A community group at the University of New Hampshire is calling for change after a wild Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Durham campus. The group says students who celebrate with sombreros, fake mustaches and ponchos are appropriating Mexican culture.
Representatives from a Facebook group called “All Eyes on UNH” refused to be identified and wouldn’t talk on camera, but told NBC Boston over the phone, “It’s time for students to understand that Americans celebrating Cinco de Mayo in this way is not only culturally insensitive.”
In a video posted by a UNH sophomore, a poncho-wearing man is confronted about his attire.
“You’re perpetuating the stereotype that Mexicans drink and wear ponchos for a living,” the woman in the video explains. “That’s what you’re doing.”
A screenshot of a UNH student making a joke about deportation is also being shared on the All Eyes on UNH Facebook page.
“To that extent it is not OK, especially with all stuff going on politically,” said UNH sophomore Nicole Grabe.
While many students say the video has given them a new perspective, others still believe that Cinco de Mayo celebrations on a college campus are harmless.
“I think they were simply trying to have a good time,” said UNH senior Chris Bohlig.
“I think people really need to lighten up,” said one of Bohlig’s friends, Michael Benevento.
“We are really diluting the issue of racism and that’s not going to solve anything,” said another student, Forrest Chap.
The All Eyes on UNH group is demanding a statement from the UNH Administration condemning Friday’s activities.
A UNH spokesperson told NBC Boston, “We are not going to comment on an anonymous document that we haven’t formally received.”