Every year, around the beginning of May, social justice warriors (SJWs) across the US begin sharing frantic videos about how it's "not okay" to celebrate Cinco de Mayo if you're white. Then they start throwing around words like "oppression" and "cultural appropriation."
Let's clear one thing up right away: there is no such thing as "cultural appropriation." There is only culture.
By definition, culture is dynamic -- and the few cultures that have remained static for centuries also happen to be the ones that don't have science, technology, or modern medicine.
Because culture is the exchange and flow of ideas and innovations across time.
Like, okay. You want to get all pissy because tourism has influenced or "white washed" Balinese dance over the last 100 years? Do you think the dances the Balinese people were doing in 1907 were the same as the ones from 1807? 1707? 1607?
No. Because culture is dynamic.
Likewise, most teenagers aren't doing the polka when they go out on Friday nights anymore. Because culture is dynamic.
So, yeah. SJWs miss the mark whenever they say anything about "cultural appropriation." But, in this case, they're correct when they talk about oppression. Kind of.
See, Cinco de Mayo isn't "Mexican Independence Day" -- that's on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo is about the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over the French Army, one of the most powerful in the world, in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
Which is why most Mexicans don't do anything to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. (Only in Puebla.)
The holiday was invented in America in the 1960s, and grew in popularity in the 1980s.
But... who cares???
December 25 was originally the winter solstice, a time when a series of Pagan festivals took place. Now it's Christmas. Christmas was about the birth of Christ. Now, for many people who celebrate, it's about carols, food and presents.
Thanksgiving was originally (probably) a Calvinist celebration. So as not to conflict with Puritan Sabbath, were special days set aside during the week for thanksgiving and praise to God. Now, it's about Pilgrims, Native Americans, the Mayflower, and turkey.
And don't even get me started on Easter.
In other words, few of the holidays we celebrate today have stayed "true" to their original meaning.
Christmas is still a glorious time of year, full of joy and togetherness. Thanksgiving is still a time to reflect and feel gratitude.
And Cinco de Mayo is a chance to get dressed up, listen to music you don't normally listen to, and eat food you don't normally eat.
AND THIS IS IMPORTANT!
According to research, playfulness isn't a trait -- it's a skill. And if you're a millennial, chances are you never learned how to play. And even if you do have good leisure skills... even the best of us can become complacent, falling into routines and getting bored with our lives.
Not to mention the rise of the "on-demand" -- or, should we say, "shut-in" -- economy.
We no longer have to leave our homes for entertainment. We no longer have to leave our homes for food or basic services. And, according to Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, psychologist and author of Man Interrupted: Why Young Men Are Struggling & What We Can Do About It, we don't even really need to leave our homes for sexual gratification. (But you probably should.)
As a result, people have worse and worse leisure skills. They have worse and worse social skills. They get worse and worse at flirting, small talk, and relationship development. It's a vicious, self-fulfilling cycle.
You stay in and watch Netflix because it's easy. You don't develop your social and leisure skills. Going out feels uncomfortable and socially awkward. So you decide to stay home and watch Netflix. And your social skills continue to devolve, and going out feels increasingly uncomfortable, and so on.
And suddenly, you're one of the 25% of American adults who report having no close friends to talk to.
Holidays are a great way to break out of it.
On any given night, many Americans feel disinclined to "go out" or "do something" -- much less, to host something. (According to the New York Times, "The incidence of house parties in America (and sections of Canada) thrown by and for those in their 20s, the prime years for adult socializing, may be dropping for a raft of technological, economic and cultural reasons.")
But! When there's a reason to celebrate... you're more likely to bust out of the routine and get together with friends, acquaintances, or community groups.
We like dressing up. We like being silly. We like going out instead of just watching TV and playing video games al the time. We just... kind of need a reason to, sometimes.
So go ahead! Put on a sombrero -- it's just a hat, after all! Grab your favorite poncho. Invite some friends over for tacos, or go out to a bar and do tequila shots. Go to a free salsa dancing lesson, and get your groove on. THIS could be YOU:
Busting out of your routine and doing something special will increase your life satisfaction, fortify your friendships, help you meet new people, and even strengthen your romantic relationships.
And remember: these people:
Are having a LOT more fun than these faux-ffended people.