Would you want to go to a bigoted high school that deliberately discriminates against Latinos and actively encourages racist jokes? Now you can!
A high school in Anaheim, California is in hot water following complaints about what was, until recently, an annual event. The “‘Seniores’ and Señoritas” event, in which students sported costumes that were essentially depictions of derogatory Latino stereotypes, has finally come to an end. The event inevitably ended in a litany of racist jokes, with guys marching in wearing sombreros, students dressed as Border Control officers, gang members, and pregnant women. Because, you know, all Latinos are capable of are making tacos and babies.
Canyon High’s yearly Latino mockery took place in senior week each year up to now, when it received two formal complaints from former students. Can we just go through everything that’s so messed up about this really quickly?
One, this wasn’t a random party that some bigoted students threw. This was an official school event, and it was approved by the school administrators. This means that the school was perfectly okay with endorsing racist jokes and bigotry, and had no qualms about Latino stereotypes. Two, this means that taxpayer dollars–which might be your parents or even yours if you have an after school job–are being used to support racism against Latinos. Three, this district has been plagued with Latino bigotry for a while, even shooting down propositions to increase their voter representation. Four, how did they only get two complaints?
How is it that it never occurred to anyone that racist jokes during the event may be, well, racist, and therefore offensive and hurtful? And if it did occur to them, why didn’t it bother them enough to change or stop it from happening?
The biggest part of the problem lies in the fact that since it was a school sponsored event, students may not have even truly realized that racist jokes like these are damaging and hurtful to communities. If your principal or an authority figure says something is okay, it sort of … becomes okay, right? At least in your mind. And that’s why this is so dangerous. Because it’s essentially, even if on a small scale, institutionalized racism: Racism that an authority figure (or your peers) deems okay. Back in the day when blacks and whites had to use different water fountains and sit separately on the bus, a lot of people just accepted it as the norm–and even though it was completely unfair and screwed up, people went along with it.
Another issue is that for whatever reason, this district thought it was okay to promote bigotry specifically against the Latino community, and it worked, because it went on for a few years without a peep. Similar to the public’s reactions to the Sikh shootings, apparently racist jokes against the Latino community are fine because they’re Latino.
Now, just picture an annual school event where students showed up in blackface.
Exactly. This is just as wrong.
Do you think racist jokes should be okay in school–or anywhere? Do you think the district was wrong to host the Latino-themed event? Do you think the school was encouraging bigotry? Tell us in the comments!