Cinco De Mayo: The Connection Between Blacks and Mexicans

Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays that many use as a time for celebration, while knowing very little about the holiday and its importance to the people of Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Outnumbered 2-to-1, the Mexicans defeated the French. No other army outside of the Americas has invaded Mexico since. In America, we whittle down Mexican culture into music, parties, cookouts and the like. Many people do this as a form of inclusion, but strip away the significance of the holiday. Black folks would go crazy if every MLK holiday, people fried chicken, drank Henessey and played Marvin Gaye. That’s what many of us do to Mexicans, throwing back Tequila and munching on tacos in “celebration” of Cinco de Mayo. Mexico is more than swine flu, great cuisine and Tequila. What many of us fail to think about is the relationship between Blacks and Mexicans or Black Mexicans (Palenques), many of whom migrated from Caribbean locations. Like us, many came to Mexico in chains as slaves.

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