others did not take kindly to the suggestion.

“Are we so PC now that no one can celebrate any other holiday or celebration that is not their ‘own’?” stated one commenter.

Another chimed in: “I understand where they are coming from, but I think the aggressive manner in which they are trying to achieve their goals will ultimately create alienation.”

Another simply put: “I’ll probably still go to Chipotle and drink Corona tomorrow, but I do that like everyday – is it still offensive?”

But perhaps the best response was from some students from Mexico, who said their peers were way off base with the suggestion.

“People think Alianza is representing Mexican culture on campus,” sophomore Pablo Garcia Romero, who grew up in Mexico, told the Daily Northwestern. “I see them as representing U.S. Hispanic culture. Very few of them have actually been to Mexico. (Mexican international students) don’t have an official student group, but that doesn’t mean we are represented by Alianza.”

“There’s other holidays that are more important in Mexico,” Romero said. “You have an extra day off, and you might go out and party. … My friends in Mexico probably drank tequila and ate tacos after.”

The May 7 article, headlined “International students from Mexico take issue with Cinco de Mayo letter,” also noted that a “Mexican international graduate student shared similar sentiments in a Facebook post Monday morning; the post had 172 likes as of Wednesday.”

“To whomever wrote and signed that letter, I’d like to say that I proudly embrace my tacos, tequila and sombreros,” Ruben Antonio Marcos Bours wrote. “To me, they are a key part of my childhood, growing up in Monterrey, Mexico.”

The uproar has forced the student government president to say that the letter’s authors, herself included, “are working on a second letter clarifying the intent of the first after receiving ‘constructive’ and ‘valid’ criticism,” the newspaper reported.

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