In another example of political correctness run amuck, the Oakland Police Department was forced to issue an apology over a press release urging people not to drive drunk on Cinco de Mayo.
The message, reprinted below, contains nothing remotely offensive, however the mere mention that many people drink on Cinco de Mayo was apparently enough for people to lodge complaints and force the Oakland P.D. to issue the following mea culpa:
The Oakland Police Department would like to apologize for the recent press release addressing traffic safety enforcement during the Cinco de Mayo holiday. We acknowledge that the language in the message sent was completely insensitive to the cultural holiday. We have worked extensively to build trust with all our communities and value the amazing cultures that make up the heart of our City. We are taking appropriate steps to insure that this does not happen again. Our intentions were to raise awareness about drunk driving and notify the community of traffic safety during the important holiday. As for every holiday and celebration, we want to remind everyone to celebrate responsibly and safely.
Local Bay Area newspaper, the East Bay Express, acknowledges that Cinco de Mayo is synonymous with drinking, but blames white people. An article about a local restaurant that is doing a “Decolonizing Cinco de Mayo” event reported:
But for a large chunk of America — and here I should be clear that I’m mostly referring to White America — the fifth day of May is largely synonymous with that kind of drunken, culturally appropriative merrymaking.
For restaurateurs, Cinco de Mayo is particularly fraught — and not just because “Drinko de Mayo,” a truly awful expression, exists as part of the Millennial American lexicon. I lost track of how many PR pitches I received these past few weeks from non-Mexican (again, mostly white-owned) businesses wanting to cash in by serving vaguely Mexican-sounding specials — the deli that decided to sling tortas for the day, the seafood restaurant with the margarita special, and the snack food purveyor that wanted me to know that its jalapeño-flavored popcorn would be an essential addition to my Cinco de Mayo spread.
For the even more PC-minded, Oakland is also home to a Cinco de Mayo event about keeping young criminals from facing legal consequences for their actions. As Parachute reports about the Reclaiming Cinco de Mayo event:
Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) hosts its third annual event on Thursday, May 5. The festival, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m., features live music, spoken word, dancing, and an art exhibit. Enjoy free food and enter to win raffle prizes. This year’s theme is “From Defending Our Pueblos to Defending Our Hoods” –to end incarceration of children and young adults in the criminal justice system. The event takes place at La Cultura Cura Cultural Arts Café in Oakland’s Fruitvale District.
Here is the offensive press release, now apologized for, in full:
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become synonymous with festive fiestas and salty margaritas. Historically, the fifth of May commemorates Mexico’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, but present-day celebrations often lead to drunk driving—and there’s no victory in that.
The Oakland Police Department is continuing its ongoing efforts to stop and arrest impaired drivers, deploying extra officers on DUI saturation patrols May 5 to lower deaths and injuries. The DUI operation will be operational from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. this coming Thursday.
In the rush of party preparations and getting dressed up for a night out, it’s easy to forget the most important Cinco de Mayo plan of all: designating a sober driver. Some fiesta-goers think they can play it by ear and wait until after the party has started to decide whether they’re “okay to drive.” By this point, it’s too late. Going out for a night of drinking without a plan to get home safely is a recipe for disaster.
Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. And when you drive drunk, you run the risk of killing yourself or someone else. You will be looking at jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, higher insurance rates, plus other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car or motorcycle towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work. The average DUI costs about $10,000. Wouldn’t you rather pay for a ride home?
So before your first margarita, cold beer, or shot of tequila this Cinco de Mayo, make sure you have a designated sober driver or arranged another safe way home.
The California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP (Designated Driver VIP) mobile app is available for free download on iOS and Android devices. The DDVIP app allows users to “Map a Spot” with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area or use “List of Spots” to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California.
Users can stay up-to-date with the latest from DDVIP and see what other users are saying via its social tab. Also through the app, for those who want to imbibe but also make it a point to plan ahead, users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb – all from one screen.
Designated sober drivers can use the app to view the profile of the bar they choose and use the “Offer” tab to redeem exclusive deals, with the ability to share the deal with friends on social media. Partnering bars and restaurants throughout the state have volunteered to offer nonalcoholic specialty drinks (“Drinks”), among other perks, to designated sober drivers.
Recent statistics reveal that 30% of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14%) than did for alcohol (7.3%). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4%, slightly more than alcohol. Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment effects.
A final statistic to remember: drunk- or drug-impaired driving deaths are 100-percent preventable.
This enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminding everyone to “Report Drunk Drivers, Call 911!”
At press time, there was no word as to whether Irish Americans had expressed outrage at the mention of St. Patrick’s Day.