There Are No "Warriors" in Fallbrook
Last updated 9/17/2020 at 3:04pm
Recently, my attention was caught by the energetic voice of a young woman who briefly spoke about how racism in America is “endemic, multifaceted and self-maintaining.” And that was it. The next moment it was on to some other commercial subject matter on National Public Radio.
But these words echoed in my head, and I repeated them out loud so I wouldn’t forget the simplicity of their truthfulness. I was amazed at how directly they were spoken and was relieved to know that racism in its many forms was finally being publicly discussed.
There is a vast array of political issues in America today. Their content is everywhere in the news and media, and when it comes to racism, for the individual, it just comes down to which side they’ll choose. A person either stands with racism or against it.
Despite these chaotic times, much has changed just in the forms of racially charged stereotypes alone: the images of Aunt Jemima on pancake syrup bottles, to Uncle Ben on rice boxes and the Native American woman depicted on Land-O-Lakes Butter containers. These long-established images have all been done away with. Even the most abhorrent example of racist American Indian imagery and practices, the NFL’s Washington Redskin’s team name and mascot, has been abolished.
Thirteen years ago, when I first wrote to this paper speaking out against Fallbrook High School’s team name and logo, I remember the statistics for the total number of American Indian stereotypes in American schools, as mascots and sport team names throughout the 50 states, to be more than 2,000. Now, roughly 1,000 remain.
“Endemic, multifaceted and self-maintaining,” she said.
Powerful, yet simplistic words to apply to the legacy of racism here in America and to Fallbrook High School’s “Warrior” name and mural depicted mascot of Plains Indian culture.
Racism in its truest form is ignorance because the descendants of the “warriors” that the Plains Indian warbonnet speaks to, live faraway in the Midwest. The actual “warriors” that wore the regalia of warbonnets in real life, died generations ago fighting for their ways of life, their people and their lands.
They fought against what has given way to today’s versions of racism that are connected to classism, White privilege, corruption, greed, etc. All symptoms of a system that is truly “endemic, multifaceted and self-maintaining,” giving us the realities, we know today and contend with.
When I think of the little bustling town of Fallbrook, I intuitively know there are no “warriors” that reside there. There never have been. Whether they know it or not, there are only people who support racist stereotypes and local Native people who participate in their own exploitation of cultural images that don’t belong to them. It’s that simple.
The time is now to eradicate these long-standing symbols of racism. FHS, you can either change as soon as you can or you can wait as the scrutiny of your school’s racist legacy increases.
Anson Black Calf