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Keywords:

  • Cinco de Mayo;
  • ethnic festivals;
  • national commemoration;
  • national identity;
  • SB 1070

Abstract

Cinco de Mayo, celebrated by Mexican Americans as well as Americans of other ethnicities, provides an opportunity to examine the influence of ethnic festivals on broader US identity. Given the recent controversy over the immigration bill, State Bill 1070, passed in Arizona in 2010, the themes presented in newspaper articles concerning the celebration of the holiday in Phoenix, Arizona (2006–11) and the public response to these articles are examined. This examination reveals the intense contestation associated with the presentation of symbols and themes of national identity during periods of political controversy. It also illustrates that ordinary people have strong, long-standing opinions about the future of the nation and national identity and will express their opinions when an outlet is provided to them