Letter to the Editor: "Cinco de Drink-o" Wildcat misstep

In response to “Kick off Cinco de Drink-o with tequila” (Kianna Gardner, May 2)

This past Friday, the Arizona Daily Wildcat featured an article titled “Kick off Cinco de Drink-o with Tequila” by Kianna Gardner.

Its lead paragraph is the following: “Cinco de Mayo, also known as Cinco de Drink-o, is a weekend dedicated to tequila and celebration. The Sixth Annual Agave Fest, hosted by Hotel Congress on Friday at 7 p.m., promises to help partiers start the weekend off right.”

It is incredulous that this article made it past the editors. But, rather than vent, I will use this as a time to educate. That explanation is required as to why the above is denigrating is incredulous. It tells us that something is profoundly missing or lacking in this nation’s classrooms and lecture halls.

For the record, nowhere in the article is there an actual explanation as to what Cinco de Mayo actually is: a day that commemorates a battle (May 5, 1862) between a small contingent of rag-tag, indigenous Mexican defenders against invading French forces in Puebla, Mexico.

But giving out history lessons was not the purpose of the article, right? So what was the purpose? A free commercial for a tequila drinking affair?

The Daily Wildcat is not where research papers are published, especially its weekend edition; but, I think we are all cognizant that it is the one medium that, in effect, unites the campus community.

“Insensitivity” is one word that people have used to describe both the article’s title and its opening paragraph. Other words are “ignorance” and “mind-boggling.”

On my end, no need to belabor the point, but as someone who has spent his whole adult life in media, I ask the editors and the campus community the obvious question: Who knows Cinco de Mayo as “Cinco de Drink-o?”

At minimum, this requires attribution. In the article, there is none. The rationale from the Wildcat is that it requires none because that’s the way college students know Cinco de Mayo. So, from there, one takes the huge leap that because Cinco de Mayo has already been debased, no attribution or explanation is required.

Yet, another question does stick out: as of what date did Cinco de Mayo become a weekend dedicated to tequila and celebration?

And, finally, one can only shake one’s head thinking that, indeed, Cinco de Mayo has become so debased that it is the liquor industry that has now become the prime educator of college students about this historical date.

This ignorance has become so normalized that, apparently, some students are scratching their heads, clueless as to why this situation is denigrating. Is it students who are actually clueless, or is it the Wildcat?

Is there a way to fix this situation? Perhaps next year the campus community can sponsor an event that educates people as to what Cinco de Mayo actually is.

—Roberto Rodriguez is an assistant professor in the department of Mexican American Studies.


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