Many people on the campus of San Diego State University (SDSU) have been upset about their mascot: an Aztec warrior known by the name of Monty Montezuma. Student council decided to vote on the issue of removing the mascot or keeping it. The vote was 12 to 14 meaning a victory for avid fans of Monty and a loss for students who feel marginalized by him.
Professor Monge of SDSU says that, “rather than honoring native people these caricatures perpetuate stereotypes.” He also touches on the idea that this mascot speaks volumes about white supremacy and the times when so many were openly racist.
Students are not giving up hope. They will not let this debate die down even though the odds are against them. Much of the public has expressed their desire to keep Monty as the mascot. Many have also left comments saying to fire Professor Monge and to cease the American Indian Studies program at SDSU because it is a waste of money and time. On Fox 5 News website a poll about the issue was created and over 85% of people believe the mascot should be kept.
Marissa Mendoza, co-author of the resolution expressed her feelings about the outcome of the student council vote: “I’m not trying to make this about race, it’s not about race, but they are not marginalized people and they represent a majority voice, you cannot as a majority tell a minority how they feel and put a price on their oppression, on their racism and a price on their future.”
It is important that this issue gets more attention because society cannot keep marginalizing Native Americans more than we already do. The sports culture has made SDSU keep this mascot that many are against because this is not the first time student council votes on this issue. This is the same issue that people were having with the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians.
The professional sports world has failed to acknowledge the desires of Native Americans and now a major university has too. This further shows how America puts Native Americans to the side and does not really validate their feelings and complaints. This is a reminder that Indian mascots and cultural appropriation at music festivals are not and will never be okay.
Since the student council at SDSU voted 12 to 14 and previous attempts carried out a much bigger difference, perhaps the next time student council votes, they can succeed in removing a mascot that makes a large portion of their student body feel uncomfortable and stereotyped.