Cancel culture hits Salem County over Cinco de Mayo joke (Opinion)
Stop. Seriously, all you social justice warriors, just stop.
Salem County is making news over a tempest in a teapot that is, unfortunately, being treated like a scandal by journalists. Stacy Pennington is the Salem County Deputy Administrator. She also performs the service of board of commissioners clerk and director of human resources as well as equal employment opportunity officer. Instead of being grateful for all Pennington is doing some are seeing fit to attack her over the most benign, silliest Cinco de Mayo joke.
She sent an email to all employees with a harmless joke in the form of a meme that said Happy Cinco de Mayo and it showed a sink with a jar of mayonnaise sitting in it.
That’s all it took for some to go berserk. People complained that it was insensitive. Some said they couldn’t believe she sent it when she’s in charge of Human Resources. She, after all, is supposed to be the wet blanket that tells people not to do such things, they argued.
But a picture of a sink with a jar of mayo sitting inside it? Really? This is racist? This is violative? This is making a mockery of a holiday Mexicans hold so dear, so close to their hearts?
Except, they don’t. Cinco de Mayo is a minor Mexican holiday to commemorate their victory over France in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. But this is a nothing burger, one barely celebrated in Mexico. It would be like making fun of our Arbor Day; no one would care.
And it’s only making fun on the level of a pun. This is an innocent 3rd grader’s joke at best. Where is the slight to Mexican people here? Where is the true damage? The true offense? It’s making fun of the phonics and silly double meanings, not of Mexican people.
Let’s get real. It’s whites in America that make a big deal of Cinco de Mayo and only treat it as a reason to go out and get hammered on margaritas. Mexican people care little. Yet the Communication Workers of America Local 1085 filed a grievance. Their executive vice president Joe Hiles told nj.com, “There’s obviously an underlying problem that we see here.”
Maybe because you’re looking for one? This silly meme Pennington emailed out to county employees barely rises to the level of even being a funny Dad joke let alone offensive. Part of the problem with cancel culture is that it casts such a wide net everything gets caught in it and nothing can be deemed acceptable. It’s dangerous because overreacting to every little thing leaves society weary and blind to true offense and real racism. If everything is racist then nothing is racist.
Let’s work on actual racism rather than look for it in tea leaves.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.