Anaheim High School’s 100-year old Colonist mascot escaped being canceled this week, as students voted decisively to keep the mascot name and logo in the face of a 15-month effort by woke alumni and activists to “decolonize” it.
The school livecast a student town hall this morning, during which three students presented their arguments for retaining, “re-branding” or replacing the venerable logo. The day before, nearly 2,400 Anaheim High School students voted on the matter yesterday, and the results were reported at the end of the town hall:
- 41% favored keeping the Colonist mascot and current logo.
- 34% favored keeping the Colonist mascot but re-branding it.
- 25% favored replacing the Colonist mascot altogether.
The matter had its start in June of 2020, when two woke Anaheim High School alums, Daniel Alatorre De-Lira and Laura Luevano, created a “Decolonize the Colony” petition on Change.org, claiming the Colonist mascot “perpetuates and glamorizes genocide, racial violence, and Anaheim’s historically racist past as a hub for white supremacy.” The petition was adorned with this subtle artwork:
The “Decolonize” petition is a stew of by-now familiar woke cancel culture rhetoric.
The reality is the Colonist mascot refers to the Mother Colony – the community of German immigrants who founded Anaheim. Local historian and AHS alumnus J’aime Rubio admirably illustrated this reality in this article, and started his own counter-petition – which drew the ire of Alatorre De-Lira.
The petition languished for months, until the Voice of OC began breathing the oxygen of publicity on the embers. Suddenly, it was “community voices” that were objecting to the mascot, and the district agreed to let the students decide the matter.
Several media-savvy activists staged a protest outside of Anaheim High School on Monday, November 8, and made sure to inform Voice of OC reporting fellow Hosam Elattar, who chronicled and photographed their struggle session for another article.
The school sent an e-mail to parents informing them the school’s Social Science and English departments would be conducting several days of “civic inquiry and investigation lessons” in order to “unleash their student voice.” During the town hall, a student representative describe this process as “a lesson introduction and awareness as to why we are going through this process” followed by a “day to focus” and “analysis of primary documents.” [What those primary documents were was left unstated.] Next was an “image analysis” of the mascot followed but “civic dialogue” among the students and an exercise in writing a letter or video communique to the AUSHD Board.
Now, the matter will go to the AUSHD Board of Education for a final decision.
Wokeness, Bad History On Display At Townhall Meeting
A few things came through loud and clear from all three student presentations:
These students have absorbed the simplistic woke narratives about “stolen land” and the settlement of America.
Anaheim High School is doing a poor job of teaching the serious study of history.
The students who argued for keeping the Colonist mascot were at pains to make clear it referred to the Mother Colony and not those evil European colonists who settled the United States.
“Some have interpreted our mascot as a colonizer,” said Daniel Escobar, the young man making the argument for leaving rhea mascot unchanged. “But as we learned last week, when we studied Anaheim’s history, our mascot name has nothing to do with those that killed Native Americans and stole their land.”
Brianna Gurrola, the young woman who argued for “re-branding,” repeated that apologia virtually word-for-word: “Our Colonist mascot does not represent the same colonists who killed native people and stole their land.
The implication of their argument was that if the Colonist mascot did refer to the early European settlers, keeping it would be morally indefensible.
Anahi Rico, the student who urged ditching the mascot altogether, did admit the historical origin of the Anaheim High School mascot, but argued that historical record doesn’t matter because “colonist” is an evil term.
“Colonist has been glorified from the beginning of time, causing people to look up to them when in fact they have not been any sort of role model,” she said
“When I think of the word ‘colonist” I don’t think of kind, respectful students. I think of mass genocide, murder, the separation of families, the attempt to whitewash and eradicate the Native American civilization – and then attempt to hide the truth about what really happened to those who once inhabited this land.”
This is an utterly cartoonish understanding of American history and the complicated interactions between European settlers and Americans Indians over the course of the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
What exactly are these students being taught in their social science classes? It would appear they are being fed ideological narratives rather than critical thinking and a serious approach to the study of American history. If those comments are representative of what students are learning at Anaheim High School, they are being shortchanged.