Here Are 13 Cringeworthy Times That Gringos Totally Ruined Día De Muertos With Cultural Appropriation

First things first: Day of the Dead is a solemn tradition for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Although celebrating it in different ways is great, and culture should be shared rather than zealously kept for oneself, some traditions need to be treated respectfully. 

1. When this model wore this awful jacket and promoted this photo on her Insta.

Credit: Instagram / sophiecochivelou

Seriously, sugar skulls are not always the way to go. And, dear, your face is kinda hidden among all this mess of fabric. 

2. When this poor dog’s owners turned it into a catrina.

Credit: Instagram / izzy_the_chow

Some people just travel great lengths to turn their pets into social media celebrities. News alert: this is not smart, funny or cute. It is just plain weird. Does this classify as near-animal cruelty?

3. When gringos just assume that Day of the Dead is “Mexican” for Halloween…

Credit: Instagram / erin_grant

Dear Erin Grant: what on Earth is this strange melange of traditions? 

4. When they came up with the brilliant idea of making Día de Muertos pumpkins…What the?!

Credit: Instagram / chalkwithlove_insta

Yes, así como lo oyen. Gringos and some gringo-influenced-Latinos have started painting their pumpkins with what looks like a mix between The Nightmare Before Christmas and a sugar skull. Dude, at least make the effort to carve the damn thing! 

5.When they thought making catrinas sexy was cool.

Credit: Instagram / themodelgypsyrose

By eroticizing catrinas, gringos like this super-Anglo model, get it totally wrong. Mexican folklore does not mix sex and death… like, at all! Also, this type of cultural appropriation perpetuates stereotypes of Latinos being hypersexual and lusty (not that there is anything wrong with that…). 

6. When Pinterest and Etsy cultures discovered Day of the Dead and come up with kitschy and horrible ideas.

Credit: Instagram / curiousburrow

First of all, sloths are natives of Costa Rica, not Mexico (despite what some gringos might think, including people in government), Central America is not just an extension of Mexico. Well, we gotta admit this is kinda cute but as far away removed from tradition as possible. 

7. When these boots represented an affront to tradition and to any sense of good taste.

Credit: Instagram / mysugarskulls_com

Gringos tend to throw all non-white things in the same basket. These awful boots are a perfect example: yeah, just have a Native-American moccasin with some sugar skulls. Hey, gringos might even claim that these botitas have mystical powers, hey? Remember that time when white folk hung dream-catchers everywhere?! 

8. When Day of the Dead became Insta-ready.

Credit: Instagram / littlebongbaddie_

Don’t you miss those times when not everything was staged and ready to be photographed? Scenes like these are sorta tiernas, but so far removed from the more rustic and spontaneous spirit of Day of the Dead. Seriously, this looks like out of a Pottery Barn catalog y’all. 

9. When the James Bond franchise fabricated a parade that was full of every single cliche imaginable.

Credit: 007: Spectre / Columbia Pictures

Let’s get something straight: contrary to what is shown in the Hollywood extravaganza Spectre, Mexico City did not use to celebrate Day of the Dead with a huge parade that looks more like Mardi Gras (we love Mardi Gras by the way!) than a solemn celebration. But the city saw an opportunity for tourism and is now organizing a James Bond-style parade each year. Yes, Hollywood cultural appropriation at its peak! 

10. When some racist dudes hate Mexicans but love their best traditions

This tweet captures the sentiment perfectly. On one hand some gringos reject anything that is Latino or the idea of immigration. But if it has to do with colonizing a festivity and do so with low racist undertones, they are all there. Sounds familiar?

11. When brands just wanna make a quick buck.

Credit: Promotional shot / Old El Paso

As if Old El Paso didn’t have a long history of cultural and culinary appropriation, they often use Day of the Dead as a marketing ploy to lure unsuspecting customers. Look, we all love some good Tex-Mex, but let’s not forget that this food is not really Mexican. 

12. When slot machine companies want to fool paisanos into losing their money.

One of the most predatory industries in the world is the gambling entertainment complex, particularly when it comes to slot machines. The practice of including imagery that could trigger a cultural connection with gambling has been widely criticized, as it masks the fact that gambling is potentially dangerous when it comes to issues of addiction. Not cool at all. 

13. And seriously, we can’t get over the Día de Muertos pumpkins

What is this atrocity? Fuchi! At least make a bit of an effort, dude. 

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