My Turn: History lessons should include Cinco de Mayo

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT columnist

Happy Cinco de Mayo.

It’s time again to thank the Tex-Mex general who led a Mexican Army in a victorious battle against the French in Puebla, Mexico, on May 5, 1862.

I’m talking American history.

Cinco de Mayo is perhaps more American than St. Patrick’s Day.

Let’s talk about national identity now.

What does it mean to be an American? Remember, The Americas are plural and North America alone includes Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.

We’re not an American “melting pot.” According to Guillermo Gomez-Pena, we’re more like “menudo chowder … most of the ingredients do melt, but some stubborn chunks are condemned merely to float.”

It’s OK to “float” when your ancestors didn’t migrate here; the U.S. migrated to them.

Brad Paisley captured our multicultural American identity in his country song, “American Saturday night:”

“She’s got Brazilian leather boots on the pedal of her German car, listenin’ to the Beatles sing ‘Back in the USSR’ … It’s a French kiss, Italian ice, margaritas in the moonlight …”

In 1875, Cuban exile Jose Marti wrote that to be truly American, “We need to study the Incas in America rather than the Greeks in another continent.”

Let’s add Cinco de Mayo to the history lesson.