A lot of people have taken to wearing the sugar skulls that accompany the Day of the Dead celebration.
Personally I think it’s cool, if they like ’em, let them enjoy them.
Some people like the novelty, some people actually like to learn the roots of traditions and stuff from other cultures, and some people just see it as pagan/savage festivities. Most of them come to me for advise (we are only two Mexican-Americans in the office) on decorations, what food/deserts to make so they can bring for the potluck. Sadly I don’t know very much about this particular tradition but I just keep asking around family and friends and learning a lot.
I noticed more people dressing up in this couples years, glad young people are aware of the tradition and makeup is a fun way to express it.
Sometimes the people with them only wear them because they look cool, but in the area where I work they’ll say things like “oh look how ethnic and cultured I am” or they’ll speak to their friends in broken spanish when mentioning it. It really depends.
I think the problem arises from the fact some consider it ‘savage‘, as you said.
While Mexicans and other latinoamericanos are still discriminated against in the US, it is sometimes strange to see our culture getting appropriated.
Cinco de mayo or any Mexican holiday in El Mercado is pretty much an excuse to get drunk, buy useless trinkets, and get parking tickets for using the wrong parking lot. But hey if it brings money, why not?
Like you said, they may not be the very homey celebrations of the past, but at least it’s being accepted into mainstream culture.