With a divisive 3-2 vote, symbolic of the rift that has formed in the community over the last year on this issue, the board chose to rid the school of two Native American images despite a recommendation from a 15-person committee to abolish or alter six of the school’s most prominent Native American displays.
While one side of the room greeted the vote with applause, the other solemnly filed out from the high school gymnasium, where a drum circle, complete with chanting and incense burning was held.
Eli Matisz Cordero, a 16-year-old Carpinteria High School student who first questioned the appropriateness of the imagery a year ago, vowed to continue his fight to wipe the school clean of images he considers signs of blatant racism.
Hundreds attend the special meeting at the city's high school, home of the Warriors since 1928. The issue had sparked claims of racism and political correctness run amok.
Echoing controversies that have rocked schools across the U.S. for decades, the debate in Carpinteria has been heated, with accusations of racism, on the one hand, and political correctness run amok on the other.
One after another, residents trooped to the microphone Tuesday night to say that the array of images were meant to honor native Americans, not demean them.
With all the education and activism going on, Carpineteria's people can't become more ignorant than they are now. They can only become less ignorant. So these stereotypes will go away eventually. It's inevitable.
If nothing else, the next generation will be more openminded and understanding than this one is. But let's hope it doesn't take that long.
Meanwhile, everyone should continue their efforts. Those of us who don't live in Carpinteria can create Facebook groups, upload videos to YouTube, and post articles and blog entries. Let's aim to associate the Carpinteria Warriors with racism and stereotyping in people's minds. In fact, when people search for "Carpinteria Warriors," let's hope the first item they find says "Carpinteria Warriors are racist."
For more on the subject, see Mascot Foes Receive Death Threats and Team Names and Mascots.
Below: Carpinteria High School, home of the racists.
Note that these Plains Indian images have nothing to do with the Chumash or other California Indians. They're pure stereotypes.
As always, imagine the outcry if you replaced the Indian "warriors" with stereotypical African warriors. The images would be gone within a week of the first protest. But the racist citizens of Carpinteria think nothing of perpetuating this "honor" for decades.