This column is in response to a column by Josef Liles and Zahira Navarrette, (Daily Nexus, “The Name of the Game Isn’t Exploitation,” March 6, 2003). I am a white male student, and their column deeply offended me and many people I know. Their hypocritical rhetoric did nothing to inform students of a potential problem. Instead they simply missed the point and, in doing so, made themselves look idiotic and just as racist as their supposed antagonists.
To begin, they say they noticed sombreros on the backs of “several vanilla people.” Honestly, I cannot believe they would start an anti-racism and anti-stereotype column in such a fashion. If I wrote a column that started with a sighting of several brown or chocolate people, it would start nothing short of a riot in response.
Next, instead of making coherent and intelligent points about their perceived problem, they resort to petty and insignificant arguments. They claim that, “We have never understood the rationale for having an Argentine cowboy as the school mascot. We think it is time for a mascot that is more reflective of the predominant student population.” Well, then obviously they missed the point of every mascot in America. Does the Bruin correctly represent the predominant student population of UCLA? Didn’t think so. What about the Trojans of USC? Nope. The purpose of mascots is to give the students a focal point for expressing their school pride.
The word Gaucho is an accepted and historic term for Argentine cowboys. It is not a slang term and is in fact used in Argentina. The authors create a heavily racist and stereotypical image of white people called the “Gavacho,” which is apparently slang used by Mexicans for white people. This is a transparent and petty tactic. I am absolutely sure that if I were to write a similar column but used an actual slang term for Mexicans or Chicanos and then stereotyped them in the same way, the authors of this piece would be tremendously offended. The authors moronically illustrate the “DP Dude” as a white male with puke on his shirt but seem to ignore the fact that there are not only white people partying on DP.
The authors claim that their depiction is meant to illustrate how they feel about the Gaucho mascot. Besides the fact that Chevy’s is a Mexican restaurant in the first place, and besides the fact that the sombrero does little to demean a culture but instead puts pride in it, the authors have committed no less a crime then those that wear the hats to the game. In fact, I would argue that using a slang term to describe whites is much worse then using a historic word from Argentina as a mascot. The authors also forget that there already are white mascots, such as the Cowboys and the Yankees, but few whites are offended.
I challenge the authors to get off their high pedestal of hypocrisy. Maybe UCSB does need a new mascot. Maybe it is offensive to certain people. The authors have a right to feel that way. However, their method of voicing their opinion is cheap and dirty. Until the authors are ready to make intelligent arguments before someone who can do something about the situation, like the athletic director, the chancellor or the UC Board of Regents, I suggest they use the easy way out on some other issue, far from UCSB.
Jake Norton is a sophomore business economics major.