Every summer we head down to Mexico to spend some time with our family. My kids love it there. They get to see all their cousins and friends, they get to be spoiled to death by their aunts and grandparents and they also get to have their Mexican annual birthday bash. (Oh God! That sounds so gringo, I know. Welcome to my bicultural life).

Each summer, my parents throw Juliana and Diego for both their birthdays, which are September and July. Such party is the cause of long-planning-phone-conversations between my daughter and my mom. They decide what cake, what colors, the menu, which guests to invite, and mostly what piñata to get for her and which one for Diego--yes--they buy two. To say they are spoiled is an understatement.

 

 

My kids love piñatas and they get very excited over them. So their father always takes them to Mercado de Coyoacán in Mexico City to look at them. More often than not they come home with a small piñata and candy -- to celebrate "the day" for no particular reason. As a result, Juliana thinks of Mexico as this personal Party City (she might be on to something).

It's not just my kids with a fondness for piñatas. I love Piñatas, too. They're a great tradition and it keeps my kids connected to their roots. Not only that, but the fact that we live in the east coast where piñatas are not all over the place--like in California-makes us want them even more. Which is why reading the news about the piñata bans in Houston enraged me so much.

What is wrong with people? We all hate littering, but at Harris County Parks there are big signs that state "No piñatas allowed on park grounds." My question is, where are the signs prohibiting the messy North American party favors? These signs are way too specific in targetting a Mexican-American tradition. 

I absolutely agree with Tony Diaz. The signs should go. This is racism in its purest forms. Funny that 41% of Harris County residents identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino and not one of the County Commissioners is Hispanic. I wonder how these Commissioners think that this will affect the Hispanic vote.

In any case, during my anger-filled morning I came across Ron, who lives in Northern California (large Mexican population) and spearheads the cause "Down with piñatas", if you can believe it.

He claims that he has nothing against Mexicans. In Ron's words,"Yes, they are largely a violent society, with the piñatas, the bull fights, the criminals coming across our borders and what not. But for the most part they seem to be hard workers – they mow our yards, clean our houses and pick up our trash. I applaud them for trying to make a better life. But I deplore the importation of their violent "sports" like piñata bashing parties."

Oh God, is this not racist? Wait, wait-- it gets worst. Ron threw a piñata party for his daughter who was turning 4. The party was good and his girl loved the piñata but the next morning he was awaken by his 4 year daughter attacking him with the same bat they used to break the piñata the day before, while (this is verbatim) "giggling in delight." The damage (which is unreal to me how he took so long to stop her) included: breaking his zygomatic bone (don't really know which bone that is but it sounds important), a tooth knocked out, a cheek split that required stitches, a concussion and blurred vision in one eye.

He claims that the piñata did some emotional damage to the 4 year old. She is now in therapy because she stopped being "the normal, happy child she once was."

Ron, your story is stupid. First of all who uses a bat to break a piñata? We, Mexicans (yes, your gardeners and such) use broomsticks and after the piñata is on the ground, we put the broomsticks back onto the broom and in a closet. Our kids don't play with it.

Secondly, how on earth does a 4 year old continue to hit her father after he says "ouch"? Are you sure the violence is derived from the piñata? It seems unlikely to me. You and the Texas Commissioners should stop trying to spoil the fun for the rest of us "normal" people, who have traditions and know exactly where to draw the line.

Mexicans are here and they are here to stay, with our food, our customs, our cultural ties and our amazing joy for living. 

What do you think about the piñata bans? Do you think it's racism or purely safety concerns?

 

 

About the author

Sofia was born in Mexico and moved to New York in 1997. She has a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy who are usually the main characters in her blog Slap cada día. After  a long career in advertising, last year she decided to leave the corporate world to chase her own entrepreneurial dreams and work on her writing.

 

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I agree completely, growing up in Texas, just 6 miles from the border, I was one of few white people in the area, so obviously I had a LOT of mexican american friends, or hispanic friends. There is no such thing as a birthday party down here without a Pinata. Although I have met a few racist against whites I want to take a stand and say first of all that racism is retarded. Color or nationality has nothing to do with the character of ANY person. This story angers me. It doesnt matter what race of people throw a party at the park there is bound to be a little bit of mess left over, if it is that big of a problem, where are the park police? Plus this p*ssies lame excuse of a story about it being violent, bullfighting in Mexico is just as cruel as dog fighting in America yet people that get caught, in AMERICA, for dog fighting only get a month or two of probation for murdering and torturing innocent dogs, so he has no business acting "better than". Scared little Ron should just shut his mouth before his little girl beats the sh*t out of him, again. Blaming a pinata, that is just plain stupid sissy sh*t. Is there a petition against this?
Terry58

Sofia Aguilar:

"Love your Story"and love your craziness...Latins are passionate people we have traditions that are being inherited by Americans (Gringos) and trying to either change it,  or water it down (white wash/brain wash).  So, it disappears, or they rename it and called it  theirs.  Luv ya, su amiga Teresa Arvizu-Nunez

theha...

I live in Houston and I say the signs should stay.  It is not racism,  here a lot of people have pinatas, they are not just for Mexicans or hispanics.  We had pinatas in all of our parties and we are not Mexicans.  I don't think is racist.  Besides, if they do not specify pinatas and write littering people will take pinatas in because it does not say they can't.  That is the main reason why it is there.  It is not just the confetti, most people take pinatas and they do not clean after themselves.  We have big houses and big yards here, if they want a Pinata do it at your house or at a place that allow the pinatas. This is plain stupid.  And by the way, when people give the goodie bags, they give them at the end of the party, so there is not trash from them produced.  Also, everybody who has ever used a public park in Houston(and I am talking Houston Metro, which are the parks they are talking about) you have to give a deposit and if you don't clean you don't get your deposit back.  It is the only way to keep the parks clean.  Because people are so dirty that even after they give them bags to pick up their own trash or having trash cans right by them, they throw their garbage on the floor.  I am all for this ban in public parks.

I was just surfing the web and came across this!!Very interesting that I didn't even move on,I can't believe that In Harris County they ahve posted these signs,then again I live far from a park so it's hard to know what they have now.Well this is racist to me!!Come on Hispanics can't we stick together and do something about it cause i grew up breaking pinatas on my birthdays and now this, I think Ron let's his child hit him with other things cause no 4 yer old will do this damage!!!That's crap!!believe me I'm going to post this on Facebook to see what my friends have to say about this!!
SEA0701

Thats the dumbest thing ever!! And that's not raciest...its sound more than raciest to me!!

nonmember avatar
Racism has nothing to do with the bans. It is about keeping the environment clean. I have been to these parks and the mess left behind is atrocious. No one is saying that you cannot have a pinata - just engage in this activity on your own property. I get so tired of the "entitlement factor'. Surely by now, after years of receiving free public education, you can argue your point without playing the "racism card". Look, get over yourself - pinatas are not banned in Texas as your blog title would like to lead the general public to believe. Keeping the areas not already overrun with trash, debris, and filth clean is the point and the objective. Not only have you scored zero points with me, but you have successfully perpetuated the notion that an uneducated group of people want everything handed to them simply because of the color of their skin and their ethnic surnames.
Jeann...

Ridiculous....simply ridiculous!!!!!

nonmember avatar
The signs probably note the litter that is seen most often by park crews or most difficult to clean up. It does appear insensitive when it's only pinatas noted. Why aren't other items on the sign as well?
Anyone who is unable to identify the difference between racism and ethnocentrism shouldn't be writing anything. This is NOT racism. This is based on a cultural behaviour that is separate from race. My grandaughter, and many of her caucasian friends enjoy pinatas with their hispanic friends at their birthday parties; this is NOT a racial characteristic. Quit playing the 'RACE CARD' when it doesn't apply... it makes you look not only like a bigot yourself, but an ignorant one as well.
For all ye dumbasses saying this is to keep things clean, why didn't they ban confetti? or decorations for that matter? This ban honed in exclusively on a minority. This is clear racism and its especially not surprising coming from Texas.
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