Happy Cinco De Mayo?

Today is Cinco De Mayo, a holiday that's been appropriated as an excuse to drink margaritas and eat Mexican food. In this Cassandra Daily, we're talking about what brands should do as we hear from those who know best – today’s contribution comes from the Mexican-American and Latine writers on our team who will be discussing what has been weighing heavy on their corazones: how can Cinco De Mayo evolve so it doesn't feel tan feo?


Let's start with the most important thing: our food. Although we agree that food can be an exciting window into a culture, we urge brands to stay away from the condescending (not to mention cliched) "tacos and margaritas" as a celebration for Cinco de Mayo. Instead, why don't we use this opportunity to celebrate authentic Latine-owned companies like the cactus-tortilla-making Tía Lupita? Or the non-GMO and gluten-free Siete Family Foods? And if the goal is to increase one’s tolerance to picante, maybe the women-led Saucy Lips hot sauces? As Gen Z seeks variety in food as a peek into authentic, diverse cultures, highlighting products that would actually populate the pantry of any Mexican-American household is a positive way to serve up Mexican cuisine de verdad.


While no one experience is the same, the challenge of being visible and culturally other creates a shared experience that bonds Latin communities together. We challenge brands to rise to the opportunity of evolving the U.S. celebration to be much more than its current state of cultural appropriation. Instead, brands should lean into the unique cultural feeling, or sentimiento, that being Mexican-American really is. Showcase Gen Z radio hosts like Luis Eduardo Sanchez, who covers the topic in his Radio Fuego broadcast; be willing to talk about the origins of Cinco De Mayo as an American holiday; and most of all, don't run away from el complicado topic. As Gen Z becomes hyper-aware of the "why" behind tradition, the time is now for brands to rethink the reality of this awkward, offensive, and outdated holiday as its need to evolve becomes increasingly critical.


More often than not, Latines face discrimination for the simple fact of having an accent. This is especially true for those whose first language is not English. Accent biases can result in unconscious rejection and, when taken to the extreme, racism. But we're not here to tell brands to not be racist (that's a given). Instead, we are encouraging the active recruitment of people with acentos. It's been proven over and over: bilingualism is an asset to your team. By hiring people with accents, companies bring new perspectives, new ways of communicating, and new approaches to problem-solving. It forces everyone to step out of their comfort zone and look at things differently. For example, a person with an accent would have probably hinted that the whole "let’s wear sombreros" thing was a mala idea.

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