Every day for the past few weeks I have woken up to a bevy of invitations for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Many of them were last minute requests to talk about SB 1070 and its links to a larger Latin@ and immigrant history in the United States. As I ponder how I am going to make it to all of these events today, I can’t help but think about Arizona. Is it any wonder that the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-brown bill passed in advance of Cinco de Mayo? Has anyone stopped to think what a white supremacist police officer armed with a racist law can do at an anti-colonial celebration turned national celebration of Mexicana and Chicana Pride (and excuse to drink for all the gring@s y gringer@s)? Because if you haven’t, you might want to know that anti-immigrant people across the U.S. are calling for a “buy-cott” today, where they would like all of their supporters to specifically shop Arizona based companies today.
For me, the ongoing struggle to defeat xenophobia and racism in the U.S. diminishes the celebration of the defeat of the French at Pueblo somehow. The ability for racists in this country to mobilize around this holiday to celebrate segregation, policing, and hatred has become a regular tactic that is mirrored on Martin Luther King Day and in some communities on May 1st (either in response to May Day protests or the start of Asian American History Month). And so I find myself wondering what others think will be the lesson of today, when drunken frat boys, Chican@ Pride, and a heightened level of white entrenchment come together …
Here are some links that have me either thinking or laughing with irony about this moment we are in:
- Feminist Texican Machete’s Cinco de Mayo Message to AZ (note Jessica Alba’s debut post-consciousness)
- Gay Prof Nasty Law in a Nasty State
- ESPN Phoenix Suns Become Los Suns (Los Soles)
Perhaps most interesting to me is the State of Arizona’s insistence on having a 5 de Mayo celebration in their state. The Arizona Republic spelled it out fairly clearly in their article about the revenue Cinco de Mayo generates for local businesses. The bottom line: Arizona, like many other states in the Union, wants to make money off of Latin@s while still vilifying and scapegoating them at every turn. Those of you with history backgrounds, or even a basic understanding of major historical events, should be able to recall other places and periods in which this was the case. It seems “never again” like “multiculturalism” are just words and phrases with little meaning in the new neo-xenophobic America.
Feel free to leave your own links and thoughts in the comment section.