Cinco de Mayo
5 May 2014
Yesterday people of Mexican decent celebrated Cinco de Mayo. Quynh and I happened to be walking through San Jose to pick up her wedding dress and got caught in the street festivities. This holiday appears to involve driving highly customised cars up and down the street in a parade that stretched for kilometers. Fuel efficiency is apparently not a goal, while hyperactive suspensions are. Though I do not share their love of cars, I do genuinely appreciate the engineering and passion that clearly went into the show. Here is a good video (not mine) which sets the scene.
After half an hour, we saw some drunk bozo climb onto the bike rack of a bus that was stuck in traffic. And that was the cue for the police to swing into action. They shut down the entire celebration and blocked off the street. Crowds were dispersed and the place became a ghost town. Quynh and I were the only ones allowed to walk down the street, because neither of our ethnicities matched the target profile.
The police operation was extremely efficient, well executed, and totally misguided. They reaffirmed their status as the enemy in the eyes of the Hispanic community. Instead, the SJPD should have been taking an active part in the celebration. Attach some Mexican flags to the squad cars and join the parade. Build a bridge to the community instead of antagonising it.
Check out this photo from Toronto of police doing it right.