There are certain benefits I enjoy by being a white American, and chief among them is the ability to find things like this hilarious without being personally hurt by them:
We hope you have a safe & fun Cinco de Mayo weekend! Can't wait to see you at our Puerto Rico convention in August! pic.twitter.com/4S1DNBRdL4
— American Atheists (@AmericanAtheist) May 2, 2014
For me, this is exactly as cringe-inducing and hilarious as a good episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I can even imagine this happening, if the character Larry David plays was a little stupider. Okay, let’s say it’s like a George Costanza storyline in Seinfeld. George shows up to a Cinco De Mayo party wearing a sombrero. The Mexicans in attendance point out that he’s a racist. He tries to point out how much he has in common with them by talking about his vacation to Puerto Rico. Then he eats a churro out of the garbage can and is chased out of the building.
As many schoolchildren know, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s victory against a French occupation. The victory marked a coming together of a young nation, and is why today the holiday is celebrated as a sort of Mexican Pride day. Puerto Rico had absolutely nothing to do with it, and in fact Puerto Rico is about as far from Mexico as Canada is. Including an invite to a conference in Winnipeg would have made as much sense as Puerto Rico.
And then of course there’s the use of a sombrero to represent an entire culture. Good one!
So anyway, there we have it – yet another case of a major atheist organization trying and failing to connect with people outside the white American middle class. Hilarious to those who don’t face constant marginalization and discrimination for being Mexican, Puerto Rican, or any other “other”, but maybe not so funny to those who do.